Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has criticized the stricter implementation of a rule that bans an age-old tradition of Formula 1 team members celebrating on the pit wall.
Horner said on Friday at the Australian Grand Prix that F1 will lose out by stopping what he described as “iconic” celebrations after ruling body FIA issued a new safety memo before the Australian race, the third in this year’s series
F1 race director Niels Wittich issued instructions stating “it is forbidden to climb on a pit wall debris fence at any time.”
Stating team personnel are only allowed in pit lane just before or after they are required to work on a car, the safety edict said employees must exit as soon as the work is complete: “Any action by a team breaching this ban will be reported to the stewards.”
After Red Bull’s Max Verstappen recorded the fastest lap time in the opening practice session around the Albert Park circuit, Horner appeared bemused by the clampdown: “I’m surprised it was an issue, to be honest with you, but I think anything that relates to safety, obviously, has to be taken very, very seriously.
“But it’s a fairly iconic moment when you see a Grand Prix car finishing a Grand Prix and its team celebrating on a fence, as long as it’s done in a manner that is safe. I, personally, have never seen an issue with it. It’s always been a part of Grand Prix racing.”
McLaren chief executive Zak Brown – whose team seldom celebrates victories – said he was not sure what prompted the clampdown, with teams facing the prospect of being penalized for any breaches.
“I’m not exactly sure what sparked the necessity to change it. I’m not aware of an incident. That being said, safety is critically important to all of us and if they feel it’s potentially not safe, and those are the rules, then we’ll stick to it,” added Brown.
Meanwhile, organizing body FIA says it has completed a review into the bizarre circumstances which saw Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso demoted to fourth position in Jeddah for a breach on the starting grid, only to reverse the decision soon after on appeal.
FIA clarified the wording of a rule related to “working on the car” and how it will be regulated and also widened the starting grid boxes for the Australian Grand Prix.
#F1 It has always been a rule but somehow, starting this weekend, it is really a no no for the crews to climb the fence at the finish. After the donuts, another thing taken away from the celebrations. #MsportXtra pic.twitter.com/BtuA4hUXmo
— #MsportXtra © (@MsportXtra) March 30, 2023