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Monday, 31 July, 2000, 07:36 GMT 08:36 UK
Circuit in trouble over protester
German Grand Prix
There was drama throughout the German Grand Prix
The company which runs the Hockenheim circuit could be fined after a man was allowed to make a dangerous track protest twice during the German Grand Prix.

Just seconds before the start of the formation lap of Sunday's dramatic race, the Frenchman was dragged away from the grid.

But he later managed to cut his way through perimeter fencing to wander along the track before dashing across the circuit seconds before cars hurtled past at 200mph.

Tracks have been fined in the past for allowing spectators to invade the circuit in the immediate aftermath of a race.

Arrested

But governing body FIA could take a harsher view as the protester was allowed to reach the track during the race having previously got within yards of the cars.

The 47-year-old was arrested after being picked up by the safety car but he has now been released after his wife posted bail of 2000 marks (700).


There are no reasons to keep him in investigative custody. Besides, we don't think he will go on the run
  Oskar Gattner of the Mannheim public prosecutor's office
Oskar Gattner, spokesman for the public prosecutor's office in Mannheim said, "There are no reasons to keep him in investigative custody.

"As long as we know his address in France, nothing speaks against it. Besides, we don't think he will go on the run."

He was reported to be upset after claiming he had lost his job with German car giant Mercedes after 22 years due to ill health.

It was the Mercedes-powered McLarens of world champion Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard which suffered most during Sunday's race.

Hakkinen was leading at the time of the interloper's appearance after 25 laps of the 45-lap race but eventually had to settle for second behind Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello. Coulthard was third.


It was obviously very, very dangerous
  Ross Brawn, Ferrari's technical director

"We had flexibility in our strategy, but not sufficient to accommodate the spectator wandering on the circuit and not only costing us the race but also endangering his and the lives of the drivers," said McLaren boss Ron Dennis.

Hockenheimring Gmbh, the company which runs the circuit, has brought a trespassing charge against the man but could also find themselves in the dock with the FIA.

"It is very regrettable that something like this could have happened here," said Gustav Schrank, chairman of the company that runs the circuit.

"We will sit down together with the police and others involved to prevent something like that happening again."

Ross Brawn, Ferrari's Manchester-born technical director, said: "It was obviously very, very dangerous.

"That should never be allowed to happen again.

"The trouble is the public do have access, particularly at a place like this because it is in the forest."

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See also:

31 Jul 00 |  Motorsport
Extraordinary day at Hockenheim
30 Jul 00 |  Motorsport
German GP racewatch
30 Jul 00 |  Motorsport
Furious Schumacher blasts Fisichella
30 Jul 00 |  Motorsport
Irvine spins out of German Grand Prix
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