Following the conclusion of his final race at the helm of the Australian GP promoter, Andrew Westacott fronted the media to address two major safety issues that occurred during the event. Firstly, a fan was injured by carbon fibre debris from Kevin Magnussen‘s car when the driver hit the wall in the latter stages of Sunday’s race. According to eyewitnesses, the debris was launched 20 metres in the air before clearing the catch fencing and lacerating the fan’s arm. Westacott noted that while the incident appears to be a freak one-off, the team is already looking into ways to improve safety measures for next year’s event.
Westacott also addressed the premature track invasion at the end of the race, which saw the AGPC summoned to the FIA stewards and later found to be in breach of F1 rules. Westacott emphasized that it is a controlled access to the circuit post-race for fans. He mentioned that his team has been working to refine protocols every year and conducts table-top exercises and simulations out on the track with officials, Motorsport Australia, security providers, engineering providers and Victoria Police, but this year something went wrong. He stressed that an investigation is already underway, so that the AGPC can examine what happened and work with officials to ensure next year’s event is not only safe, but is appropriately run.
Westacott’s primary hope from the investigation is that it will not lead to a blanket ban on fans entering the circuit after the race. He does not think there needs to be a ban but discussed the need for both primary, secondary, and tertiary lines of protection along with individuals responsible for keeping those areas secure. Ultimately, Westacott wants to see a combination of infrastructure and modified plans to increase safety and ensure fans can still enjoy post-race celebrations in the future.