Serious questions for Australian GP officials after fan hit by debris in Magnussen’s crash

Michelle Foster
A red flag is shown at the Australian Grand Prix. Melbourne, April 2023.

A red flag is shown at the Australian Grand Prix. Melbourne, April 2023.

Two decades on from the tragic death of a marshal killed by a loose wheel, the Australian Grand Prix organisers again having questions to answer after a spectator was hit by a piece of flying debris when Kevin Magnussen crashed.

Magnussen’s Australian Grand Prix came to a end on lap 54 on Sunday, the Dane losing it at Turn 2 and hitting the wall with the right rear of his car at speed.

That cost him his tyre while other bits of debris were strewn across the track forcing Race Control to red flag the race.

However one piece of debris, a metre-long piece of metal, flew over the safety fence and crashed into the spectators, cutting one fan, Will Street, on the arm.

Asked what happened, FoxSport quotes him as having told Sunrise: “It’s a great question, I’m not sure.

“I think Kevin Magnussen came around Turn 2, I followed him with my eyes. But straight ahead of me apparently a piece of debris had flown over the fence.

“Lots of people around me moved, and it managed to hit me right in the arm – I had my arm up, I had a radio piece in my ear. I’m not sure what happened really!

“Honestly I’m feeling pretty lucky. It ended up being not as serious as it could have been, the piece of debris was quite large.

“Standing right next to me was my fiancée and she’s a bit shorter than me. So where it hit me in the arm it probably would have hit her right in the head.

“Honestly I’m feeling pretty lucky it wasn’t worse.” recommends

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News of Street’s injury came to light with the Melbourne race promoter already in hot water with the FIA having been summoned to see the stewards due to a “spectator track invasion prior to the conclusion of the 2023 Australian Grand Prix.”

While the Australian Grand Prix Corporation agreed to “conduct a thorough investigation” and set out changes for future races, the incident was also referred to the World Motor Sport Council for further investigation.

Sunday’s debris incident comes just over two decades after a marshal, Graham Beveridge, was killed when he was hit by a flying wheel from a collision between Jacques Villeneuve and Ralf Schumacher which flew through a gap in the fence and hit him in the chest.

The coroner declared it an “avoidable” incident with then FIA president Max Mosley saying: “The FIA sets minimum standards below which it will not authorise a race. The FIA anticipates that the Australian Grand Prix Corporation will continue to exceed significantly those standards in the future.”

Sunday’s incident shows more needs to be done at the track, which is purpose-built every season for the Australian Grand Prix.