A huge number of fans in the Mexican Grand Prix Formula 1 paddock has left drivers unhappy after their personal space and "boundaries" were encroached upon. As F1 enjoys a popularity boom, paddock passes, issued through F1 itself, have become highly sought after with fans eager to grab picture or autograph with their favourite drivers and team members. In Mexico, this led to scenes of drivers being swamped as they moved about the paddock, with the FIA investigating the matter on safety grounds. Drivers have been forced to take alternate routes through the paddock to avoid the swathes of fans waiting for them, with Pierre Gasly revealing that his backpack was opened twice at one point during the weekend.
Gasly's describes 'mobbed' experience in paddock
"I think letting people in is fine, but it's true that now we feel like some guests sometimes are not really respecting the space that we need," the AlphaTauri driver told media including RacingNews365.com. "People are coming in garages before qualifying and asking for pictures when they are not even from our team. "We're working here, and obviously we give time for the fans when we can. "But this weekend I didn't dare come out of the hospitality, because otherwise you get mobbed. Sometimes it gets quite hectic. "I arrived at the hospitality yesterday morning with my bag with my passport in open, and I didn't even feel it. "We talked about it in the driver's briefing. "I think it's great, and also to see kids and people really enjoying it, but just maybe find a way where they can understand where to reach us, and when to give us a bit more space."
McLaren drivers call for respect and boundaries
While both McLaren drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris welcomed the attention from fans, they stressed the need for them to respect the "personal space" of team personnel. "I love having the fans in here, especially when it's kids and stuff," Norris explained to media, including RacingNews365.com. "You can't control what they do, like kids are kids - that's cool. "They're looking up to us, dreaming of what we're doing and we are the idols and heroes. That's cool, fun and [just] life. "But I guess more for the older people and so on there's not as much respect for just personal space and things like that as what there should be. "They should feel lucky enough to be in the paddock, and get to be as close as they are to us. “Because it's easy for us to always go around the back ways, and have people literally shove them out of the way and so on, so we don't sign anything. "But we want to do that, and we are happy to do those things. “And we want to walk down the paddock. But there just needs to be a little bit more just respect from people for our personal space and boundaries and things." Ricciardo echoed those sentiments from his teammate - and believed a set of guidelines should be issued to those fans with paddock access. "This year has got more hectic for sure," he explained. "The paddock used to lack atmosphere. I remember eight years ago, 10 years ago, the paddock was actually a pretty dull place. “So, I do like having atmosphere in the paddock, it should be a fun place to be. "But there should also be boundaries. I think to be in the paddock and have a VIP pass, it's a privilege. "You also should act with some maturity and have respect. And that hasn't always been shown this year. People lose their mind. "I feel like they should at least have some guidelines, like these are the kind of the rules inside the paddock," he about those fans who do manage to purchase passes. "As I said, I do want the atmosphere. I don't want security to be honest, I don't want to be walking in a huddle and just walking through people. I want to be able to have photos and sign things. “I think if everyone's just says: 'Please and thank you,’ and shows a little bit of respect, then we'll keep giving them that in return. "I do catch myself calling people out way too often for not saying please or thank you. They just run up, don't say a word, do what they have to, and then go. "For that you feel like a little bit used. "If they set some guidelines, maybe that helps, because there aren’t any at the moment. "So, if it's just a bit of awareness, then maybe they'll be a little more cool. I don't want to see it [access] change. I just think adults need to act like adults."