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banner Monday, 5 March, 2001, 15:28 GMT
Malaysian chiefs issue safety pledge
Malaysia Grand Prix
The death of a marshal has stung Malaysia into action
Grand Prix organisers are intent on ensuring the Malaysian Grand Prix progresses safely, following the death of a marshal at the Formula One opener in Australia.

Jacques Villeneuve's BAR and Ralf Schumacher's Williams came together with tragic consequences on the fifth lap at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne on Sunday.

As a result, Malaysian officials say track safety is at the forefront of their plans, ahead of the event which begins next week.

"If there is any need for us to do something to ensure safety on the track, we will take care (of it)," said Sepang circuit general manager Azmi Murad.

Azmi added that he had received no contact from Formula One officials about possible safety measures.

"All the safety procedures have been in place and - I think we are at a very optimal level of safety," he said.

"First and foremost we give top prominence to the safety of the drivers and all of the parties involved on the track."

Changes were made at the Sepang track last year to improve safety, with a protective transparent shield added to the top of the pit wall and a gravel trap at the first turn extended.

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