The FIA "has banned media and 'non-essential personnel' from Grand Prix pit lanes after a cameraman was injured at last Sunday's German Grand Prix," according to the BBC. The ban, issued by F1's ruling body, covers "anyone other than event marshals and team personnel." The FIA said in a statement, "Access for approved media will be confined to the pit wall" (BBC, 7/9). The PA's Jamie Strickland reported Sky Sports was quick to announce that it hoped its "coverage would not be affected by the new rules." Sky Sports said, "Following the serious incident which occurred in the pitlane during the German GP last weekend, Sky Sports F1 HD will be working to all new guidelines as specified by FOM. Safety remains a prime concern and we are sure that, whilst the new regulations will mean certain changes to pitlane protocols, we are confident that our coverage will not be affected" (PA, 7/10). The London EXPRESS reported pit lane safety improvements "have been on the FIA's radar for some time, and Sunday's incident looks set to bring forward two planned changes to the rulebook" (EXPRESS, 7/9).
POLITICAL MINEFIELD: Also in London, Kevin Eason reported F1 "is steering into another political minefield as it gears up for a controversial three days of testing at Silverstone." Mercedes execs "are thought to be pushing for inclusion in the test next week, despite a ban by Formula One’s authorities." Pirelli Motorsport Dir Paul Hembery "is also under severe pressure from the FIA" to ensure that future tests are clearly above board, while teams "are in a state of paranoia about rivals stealing a march in performance if any are allowed to take part in an individual test." It is an unhealthy mix "leaving Pirelli in the middle of the political stew and unable to find answers from the teams or the FIA." Hembery "is appealing for sweeping changes to test regulations," not just to avoid the debacle of Silverstone, where there were four tire blowouts in a single grand prix, but also to produce tires that "promote good racing" (LONDON TIMES, 7/9). In Barcelona, Raymond Blancafort reported it will be required that all personnel with pit-lane access wear helmets (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 7/10).