F1 team bosses call for helmets for all in pitlane after German GP flying wheel incident
British cameraman sustained broken ribs after being hit by tyre
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 08/07/13 3:25pm
Leading team bosses have called for a clampdown on pitlane safety in the wake of the incident which saw a TV cameraman injured by a flying tyre in Sunday's German GP.
British FOM camerman Paul Allen was airlifted to hospital, where he was confirmed as having sustained broken ribs and collarbone, after being knocked to the floor when a tyre incorrectly fitted to Mark Webber's Red Bull car worked its way loose and started bouncing down the pitlane. FOM said in a statement on Monday that Allen was "expected to make a full recovery".
While mechanics are already required to wear safety equipment and helmets in the pitlane, other personnel operating in the area during a race, such as camera operators, are not currently subjected to the same requirements.
However, in light of Sunday's frightening incident, Red Bull boss Christian Horner and a number of his counterparts think the time is now right for a review.
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"It's a timely reminder that working in the pitlane, whether you're a mechanic or cameraman, is dangerous," Horner, whose team were fined €30,000 for the incident, told Sky Sports News.
"These cars are going pretty fast and there's a lot of energy around them, so it's a reminder that we need to look at all these things.
"The mechanics need to wear protective gear and maybe it's something that camera men and women working close to the action need to do as well."
Mercedes chief Ross Brawn concurred and suggested that the existing requirements for mechanics to wear helmets should extend to the rest of the pitlane.
"On the basis of what we have seen today we should be thinking that all people in the pit lane are properly dressed and equipped," Brawn was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.
"Everyone in the pit lane should have a helmet on. It is certainly worth reviewing the whole thing."
In the 2010 Hungarian GP a Williams mechanic was struck by a flying tyre which had worked its way loose from Nico Rosberg's Mercedes, an incident which earned the team a $50,000 fine.
McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh suggested the sport as a whole had become "a little bit complacent" regarding pitlane safety.
"The wheel came bouncing through the pit area, it was pretty scary," he told reporters.
"Those of us who were around 25 years ago without speed limits could smell the inherent danger. We have become a little bit complacent."