Spectator hit by debris at F1 Australian GP
Monday 3rd April, 2023 - 9:16am
A race fan has recounted how he was hit by debris sent flying over the fences when Kevin Magnussen crashed out of the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix.
Will Sweet sustained a cut to his arm when he was struck by a piece of the magnesium wheel rim which came off the Haas when the Dane hit the wall at Turn 2 in the latter stages of the race at Albert Park.
It is the second crowd-related issue to come to light from the event, after promoter the Australian Grand Prix Corporation was found in breach of the FIA International Sporting Code over an early track invasion.
“I don’t really know [what happened],” Sweet told Melbourne’s 3AW radio station of his incident.
“I was just sort of standing in the crowd at Turn 2 and all of a sudden there was a commotion on-track so I looked to my right and Magnussen goes flying down the track.
“Then, all of a sudden, something hits me in the arm and a bunch of people are sort of running around, scrambling around me.
“Suddenly, someone holds up half of his rim, which has just flown over the fence and managed to hit me in the arm, so it was a bit weird.”
Sweet was not seriously injured, although he said the incident could have had far worse consequences.
“I was holding a really small radio to my ear, a bit like you would hold a mobile phone,” he recounted.
“So, I guess I had my arm up and I’m taller than my fiancé so it kind of hit me at about… my arm was covering where my neck would have been but if that had hit my fiancé, it probably would have got her right in the head.
“So, it could have been worse, but kind of lucky it hit me and not somebody else.”
AGPC CEO Andrew Westacott said the incident will be reviewed.
“It’s very rare that things fly over the top of the debris fences,” he told 3AW.
“They were heightened to a standard that exists and is consistent with every circuit around the world, and, statistically, they look at it all and say that that’s the right height, and I think it probably is the right height.
“But, we’ve got to look at all this and learn and see what can be done, whether it’s the way we… in 2001, when sadly the marshal Graham Beveridge passed away because of a tyre going through the fences, the fences were all changed and so were the tethering arrangements for the wheels and so on.
“A lot’s changed technically since 2001 and this, I think, is more of a freak one-off but the important thing about major events and motorsport is, you always have a thorough debrief and we’ll do that with everyone and CCTV, which you’d expect there’s a lot of it going around from our perspective.”
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