Sunday March 4th, 2001
An Australian Grand Prix marshal was killed after being struck by flying debris during the first race of the Formula One season on Sunday.
No immediate details were available but Ferrari's race winner Michael Schumacher told a subdued post race news conference in Melbourne that he had been told the marshal had died.
"Unfortunately we have just been told that the marshal did die," said the German world champion.
"Obviously we are all shocked about this. Certainly everyone is very much down for the situation."
Briton David Coulthard, who was runner-up in the race in a McLaren, offered condolences to the marshal's family and said his race was insignificant in the context of a life lost.
"We need obviously to study how we can improve track safety for these people who give their time for us to enable us to go racing," said the Scot.
It was the second time in less than a year that a marshal had been killed at a Formula One race.
Italian Paolo Gislimberti died at Monza last year when he was hit by flying debris in the first fatality suffered by Formula One at a circuit since the death of Brazilian world champion Ayrton Senna at Imola in 1994.
The Melbourne marshal was apparently hit after the BAR of former champion Jacques Villeneuve collided with the
Williams of Ralf Schumacher, Michael's younger brother.
The BAR flew at speed into safety fences, scattering debris across the track and losing its wheels.
BAR team principal Craig Pollock said there was a deep sense of shock in the paddock.
"I would just like to send my sincere condolences to the family," he said, "There was not much we can say because
we don't know the full circumstances about the accident."
More details to follow