There was chaos and pandemonium on the opening day of the Formula E World Championship in Hyderabad following a security breach that saw vehicular traffic enter the race area of the street circuit.
The first practice session was scheduled to be held from 04:30 PM IST but was delayed by an hour as according to sources, the “police opened the barricades” as daily vehicular movement was at its peak.
But the authorities swung into action and the track was re-barricaded for the practice session to resume.
Multiple sources confirmed to Sportstar about the breach and there was also an altercation between the public and the police. The roads leading to the racetrack have been chock-a-block ever since diversions were brought in and there has been unrest in the public because of long traffic snarls.
“Yes, a breach did happen, and vehicles were on the racetrack, and it was very chaotic. The police removed the barricades and there was vehicular movement on the track. Although higher authorities got involved and the situation was resolved, there is absolutely no coordination between the organisers and the police,” another source told Sportstar.
The incident raises questions about whether the city and the government agencies are equipped to host a street race with multiple diversions. The breakdown in communication will hurt the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) as top Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) officials are miffed with the on-ground organisation.
“This is absolutely shocking. Public and cars on a street circuit. This must be sorted out quickly and this can’t keep happening. We are hoping there won’t be any further interruptions going forward,” an FAI official present told this publication.
Even after the practice session resumed, the lane passing through the media centre circling through the Prasad Cinemas area was flooded with onlookers – cleaning staff and other personnel hired to help FIA officials to conduct the race.
An irate FIA official called in extra police personnel to clear the area. The medical staff on duty were also not happy with the security arrangements as the onlookers were “very close” to the iron barricades, posing a risk to themselves and the drivers.
“We are tired of telling them not to cling to the barricades, but they won’t listen. This is very dangerous, and we can only request. The authorities have to be strict as the cars are racing at a very high speed and it’s a life risk standing close to the barricades,” the official said.