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SEPTEMBER 11, 2000

Mosley promises action after Monza tragedy

Grand prix circuit safety standards will be urgently reviewed in the wake of Sunday's tragic Italian grand prix at Monza where a 30-year old fire marshal was killed after being hit by flying debris from a five car accident on the opening lap of the race.

FIA president Max Mosley acknowledged yesterday that the question of breaking up the flow of circuits with chicanes certainly contributed towards the "bunching up" of formula one cars which could be potentially hazardous, and said that it might be necessary to consider changes to the overall track configuration at Monza in order to bring it into line with more modern circuits that have been built from scratch.

"We have kept the question of chicanes under close scrutiny for some years now," he said, "and we will look at the issues again in the light of this accident.

"Of course, this might cause political problems with the environmentalists as I suspect that futher major changes at Monza would involve cutting down more trees. In 1994 when the track was updated previously, only 200 trees were felled and to compensate for that the circuit planted another 5000 elsewhere in the park. So it should not be a major problem."

Mosley added that the entire sport had been stunned by the fatal accident to to 30 year old Paolo Ghislimberti as a result of the multiple accident.

"It is absolutely ghastly that a voluntary official should be killed in this way," he said. "The only real way of ensuring this never happens again is for track marshals effectively to regard their jobs as if they were soldiers coming under fire in a war.

"But I don't think it is realistic to suggest they crouch down behind the trackside barriers at eye level and only raise their heads above the parapet when they need to go into action. In those circumstances it would soon become very difficult to recruit any marshals at all."

Meanwhile, Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello, who was collected by the spinning Jordans of Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jarno Trulli in Sunday's carnage, made calls for Frentzen to be banned for ten races for causing the accident.

Most formula one insiders feel that Barrichello's comments were made in the emotion of the moment after he realised just how close to injury he had come. Marks on the top of the Brazilian driver's helmet indicated that it had been grazed by flying debris, but colleagues point out that while Frentzen might have made a mistake, it was hardly a deliberate one.

Yesterday the five cars were still impounded in the Monza paddock, but it was expected that all but the two wrecked Jordans would be released to their teams in the next day or so. The investigating magistrate will probably retain the Jordans for the moment as it has now emerged that a wheel from one of these cars which hit the hapless official.

Due to legal considerations there was no comment on the matter from the Jordan management, but the Silverstone-based team will be working flat-out to ensure that it has sufficient cars ready for the inaugural US Grand Prix at Indianapolis on 24 September.