bmw12 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix - in the Formula BMW Pacific paddock

I was lucky enough to be able to get into the support paddock area on the Friday during preparations for the opening practice session of the Formula BMW Pacific series, and watched the drivers suiting up while the teams prepared the cars to go out on track.

bmw10 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix - in the Formula BMW Pacific paddock

Many of these photos have been heavily cropped – I was further away than it looks!

bmw11 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix - in the Formula BMW Pacific paddock

As the crowds grew in this area as the day progressed security became a problem. Many spectators (ignorant locals and stupid tourists alike) could not contain themselves from getting in the way in their rush to get a closer look.

bmw4 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix - in the Formula BMW Pacific paddock

When race cars are being pushed out of support paddock garages into the assembly area their engines are not running and it can be surprisingly quiet. You have to know what is happening and be able to discipline yourself to watch what is going on before determining if it is safe and reasonable to get closer.

bmw13 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix - in the Formula BMW Pacific paddock

There were no FIA spectator or track marshalls in the area (the support paddock is not their responsibility) and the local internal security staff had no idea what to do in managing the spectators. The placement of barriers defining safe spectator viewing areas was inadequate and often incomplete, and the barriers separating viewing areas from paths taking people to different corners mostly did not exist. Of course most people behaved accordingly; no barrier meant no reason not to get closer.

bmw3 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix - in the Formula BMW Pacific paddock

By Saturday a barrier had been installed and some of the National Guard / Police officers walking around the track were acting as backup for the confused security staff as the situation was out of control: it was a great nuisance to the teams as well as a genuine safety concern.

bmw2 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix - in the Formula BMW Pacific paddock

On the flight home I was told by one of the senior CAMS officials who managed the race that the inadequate security fencing and failure of security staff in the support paddock area resulted in theft from the team garages.

bmw1 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix - in the Formula BMW Pacific paddock

Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix – in the Formula BMW Pacific paddock

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