Motor racing-Celebrating F1 team members told to stay off pitwall fence

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Formula One teams have been warned they risk punishment if personnel climb pitwall fences to celebrate as their drivers take the chequered flag.

Race director Niels Wittich reminded the teams in his Australian Grand Prix notes on Thursday that the rules forbid climbing on the pitwall debris fence "at any time".

He also highlighted the article in the sporting code that states any team breaching the ban will be reported to the stewards.

Formula One fans have become used to seeing mechanics and others leaving the garages to climb the fence and cheer podium finishers as they cross the line on the last lap.

Aston Martin and Red Bull team members did so in Saudi Arabia, a fast street circuit with metal catch fences, on March 19 as Red Bull finished one-two for the second race in a row and Fernando Alonso was again third.

Infringements are unlikely at Melbourne's Albert Park where thick glass panels are in place along the pitlane to give fans a better view.

The sporting code says "access to the pit lane should be exclusively reserved during practice and races for those persons specially authorised and having a specific job to do.

"Team personnel are only allowed in the pit lane immediately before they are required to work on a car and must withdraw as soon as the work is complete."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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