FIA: F1 Brazil GP faced “unacceptable” safety concerns

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The 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix, concluded with the same level of chaos it started, as a “large group” of spectators breached security lines and invaded the track after Red Bull’s Max Verstappen clinched victory. FIA, the governing body of motorsports, labeled this incident as an “unacceptable situation,” raising serious safety concerns that demand immediate attention.

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

As Max Verstappen celebrated his triumph, a surge of fans stormed the track at Turn 1 during the chequered flag lap, putting themselves and drivers at risk. Thankfully, no incidents or injuries occurred, but the FIA stewards swiftly intervened due to the gravity of the situation. The FIA report stated the fact as “A large group of spectators managed to break the security lines and accessed the run-off area at Turn 1 while the race was finishing and cars were still on track.”

FIA’s investigation revealed that security measures and safety protocols, which should have been enforced, were either lacking or insufficient, creating an unsafe environment for both spectators and drivers. The race organizers, SPF1, candidly acknowledged these failures, and the FIA Sporting Delegate and Race Director concurred that similar incidents had previously happened in Brazil. This acknowledgment of recurring issues reinforced the view that “this was an unacceptable situation which could have had disastrous consequences.”

In response to the breach, SPF1 committed to conducting a comprehensive investigation and implementing necessary remedial actions in preparation for the 2024 race. The FIA has set a deadline for SPF1 to present a formal plan addressing these concerns by January 30, 2024.

As noted in the FIA document, “In the circumstances, the Stewards hereby determine that SPF1 breached Article 12.2.1.h of the 2023 FIA International Sporting Code. SPF1 urgently (i.e. at the latest by 30th January 2024) present a formal remediation plan to the FIA that adequately addresses the serious concerns above.”

Given the gravity of the safety and security issues at stake, the FIA will review SPF1’s proposed measures and consider whether additional actions are necessary. This ongoing dialogue between SPF1 and the FIA underscores the critical importance of safety in motorsports. The incident has also been officially referred to the FIA World Motor Sports Council, which will conduct further investigations and determine if any additional steps or penalties are required to ensure the safe and orderly conduct of future events in Brazil.

The 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix was a remarkable success in terms of attendance, with a record-breaking, sold-out crowd of 267,000 spectators enjoying the circuit throughout the weekend. The event’s popularity was further underscored by the announcement of a five-year contract extension, guaranteeing its presence on the F1 calendar until the 2030 season.