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After dogs caused accident at F1 venue, FIA will investigate track security

5/12/2008

LONDON -- Turkish Grand Prix organizers
could face sanctions after two stray dogs ran onto the Istanbul
track and one was hit by Brazilian Bruno Senna's car during a
support race on Sunday.

"This was a serious lapse in circuit security and safety,"
an International Automobile Federation (FIA) spokesman said on
Monday.

"How could such a thing happen at an almost brand new
Formula One track?

"The FIA Safety Commission will hold a full investigation
into the matter which may then be referred to the world
council," he added.

Asked about possible consequences for the circuit, which
made its grand prix debut in 2005 and is now managed by Formula
One boss Bernie Ecclestone, the spokesman said: "Sanctions
cannot be ruled out at this stage."

Senna, nephew of the three-time Formula One world champion
Ayrton who died in an accident at Imola in May 1994, ran over
one of two dogs on the track during a GP2 race at the Istanbul
Park circuit.

The 24-year-old, who had come over the brow of a hill and
had only a fraction of a second to react, was lucky to escape
serious injury with the impact breaking his front right
suspension.

Had he hit the animal head-on, the consequences could have
been far more serious for the driver.

British Formula One driver Tom Pryce was killed at Kyalami
in the 1977 South African Grand Prix when he came over the brow
of a hill and hit a marshal running across the track carrying a
fire extinguisher.

Formula One race director Charlie Whiting said on Sunday he
would send a report to the FIA.

Australian driver Mark Webber, a director of the Grand Prix
Drivers Association (GPDA), told the Autosport Web site that the matter had to be addressed.

"[The dogs] should not be allowed to get anywhere near
or inside a racing environment," he said. "It is also very
dangerous for the drivers as well and the last thing, which is
the least important, is that it wrecks the racing.

"It is 2008 and I think we should have venues where these
things don't happen," he said.

Sunday's incident was not the first involving dogs on the
track during a Formula One weekend. Practice for the Brazilian
Grand Prix had to be halted in 2004 because of canine
interlopers.