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Stewards 'have serious concerns' in Australian GP promoter verdict

The Australian Grand Prix Corporation was hauled in front of the stewards after the race in Melbourne.

Formula 1 stewards have "serious concerns" after summoning the Australian Grand Prix promoter over a track invasion late in the Melbourne race. Despite security measures being in place, "a large group of spectators" managed to access the track while the race was ongoing - and even gaining access to Nico Hulkenberg's Haas which stopped on the in-lap at Turn 2 with the red electrical light flashing. This amounted to a breach of Article 12.2.1.h of the International Sporting Code which covers taking reasonable measures to avoid unsafe situations. In their verdict, the stewards reported that they had "serious concerns" over the breach, with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGCP) set to investigate and produce a report - while the stewards are also referring the matter to the World Motor Sport Council for further investigations, such was the seriousness.

Organisers admit fault

In the hearing at Albert Park, representatives from the AGPC "candidly admitted failures in terms of the security protocols and safety measures and concurred with the FIA Sporting Delegate and the Race Director report and agreed that this was an unacceptable situation that could have had disastrous consequences," the stewards found in their verdict. It was found that Article 12.2.1.h of the ISC had been breached, with a thorough investigation and steps needed to "remediate" the issue required in time for the 2024 race. After the "comprehensive review" of the plan has been submitted, a review will be held, with findings and recommendations presented to the FIA via the ASN (Motorsport Australia). Local authorities including the Victoria state police will be involved, with the stewards also requesting that the FIA "review and comment on whether the abovementioned steps are adequate to address the concerns raised and to state if any further measure(s) need to be taken," with a deadline. The AGPC has requested that it be given until June 30th, 2023 to carry out the report and review. Owing to the severity of the incident, the stewards have also referred the matter to the FIA World Motor Sport Council "to determine whether any additional steps need to be taken or penalties applied beyond the remediation plan presented by the Promoter (and reviewed by the FIA) to ensure the safe and orderly conduct of future events in Australia."

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