Melbourne inquest begins

THE inquest into the death of safety Marshal Grahm Beveridge at last year's Australian Grand Prix began Monday. Beveridge was killed when a wheel from Jacques Villeneuve's BAR passed through a gap in the safety fence after an accident with Ralf Schumacher. The wheel, estimated to be traveling nearly 150mph, struck Beveridge in the chest, killing him instantly.

The court heard from both drivers involved, as well as chief steward Garth Wigston and race director Tim Schenken on Monday. Schenken told the court that Albert Park has already begun plans to improve the safety around the circuit.

The wheel passed through a section of the debris fencing that drivers and Marshals use to pass between the circuit and safety area.

The hearing will continue throughout the week. It is expected that neither driver error nor mechanical failure will be found as the cause of the death. The 2002 Australian Grand Prix remains provisional, but is expected to be held with improved safety, including taller safety barriers and modified debris fencing.

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Stories:: DECEMBER 3, 2001
MELBOURNE INQUEST BEGINS