Formula One mulls tighter pitlane safety

(Reuters) – Formula One pitlane television crews will have to film from the pit wall during races in future after a cameraman was hit and injured by a bouncing wheel in Sunday’s German Grand Prix, Bernie Ecclestone said yesterday.

Mechanics wear helmets during pitstops but others in a very restricted group given access to the pitlane – such as the media – do not and there were calls at the Nuerburgring for tighter procedures.

Cameraman Paul Allen was filming for Ecclestone’s Formula One Management (FOM) and the commercial supremo said the incident, caused by a wheel coming off Mark Webber’s Red Bull as the Australian pulled away from a pitstop, had been “just one of those things”.

“There was a whole bunch of mechanics and the tyre could have hit any one of those guys,” Sky Sports television, which shares British broadcast rights with the BBC, quoted the 82-year-old as saying.

“The cameraman just happened to be looking the wrong way at the wrong time. In future, all our camera crews will only be allowed to film from the pit wall.”

Allen was taken to hospital with a broken collarbone and fractured ribs. FOM said in a statement that he was receiving medical care and was expected to make a full recovery.

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn, whose mechanics dodged the wheel, said it was time for a rethink.

“Everyone in the pitlane should have a helmet on,” he said. “It is certainly worth reviewing the whole thing.”

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