Ahead of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, it has been revealed by Motorsport.com that the FIA have clamped down on pitwall fence celebrations, which have typically been seen throughout Formula 1’s history.
It’s a common theme nowadays to see a team waving their fists in jubilation whilst their driver crosses the finish line to claim a podium, as is a driver slowing down to drive alongside the team.
Following a safety concern, though, race director Niels Wittich included in his pre-Grand Prix safety notes that “it is forbidden to climb on pitwall debris fence at any time”.
Wittich’s note regarding the banning on climbing the pitwall fence referenced Appendix H, Article 2.3.2 of the FIA’s International Sporting Code, rules which are used in any FIA governed championship.
Wittich’s note went on to read: “Team personnel are only allowed in the pit lane immediately before they are required to work on a car and must withdraw as soon as the work is complete.
“It is forbidden for personnel to climb on pitwall debris fences at any time. Any action by a team breaching this ban will be reported to the stewards.”
Following the announcement regarding the banning of climbing debris fences, teams are allowed to inform the stewards when they believe a side has broken the rule.
Should a team be found guilty of having climbed the debris fence, it’s believed that any penalty will not affect the driver or the race result but would instead be in the form of a fine.
This in itself could be costly to any guilty party, given the current cost cap era of the sport.
The rule has also been introduced to improve driver safety, should a team member accidentally drop something onto the circuit whilst climbing or celebrating through the pitwall fencing.
It’s also been done to reduce the chances of a team member actually falling onto the circuit and being hit at high-speed.
Whilst the chances of this happening are incredibly slim, it’s a risk that the FIA are not prepared to take.
Whether the rule is respected will be discovered on Sunday, when the race winner crosses the finish line.