NUERBURGRING, Germany (Reuters) - A television cameraman suffered a broken collarbone and two broken ribs after being struck by a wheel which came off Mark Webber’s Red Bull during a pitstop in the early stages of the German Grand Prix on Sunday.
Formula One safety has been in the headlines since multiple tyre blow-outs at last weekend’s British Grand Prix raised fears about drivers being hit by flying debris, and Sunday’s incident will fuel concern about pitlane dangers.
While teams’ pit crew routinely wear protective headgear, many others working in the pitlane during the race do not.
An FIA spokesman confirmed the injuries, as well as concussion and bruises, and said he may have to stay in hospital for some days.
Webber came into the pits for a routine tyre change after nine laps but his crew took longer than usual because of a problem with the rear right tyre.
The Australian was released without the wheel being secured properly. It broke free and bounced into the oblivious cameraman, knocking him flat on his back.
“Paul Allen was hit on the lefthand side. Remaining conscious, he was treated at the circuit medical centre and then transported by helicopter to Koblenz Hospital,” the governing FIA said in a statement, adding that the cameraman was from F1’s commercial arm.
“The Briton was kept there, under observation.”
Webber was ordered to turn off his engine and the wheel was reattached, allowing the driver to rejoin the race near the back of the field. He finished seventh and his team were fined 30,000 euros ($38,500) for an unsafe release.
Supplier Pirelli have brought different tyres, with an inner ring of synthetic fibre Kevlar rather than steel, to Germany after the controversial blow-outs at Silverstone. There were no failures in practice or qualifying or on track during the race.
Reporting by Mark Meadows, editing by Alan Baldwin