Mark Webber made a routine pit stop at the end of the eighth lap during the 2013 German Grand Prix, but no one could have predicted what would happen next.
The crew apparently had a problem attaching the right-rear tire during a change and wasn’t able to communicate the issue to the driver.
He sped off and soon saw his detached wheel spiraling into the pit lane, right toward other crew, spectators and—unfortunately—an unaware cameraman.
The stray tire went careening past a number of personnel who were agile enough to avoid it, but soon struck Paul Allen—an unsuspecting camera operator who had his focus on the track.
Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) released a statement shortly after Allen was hospitalized, as per Luke Smith of MotorSportsTalk:
During the German GP, an FOM cameraman in pit lane was struck by a loose wheel. Paul Allen was hit on the left hand side. Remaining conscious, he was treated at the circuit medical centre and then transported by helicopter to Koblenz Hospital.
James Galloway and Mike Wise of Sky Sports reported that Red Bull, the racing company and sponsor of Webber, was fined €30,000 for the crew’s “unsafe release from a pit stop.”
They also noted that Allen suffered a broken collarbone and broken ribs in the incident. He is fortunate to escape with just that, as the tire seemed to roll up his entire body and bounce off his head before ricocheting in another direction.
The race eventually went on, as Webber’s car was retrieved by mechanics and eventually refitted with a new, stable tire after he was down a lap. He would go on to finish in seventh place.