Briton who intruded Singapore F1 track jailed for 6 weeks

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SINGAPORE (AP) A British national who walked into the track while cars were hurtling toward him at about 280 kilometers per hour (175 mph) during Singapore’s Formula One night race was on Tuesday sentenced to six weeks in jail.

Yogvitam Pravin Dhokia, 27, pleaded guilty to committing a rash act that endangered the personal safety of F1 drivers on Sept. 20. He was arrested soon after the intrusion.

It is the first case of track intrusion in Singapore, which has held highly-anticipated F1 night races since 2008 and has a reputation for being tough on visitors and citizens alike who break the law.

Closed-circuit television footage showed Dhokia squeezing his way through a gap in the Marina Bay circuit’s metal fencing, clad in a t-shirt and shorts. He was seen casually strolling against the flow of traffic for a short distance while holding up a camera, before climbing over a trackside barrier to safety.

In sentencing Dhokia, District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt took into account a second charge of criminal trespass that stated he entered the race track with an intent to cause annoyance. The six-week sentence was backdated to Oct. 16 as he had voluntarily spent a period in remand.

He had faced a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a fine of 2,500 Singapore dollars ($1,791).

On Lap 37, eventual race winner Sebastian Vettel was first to raise the alarm over Ferrari’s team radio. “There’s a man on the track! Man on the track!” Vettel screamed, and a safety car was deployed. Dhokia climbed over a barrier was helped to safety by two marshals a few moments later.

Vettel told reporters after the race that the fan’s actions were “pretty crazy” as cars were traveling at around 280 kilometers per hour (175 mph) approaching that corner.

“I had to look again because I wasn’t sure whether I had a problem with my eyesight,” Vettel said. “I think I saw him taking a picture. I hope it was a good one at least, I hope it was in focus.”

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, who was runner-up in the race, said the emergence of the safety car at that point affected his winning chances. “I was tempted to swerve, clip him,” Ricciardo told reporters.

Singapore Grand Prix organizers are considering tighter security for next year’s race, featuring higher fences and more marshals.

Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”