Mark Webber says his race result pales into insignificance after a cameraman suffered a broken collarbone and ribs when he washit by his runaway wheel in the German Grand Prix on Sunday.
Webber lined up third on the grid at the Nürburgring and finished seventh but made all the headlines as a stray wheel collided with cameraman Paul Allen who was taken to hospital by helicopter where he is being kept under observation tonight (Sunday).
At the first round of stops, the Aston Clinton race ace was released before his right-rear wheel had been properly fitted and it bounced down the pit hitting Allen and knocking him to the ground, reportedly breaking his collarbone and ribs.
A statement on the official website of the FIA, the sport’s governing body, said: “During the German GP, an FOM cameraman in pit lane was struck by a loose wheel,” an FIA statement read.
“Paul Allen was hit on the left hand side. Remaining conscious, he was treated at the circuit medical centre and then transported by helicopter to Koblenz Hospital. The Briton has been kept there, under observation.”
A stewards’ investigation into Red Bull’s unsafe release was held after the race and the World Champions were handed a €30,000 fine.
Speaking this evening, a sullen Webber put his recovery to a very respectable points finish into perspective.
He said: “I knew we had lost the tyre in the pit stop of course, but not that someone got hit by it.
“That’s bad and I hope he is okay, that’s the main thing.
“Today was a bit of a nightmare and you want to wake up tomorrow and have another go at it. We had an excellent start and were in a great position leading up to the first stop with Seb, but we lost all of that. We lost a lot of points today and a chance to challenge for the win, but there’s no rewind button now.”
Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, reiterated Webber’s sentiments.
“The most important thing today is that the cameraman who got struck by the tyre does not appear to have suffered any life threatening injuries. It’s a timely reminder that working in the pit lane is dangerous.
“Everyone reacted incredibly quickly and the most important thing is to hear that he seems to be fundamentally okay.
“For Mark, it was a strong recovery drive; he got back on to the lead lap through the pace car and then fought his way back into the points. It’s a great shame that we couldn’t have both cars right up there today, but all credit to Mark for his very determined drive.
“We need to understand what went wrong in that first pit stop for Mark, but as I said, our main concern today is knowing that the cameraman is OK.”