Neymar Spanish GP incident could force FIA into grid clampdown

Sam Cooper
Neymar on the grid. Barcelona, Spain. June 2023.

Neymar on the grid. Barcelona, Spain. June 2023.

An incident involving Brazilian footballer Neymar has reportedly encouraged the FIA to rethink pre-race grid access.

Pre-race grid walks have become increasingly dramatic as the rise of F1’s popularity has led to more and more big names desperate to get onto the track before lights out.

Sky Sports F1’s Martin Brundle has had some memorable run-ins with celebrities over the years but that could soon become a thing of the past with the FIA mulling over who it gives access to.

Currently invited celebrities and guests as well as members of the media are allowed to join team personnel on the track but a reported incident involving PSG footballer Neymar could have repercussions.

Motorsport.com reports that shortly before the Spanish Grand Prix, Neymar was still positioned at the edge of the grass on the main straight as the formation lap began.

With safety always a concern, the FIA World Motor Sport Council is pondering new ways to make the sport safer and restricting access could be one of them.

They are currently awaiting the findings of a report into the Australian Grand Prix during which fans invaded the track before the race had ended.

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.

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“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 motorsport is the Federation’s main priority.”

The report from the Australian Grand Prix is expected to be handed over at the end of the month.