The presence of celebrities, invited guests, and international media on the grid during the pre-race build-up for events like F1, Formula E, and the World Endurance Championship has been a longstanding tradition. However, this practice is now under scrutiny after concerns were raised when Brazilian footballer Neymar and other guests were positioned near the edge of the grass on the main straight during the formation lap of the recent Spanish GP.
The incident in Spain comes in the wake of another track invasion during the Australian GP in April, prompting the FIA World Motor Sport Council to launch a review. Race officials were immediately summoned to the stewards for further investigation. The event’s promoter is expected to submit a detailed report on the incident in June, which should include a “remediation plan” addressing safety and security concerns.
F1 Flow.com has learned that one of the potential measures being considered is the imposition of restrictions on grid access. The WMSC released a statement emphasizing the FIA’s priority of safeguarding the health and well-being of all individuals present on the grid, including guests, officials, and team members.
FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem expressed the need to learn from the Spanish Grand Prix incident, stating that F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has assured the FIA that measures are being taken to prevent a recurrence of such incidents. He acknowledged that the issue extends beyond Formula 1 and affects other series like Formula E and the World Endurance Championship, based on his recent experiences of overcrowding on the grid at certain events. Ben Sulayem expressed confidence that event promoters would adhere to the FIA’s safety and security requirements, as it is the FIA’s responsibility to ensure a safe environment for all participants, making safety the federation’s top priority.
While F1 has occasionally granted access to celebrity guests as cars move away, such as the special photoshoot with Usain Bolt before the start of the formation lap at the 2017 United States GP, the FIA is now considering revising these practices. The WMSC recently convened in Cordoba, Spain, and appointed Bosch as the single supplier of knock sensors and Bender GmbH & Co. KG as the single supplier of insulation monitoring devices for the new F1 power unit regulations set to commence in 2026.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about grid access restrictions
What is the FIA considering in relation to grid access in Formula 1?
The FIA is considering imposing restrictions on grid access in Formula 1 due to safety concerns following an incident involving Neymar during the Spanish GP.
Why is the FIA concerned about grid access?
The FIA is concerned about grid access because the presence of celebrities, invited guests, and media on the grid during pre-race build-up raises safety and security concerns for all individuals involved.
What incidents prompted the FIA to review grid access?
Two incidents prompted the FIA to review grid access. One involved Neymar’s positioning on the grid during the Spanish GP, while the other was a track invasion during the Australian GP. These incidents raised questions about safety and the need for stricter regulations.
Will there be any changes to grid access in other motorsport series?
Yes, grid access restrictions are not limited to Formula 1. The FIA acknowledges that similar issues can arise in Formula E, the World Endurance Championship, and other categories. They aim to address these concerns across various motorsport series.
What is the FIA’s main priority regarding grid access?
The FIA’s main priority is to protect the health and well-being of everyone on the grid, including guests, officials, and teams. They emphasize the need for a safe environment in motorsport and will enforce safety and security measures to ensure it.
Are there any plans to maintain grid access for celebrities or special guests?
While the details of the restrictions are not mentioned, the FIA has occasionally allowed access for celebrity guests in the past. However, it is likely that any future grid access will be subject to stricter guidelines to ensure the safety of all involved.