S'pore race may raise security after breach

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton car is seen prior to the start of the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix in Singapore on Sept 20, 2015.
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton car is seen prior to the start of the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix in Singapore on Sept 20, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

SUZUKA (Japan) • Singapore Grand Prix organisers are considering tighter security for next year's race, with higher fences and more marshals, after a man intruded onto the track during last Sunday's Formula One event.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement yesterday that it had received a report from Gabriel Tan, the clerk of the course at the floodlit Marina Bay race.

It welcomed recommendations made by Tan, who established that the British intruder gained access to the track after climbing a 1.1m- high security fence to reach a protected marshal zone.

"The Singapore Grand Prix organisation is currently studying plans to increase security in identified areas," the FIA statement said.

"In the affected area where the intrusion occurred, it is considering plans for the installation of higher spectator fences.

"A substantial increase in the number of marshals in attendance at the event is also being evaluated.

"These marshals would work hand-in-hand with the security personnel in spectator areas."

The report found that the intruder, identified in court documents as Yogvitam Pravin Dhokia, entered the circuit via a designated egress point (EP) - a horizontal slot allowing personnel access to the track - on the Esplanade Bridge.

It said he had taken less than 10 seconds to slide through the opening and onto the track. "The 1.1 metre fence in question is of a similar height to fencing used at a number of other F1 events," the FIA said.

Dhokia crossed the track and walked against the flow of traffic before exiting via another EP where he was apprehended by marshals and handed over to the police.

The report said roughly half the EPs around the circuit were manned by race officials, in common with most other tracks.

The remaining areas and security fences were patrolled by security personnel.

Dhokia, 27, has been charged with committing an "act so rashly as to endanger the personal safety of the drivers involved in the race... by crossing the race track while the race is ongoing".

He faces a possible jail sentence of up to six months and/or a maximum fine of $2,500.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 27, 2015, with the headline 'S'pore race may raise security after breach'. Print Edition | Subscribe