Esteban Ocon called on the FIA to change their post-race podium procedure to avoid another near-miss incident in the pit lane in the future.
The Alpine driver came across a group of people standing in the fast lane of the pits when he came in on the final lap of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Ocon had run the first 50 laps of the race on the same set of hard tyres. As he made his way into the pit lane, FIA personnel had already begun setting up parc ferme and the fenced off pen reserved for the top three finishers.
Fortunately no one was hit by the Alpine. The stewards are investigating the incident and the event stewards have summoned an FIA representative responsible for parc ferme to explain how the incident occured. Ocon said the near-miss was “not something that we want to see.”
“I don’t understand why we’re starting to prep the podium and to prep the ceremony while we’re still racing,” Ocon said. “There’s one lap to go, there’s still people that didn’t pit.
“I’m arriving at 300kph, braking very late and I see the barriers, I see the people around – I mean, this is crazy. It could have been a big, big one today. It’s definitely something that needs to be discussed. It’s something that we don’t want to see.”
Ocon said that he had to lift off the throttle to avoid some of the photographers in the fast lane as he made his was into the pit lane for his stop.
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“I had to back off,” he said. “I would not have liked to be the one in the middle there, I have to say, at the speed that we are arriving there. Especially so close to the line – if I miss the braking point, it’s a big disaster. So crazy moment.
“I’m sure the FIA has seen it and they will take action. If they don’t take action, I will go and speak to them.”
Ocon believes the FIA should adjust its post-race procedures in future so that the construction of parc ferme and the podium should only commence once every car has finished the race.
“It’s clear – we need to wait until all the cars have passed the chequered flag and be sure that there’s no racing in the pit lane anymore until you start prepping the podium. It’s not a mystery – it’s very simple.”
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