The F1 equivalent of VAR will be used to evaluate the data and decide whether additional safety precautions are necessary to prevent a repeat catastrophe.
The Australian Grand Prix incident that sent debris flying over safety barriers and into the path of a fan who later required medical assistance will be the subject of an investigation by Formula 1 safety officials.
With only seven laps remaining, Kevin Magnussen punctured his rear right tire on the exit of Turn 2 and brought out the safety car while marshals cleared the track of debris.
However, it appeared that a fragment of the delaminated tire flew past the barriers erected to prevent larger objects from reaching the crowd and struck a spectator.
Will Sweet, who is currently a resident of Australia but is originally from Essex, was given first aid for a cut on his forearm.
“My forearm was raised because I was holding a tiny FM radio to my ear, but if my arm hadn’t been there, I could have been hit in the neck,” Sweet told reporters after the incident.
“It could have hit my fiancée standing next to me on the head… I was also lucky not to have been hit by the very sharp end of the debris because that would have gone straight in.
“It could have been a lot worse. It could have been horrendous.”
For its post-race safety review, which will guide any adjustments made to the setup in Melbourne for the race next year, F1’s governing body will reportedly use its Remote Operations Centre in Geneva, dubbed as F1’s answer to the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), to compile all the footage of the incident.
Nonetheless, all of the tracks on the schedule take the issue of small debris into consideration, and the Australian Grand Prix’s organizers as well as the FIA use their findings to develop their safety measures.
The incident was described as a “freak one-off” by the race’s departing CEO, Andrew Westacott.
“The debris fences are consistent in height around the world,” Westacott said.
“We’re compliant in our FIA regulations, but like everything in motorsport, you do debriefs at the end of the event and see what you can do to improve.
“I hope the guy is okay. It’s a reminder that safety is paramount when it comes to Formula One.”
As soon as the race was over but before all the cars had returned to the pit lane, fans began to enter the track, forcing Westacott to respond to FIA queries.
“We work every year to allow the fans to access the track at the end of the race after the cars have passed,” Westacott added. “This was clearly a breach of what is a very robust protocol, a protocol that’s been developed and improved every year.”
“And a protocol that we sit down with officials from Motorsport Australia and the security providers, engineering providers and Victoria Police and we not only do table top exercises, but we do simulations out on track.
“Something hasn’t gone quite right and that investigation has already started.”