At the Friday practice session of this year’s Chinese Grand Prix, a man sprinted across the start/finish straight and into the Ferrari garage where he demanded to drive a car.
The track invader, who embarrassed security officials at the Shanghai International Circuit, managed to leap from the grandstand onto the track before scaling the pit wall and making for the Ferrari garage.
After dodging cars moving at more than 250 kilometers per hour, Shanghai Daily reports that upon gaining access to the pit lane, he yelled at Ferrari mechanics in Chinese: “I want a car. I’ve got a ticket.”
Live footage of the incident was broadcast across the world, raising doubts over the competence of security arrangements at the event. Formula 1 bosses are launching an investigation into how the incident was allowed to take place.
The invasion invoked memories of the 2003 British Grand Prix, when an Irish protestor named Neil Horan ran onto the Hangar Straight during the race and sprinted head on at cars travelling over 300 kilometers an hour while wearing a kilt and waving a religious banner.
Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton took pole position at today’s qualifying session ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg who qualified second. Mercedes look poised to put both drivers on the podium at tomorrow’s race, outpacing the resurgent Ferrari.
The Shanghai International Circuit was built in 2003 at the cost of 2.6 billion yuan ($450 million) as the venue for the Chinese Grand Prix. The track can accommodate 200,000 people, but struggles to reach even half that number on race day.
By Dominic Jackson