Esteban Ocon explains ‘scary’ moment he almost ploughed into F1 staff

F1 preview: A lap of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Esteban Ocon has made a worrying admission after almost hitting F1 photographers at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The Frenchman claims he was unaware of the incident developing at the start of the pit lane until it was almost too late.

The Alpine driver locked up his front left tyre in an attempt to slow down while reporters jumped out of the way. It came after a major error saw media personnel allowed into the pitlane on the final lap of the race despite Ocon having not yet made his mandatory pit stop.

After the race, Ocon explained: “It was definitely scary. I don’t know why everyone was starting to prep the podium, we were still racing and there was all the time in the world to be doing so. It could have been a big, big issue for everyone there. I’m arriving at more than 300kph, leaving my braking as late as I can and they were just after the line as well so if I miss my braking point.

“I had to brake, I had to avoid and it was pretty scary. Luckily it was all good. I had no idea that they were there. I’ve never seen that before.”

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Sky Sports F1 reporter Ted Kravitz had warned of the issue as Ocon headed for the pitlane before he branded the incident a “shambles”. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner called for a review as he urged the FIA to “police” the pitlane better.

The FIA quickly held an investigation into the issue after the chequered flag as bosses summoned their own officials to race control. Hours later, the governing body confirmed that those responsible had been spoken to in a bid to prevent similar issues at other Grands Prix.

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The report said: “We considered that it was fortunate that there were no serious consequences on account of what happened today. We stressed that the requirements of ensuring a safe and orderly event are paramount.

“This was acknowledged by the FIA team. 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.”

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