Australian Grand Prix fatality named

AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX officials have named the race marshal who died during the event as Graham Beveridge.

Beveridge, a 52 from Queensland, died after he was hit by a wheel from Jacques Villeneuve's British American Racing car.

Villeneuve crashed at 150 mph into the back of the BMW-Williams of Ralf Schumacher and flew into the air before hitting a safety fence and sending debris through into the crowd.

Beveridge is believed to have been hit in the chest by the wheel, while seven spectators also received cuts and bruises from flying parts of the BAR.

Villeneuve and Schumacher were unhurt and both drivers were interviewed by Victoria state police investigators, who have also impounded the BAR for further checks.

Australian Grand Prix chairman Ron Walker indicated that the stray wheel from the BAR, which should stay connected to the chassis by two tethers, went through a mandatory gap in the safety fence.

"If you want to build a concrete wall right around the track, you won't have any spectators," said Walker on Australian television. "It was a one-in-a-billion chance that the tire came through that wall.

"There are gaps in the wall all around the track. The reason for that is the marshals have to get out in case a car turns over and a driver is trapped beneath the car. For that wheel to have come through that small gap is quite an amazing phenomenon."

Walker went on to defend the track's safety and said that he and his colleagues will be doing everything to support the family of Beveridge, who has already been remembered with wreaths at the side of the track where he died.

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