Atlas F1 News Service, a Reuters report

Australian Officials Consider New Safety Plans

Thursday August 23rd, 2001

Australian Grand Prix organisers are considering measures to make the race safer and not waiting for the inquest into the death of a marshal to be completed, event chairman Ron Walker has said.

"Obviously we're not sitting on our hands, we're looking at all sorts of measures to make the Grand Prix safer," Walker told reporters. He did not elaborate on what exactly was planned. "I can assure you that all the things that are necessary, that have to be done, will be done."

The March 4 race, the first of the 2001 Formula One Grand Prix season, was marred by the death of Australian track marshal Graham Beveridge. He was hit in the chest by a wheel that flew off the BAR car of Canadian Jacques Villeneuve.

Villeneuve had collided moments earlier with the Williams driven by German Ralf Schumacher.

Walker said the Australian Grand Prix Corporation was cooperating fully with the inquiry but added he was unsure when the coroner would hand down his report.

"We are cooperating obviously with all interested parties of course, and we hope that that will come to finalisation in the very near future," Walker said. The day after the marshal's death, Walker spoke strongly in defence of the race's safety record.

"The way we operate this race is of world standard; in fact we have been voted twice the best track in the world," Walker said. "People are very passionate about motor racing. They know there are risks, even though we try to make the risks absolutely minimal.

"That's the way it is. At the moment there is nothing else we can do."

Published at 08:42:43 GMT

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