Tuesday March 6th, 2001
As Formula One's leading figures discuss the safety of the sport, a colleague of the marshal who died at Sunday's Australian Grand Prix has defended the Albert Park circuit's safety.
Paul Reeve, a fellow Confederation of Australian Motor Sport marshal at turn three, where Beveridge was hit by a wheel from Jacques Villeneuve's British American Racing car after it crashed into a safety fence, said there was nothing anyone could do to prevent the accident.
"I was at turn three, I witnessed it all," said Reeve on a Melbourne radio station. "I've been involved in motor sport for over 20 years. I've worked as a volunteer for a number of promoters at varying circuits around both Victoria and New South Wales and, without any shadow of doubt, I would say the safety facilities that exist at the Albert Park track are some of the best that I've experienced.
"I think that, yes, it was an accident and it should be treated as such, it was tragic. But I don't feel any blame can be laid at the organisers or the corporation for the way that the safety measures are in place. If I didn't feel safe, I wouldn't keep coming back to the track."
Reeve revealed that Beveridge was, in fact, a spectator steward and was standing in front of a group of fans when he was hit by the wheel from Villeneuve's BAR after the Canadian driver had hit the BMW-Williams of Ralf Schumacher and flown through the air into the fence.
Reeve added that his stricken colleague received immediate medical attention. "It's something that we never expect to happen," he said. "But, by our very involvement in the sport, we're aware that these risks exist."