Red Bull surprise after FIA celebrations warning

Red Bull mechanics celebrate on the pit wall as Max Verstappen finishes second in Saudi Arabia

Red Bull mechanics enjoy their celebrations on the pit wall as Max Verstappen finishes second in Saudi Arabia

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has expressed surprise following the FIA’s warning to all teams not to climb the catch fencing at any time.

The reminder from race director Niels Wittich prevents mechanics from scaling the pit-straight barriers to celebrate a driver’s result at the end of a grand prix.

The directive from Wittich in his pre-Australian Grand Prix race notes drew a confused reaction from Horner, in particular, given there has been a regulation in place since 2006 preventing such a practice.

As with last season’s furore over the drivers wearing jewellery, as well as the correct underwear, the latest crackdown on a 17-year-old rule has raised eyebrows.

“I was surprised it was an issue, to be honest with you,” said Horner. “But I think anything that relates to safety, obviously, one has to take 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, and so long as it’s done in a manner that is safe…I personally have never seen an issue with it.

“It’s a part of grand prix racing, we’ve achieved that 94 times as Red Bull Racing, and not once have we ever had an injury or looked like there being an issue.

“But you know, if they’re the rules, they’re the rules.”

Aston willing to pay any future fine

For this weekend’s race at Melbourne’s Albert Park, the reminder is moot as the pit-wall barrier is made of glass and so cannot be scaled by enthusiastic crew members.

The article in Appendix H of the International Sporting Code quoted by Wittich relates to ‘restriction of personnel’.

It states, in part, that “it is forbidden for personnel to climb on pit wall debris fences at any time. Any action by a team breaching this ban will be reported to the stewards”.

It comes after Aston Martin enthusiastically celebrated Fernando Alonso’s third place in Saudi Arabia a fortnight ago.

Asked of team principal Mike Krack as to who would pay the fine should Alonso win a race this season, he replied: “Fernando will certainly not pay the fine if the team jumps on the fences.”

He added: “It’s something we need to respect if it’s a pure safety directive, and if that is the rule, then we will comply with it and if someone doesn’t, then we will pay the fine.

“But I think here will be quite difficult to climb fences because there are none. It’s just glass. So one saved.”

McLaren CEO Zak Brown was similarly bemused by Wittich’s reminder.

“I’m not exactly sure what sparked the necessity to change it,” he said. “I’m not aware of an incident happening.

“Safety’s 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.”

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