Sunday August 12th, 2001
A confidential report by the FIA, investigating into the death of track marshal Graham Beveridge at the season's opening race in Albert Park, clears the Australian Grand Prix organisers from any responsibility and states the tragdy was a 'freak accident'.
Australia's Sunday Herald Sun reports today that 51-year-old Beveridge - who died of chest injuries after being struck by a flying wheel from the car of Jacques Villeneuve, who collided with Ralf Schumacher - was apparently not supposed to be in the location where he was hit.
"He was in an area where he shouldn't have been at the moment of the accident," the paper quotes an anonymous high-ranking F1 official. "It's very sad for the marshal. It sounds unkind, but that is the truth of the matter. He was in an area that he was not supposed to be."
According the the paper, the investigation report states Beveridge was a spectators' marshal and was not one of the trackside workers designated for the turn 3 post.
Furthermore, the FIA's report states the safety barriers themselves were not found faulty in any way. "Nothing from the investigation and the report highlighted any particular fault of the structures (safety barriers) or anything like that," FIA spokesman Francesco Longanesi told the newspaper.
The FIA's report, which completely clears Australian Grand Prix Corporation - the race's organisers - from any responsibility, will not be made public until the local enforcement agencies will have finished their own investigation.
Published at 14:48:58 GMT