Track defends efforts to keep stray dogs away
Istanbul Park authorities defended their safety measures on Wednesday after a stray dog was run over on the track during a Turkish Grand Prix support race at the weekend.
However, they could not guarantee that the problem would not happen again.
Brazilian Bruno Senna, nephew of the late three-time world champion Ayrton Senna, hit and killed one of two dogs on the track during a GP2 support race before Sunday's Formula One grand prix at Istanbul Park.
The 24-year-old was fortunate to escape injury and the incident prompted an enquiry by the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA), which raised the risk of possible sanctions.
"This was a serious lapse in circuit security and safety," an FIA spokesman said. "How could such a thing happen at an almost brand-new Formula One track?"
Istanbul Park Organizasyon A.S., the circuit entity controlled by Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone since local organizers were fined $5 million in 2006 for a podium controversy, said they had done everything they could.
"We take very seriously the matter of track safety, we took all possible measures to manage the problem and we cooperated with the FIA race director throughout the grand prix," organizers said.
"We regret the incident involving Bruno Senna's car and we are far from complacent about it but, with the best will in the world, it isn't possible to eradicate the problem altogether."
The authorities said the problem had nothing to do with the newness of the circuit and everything to do with location, with street dogs endemic in Istanbul and surrounding areas.
"Unfortunately they are more noticeably prevalent at the circuit during the grand prix week, attracted we think by the various catering units that competitors bring with them," they said.
"As in past years, the circuit operator took as many precautions as possible to police the [2.5 million square meter] circuit and its 8 [kilometer] perimeter with a team of vets on site to catch any dogs and to relocate them.
"But this is of itself a dangerous task because some of these dogs are feared to carry rabies and appropriate precautions need to be taken."
The animals had also become more adept at avoiding the humane traps set out for them than in previous years.
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