FIA hints at F1 grid access clampdown after Neymar Spanish GP incident

Celebrities, invited guests and members of the international media are permitted in limited numbers to join series officials and team personnel on the grid in the build-up to races for F1, Formula E, the World Endurance Championship and so on.

However, this access is currently under scrutiny after guests – including Brazilian footballer Neymar Jr – were still positioned at the edge of the grass on the main straight as the formation lap for this month’s Spanish GP got underway.

This case comes as the FIA World Motor Sport Council awaits the findings of a review into a track invasion late on during the Australian GP in April. Race officials were summoned to the stewards in the immediate aftermath.

The event’s promoter is expected to submit a report into the incident in June. As part of this, the FIA expects a “remediation plan that addresses the safety and security concerns”.

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Autosport understands that one measure being lined up is to place restrictions on grid access.

According to a statement from the WMSC, “protecting the health and well-being of everyone on the grid – guests, officials and teams – was the FIA’s priority”.

F1 has occasionally permitted celebrity guests access to the grid as cars move away. In 2017 it arranged a special photoshoot with Usain Bolt at the United States GP moments before the start of the formation lap.

Usain Bolt performs his trademark pose prior to the start

Usain Bolt performs his trademark pose prior to the start

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “We must take learnings from the incident at the Spanish Grand Prix. The FIA has been assured by Stefano Domenicali [F1 CEO] that measures are being taken to ensure that there is no repeat of the incident.

“It is an issue not just in Formula 1 but also in Formula E and World Endurance Championship and other categories from my recent experiences with too many people on the grid at some events.

“I have no doubt that in all cases, the promoter will adhere to the FIA requirements on safety and security. It is the duty of the FIA to ensure a safe environment for all. Safety in motor sport is the Federation’s main priority.”

At the Tuesday meeting of the WMSC in Cordoba, Spain, the single suppliers of knock sensors (Bosch) and insulation monitoring devices (Bender GmbH & Co. KG) were appointed for the new F1 power unit regulations beginning in 2026.

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