FIA decision on the incident with Ocon in the pit lane and on the jewelry
Many people thought the Grand Prix of Baku uninteresting because of the very smooth and uncluttered session. But Esteban Ocon, who pulled the pit stop until the last lap, attracted attention for the most part. So when Alpine's driver did go into the pits, he almost hit a big group of photographers. What happened and who was to blame? Also, the FIA made the final decision on which jewelry can be worn and which still have to be removed.
The main intrigue of the main race in Baku was the fact that Esteban Ocon to the penultimate round was still on the starting set of rubber. Alpine planned that they could make a change under the safety car, and ideally under the red flags. But unfortunately for them, after Nick de Vries' incident early in the race, the race was quiet. So the team had to pull essentially to the last lap, hoping not to lose everything they had. What was Esteban's surprise when he had to brake not because of the speed limit, but because of the flow of people who literally jumped under his wheels.
Many media outlets immediately started making headlines about the horrible photographers who literally threw themselves under the wheels of the Alpine. But actually, there are a few interesting points. First, of course, no one allows photographers to roam the pit lane at any time during the race. This is governed by the FIA. That is, photographers have the right to go to the pitlane and the closed park area only after they get the wave from the FIA management, which was given to them. That's why they were there: they were planning to find a good position to shoot the podium. Secondly, in addition to the photographers, the FIA representatives were also present and were already pulling the ribbon to delimit the award ceremony area. This action was also managed by the FIA. It turns out that it was as if the FIA had forgotten that there was a driver on the track who had not yet been in the pits, and still started preparing for the awards ceremony by releasing the photographers and allowing them to start fencing off the area.
Another amusing point is that at the last stage of the FIA banned the classic greeting of the winners, when team members climb on the grid and wave to the pilots on the track. Red Bull broke this rule, but it seems that they did not even pay attention to them because of the situation with Ocon and his late pitstop.
Of course, such an event could not be left without attention and proceedings. From the FIA photographers only heard an apology. Also representatives of the Federation said that it was just a misunderstanding, and that in the near future will review this procedure will make changes to improve safety in this kind of situations. This is the statement made by the stewards:
We walked through the relevant procedures and protocol with the FIA representatives in detail and required them to take immediate steps to reconsider these procedures and protocols with the relevant stakeholders (including FOM, the teams and the FIA) to ensure that this situation does not occur again. The FIA representatives expressed their regret at what happened and assured us that they would do so in time for the next event.
Esteban himself had as much fight as the people who jumped out from under his wheels. He noted that if he had made even the slightest mistake in the form of, for example, skipping the braking point, it is absolutely certain the situation would have ended in a terrible tragedy.
"I don't understand why we are starting to prepare the podium and the ceremony when we are still racing, there is one lap to go and there are still people who didn't pit. Arriving at 300 km/h, braking very late and I see the barriers and the people all around. This is crazy, it could have been a big, big one today. It's definitely something that needs to be discussed as it is something we don't want to see."
In addition to this situation, the FIA has finally ruled on another important case, which stretches back to last year and over which Hamilton had many misunderstandings with management. The FIA came up with a list of allowed items of jewelry and clarified what can not be on the driver during the race. Chains, bracelets and watches are still banned. Medical exemptions are revoked if their size or location would make it difficult to provide emergency care. Here are a number of pieces of jewelry that are allowed:
1. A watch, if it is a navigator's watch and it is worn ON TOP of the overalls;
2. A bezel ring (meaning wedding bands, but perhaps Leclaire fitness rings would fall under this heading), as long as they do not interfere with the natural movement of the hand;
3. Piercings, if not in the oral cavity area (or inside).
These were the results of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2023. Once again, we were reminded that motorsport is still dangerous and that not all situations can be anticipated. The FIA continues to work to improve safety in every detail.