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FIA forced to issue penalty reminder after Jeddah post-race scenes

The governing body has issued a warning to teams after personnel were seen on the pit wall debris fences post-race.

The FIA has been forced to issue a penalty reminder that team personnel are forbidden to climb on the pit wall debris fences, after post-race scenes in Jeddah. It is a long-standing tradition for team mechanics to climb the debris fences and wave the car past as it crosses the finish line, with these scenes taking place at both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia this year. In the Race Director notes for the Australian Grand Prix, Niels Wittich has issued a reminder of Appendix H, Article 2.3.2 of the FIA International Sporting code that states: "It is forbidden to climb on pit wall debris fence at any time. Any action by a team breaching this ban will be reported to the stewards.” Part of the rule also references that team personnel are allowed in the pit lane immediately before a car comes into the pits, but must "withdraw" from the pit lane after that work has been completed. Team personnel are still permitted to use the 'access holes' to display pit boards to drivers, providing this does not become unsafe.

What does it mean for F1 teams?

It's important to consider the ramifications of potential fines for teams in the new cost cap era of Formula 1 and the challenges it presents. Most circuits utilise debris fences which are designed for FIA Grade 1 circuits, the design of which loops over the track to ensure debris does not make it over the fencing. Mechanics often appear at the top of these when the car comes across the line as part of celebrations, after climbing the holes that form the gaps between the catch fencing. This is unlikely to be a problem at Melbourne, whereby a different solution is used to enable better visibility for fans into the pit lane in the grandstands. The Race Director notes also state that teams are responsible for ensuring guests do no cross the team garage and access the pit lane at the start and end of the race, before all cars have reached Parc Fermé. This is after security was forced to stop fans from walking into the live pit lane during the closing stages of last years Australian Grand Prix, after footage showed Alex Albon narrowly missed fans at the pit exit last year when he pitted on the penultimate lap.

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