June 30, 2016 / 10:42 PM / a year ago

Fan to wave chequered flag at Austrian GP

SPIELBERG, Austria (Reuters) - A lucky race fan will wave the chequered flag at the end of Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix in a departure from Formula One convention.

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg takes the chequered flag to win the Austrian F1 Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring circuit in Spielberg, Austria, June 21, 2015. REUTERS/Valdrin Xhemaj/Pool

Race promoters have run a competition at the Red Bull-owned circuit involving photographs uploaded from the fan village, with one individual selected to wave the flag as the winner crosses the line.

Previously only VIPs have had the honor of taking the place of the race official, sometimes with unintended results.

Brazilian soccer great Pele famously reacted too late when Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher won at Sao Paulo’s Interlagos circuit in 2002, brandishing the flag instead as the later finishers appeared.

“I think it’s awesome that a fan gets to basically finish the race for us in Austria,” said Red Bull’s Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo.

“If I was a kid and I got the opportunity to do that, I’d be blown away.”

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis

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