A television cameraman was taken to hospital by helicopter after being struck by a wheel which came off Mark Webber’s Red Bull during a pitstop in the early stages of the German Grand Prix, after which the world champions were fined € 30 000 for an unsafe pit release.
Formula 1 safety has been in the headlines since multiple tyre blow-outs at last weekend’s British Grand Prix raised fears about drivers being hit by flying debris, and Sunday’s incident will fuel concern about pitlane dangers.
While teams’ pit crew routinely wear protective headgear, many others working in the pitlane during the race do not.
Webber came into the pits for a routine tyre change after nine laps but his crew took longer than usual because of a problem with the rear right tyre.
The Australian was released without the wheel being secured properly. It broke free and bounced into the oblivious cameraman, knocking him flat on his back.
“Paul Allen was hit on the lefthand side. Remaining conscious, he was treated at the circuit medical centre and then transported by helicopter to Koblenz Hospital,” the governing FIA said in a statement, adding that the cameraman was from F1’s commercial arm.
“The Briton was kept there, under observation.”
BBC radio reported he had some chest pain and concussion.
Webber was ordered by his team to turn off his engine while his car was pushed back to the Red Bull pitbox. The wheel was reattached, allowing him to rejoin the race near the back of the field. He finished seventh. (Reuters)
Subbed by AJN.