F1 drivers want safety changes to Jeddah’s ‘Suzuka with walls’ layout – RaceFans

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Formula 1 drivers want changes to be made to the Jeddah Corniche circuit to reduce its dangers after the first weekend of racing on the track was marred by mishaps.

The first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was reported twice and saw a series of periods of safety cars and virtual safety cars.

Support races were also disrupted. Sunday’s Formula 2 main race was reduced from 28 to five laps after being delayed due to barrier repairs and was also stopped twice. The first stop happened on the first lap after a violent accident that left a pilot in intensive care.

Both series are set to return to the track in March for the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend.

While F1 drivers have widely praised the quick setup, the potential for accidents was a topic of discussion throughout the weekend. Ahead of the race, Sergio Perez said he feared a “big shunt” would take place. In the race, he was one of three drivers eliminated in the accident which brought the Grand Prix to a halt for the second time.

After the checkered flag fell, several riders agreed that more could be done to make the track safer, especially around its many blind corners at high speed. Their concerns focused on the limited visibility in places and the lack of runoff area.

Several pilots crashed, including the Haas pair

“With the red flags, it’s because there is no room,” said quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel. “It’s an exciting track because there are high speed corners. But I think we rely heavily on the skills that we have, and also on luck, if things go wrong.

“It doesn’t take much, you know. You can’t see anything as you go around, and there have been close calls.

“I think Suzuka is an amazing track, but you wouldn’t do Suzuka with walls. And that’s what they’ve done, more or less, here. So it’s difficult but useless to be so blind for so long.

Nikita Mazepin was unable to avoid George Russell when several pilots swerved to avoid Perez’s crash. The Williams climbed above the Haas halo in the crash.

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Carlos Sainz Jnr attributed the carnage to the nature of the circuit. “These were very clear examples of what the drivers have been saying all weekend,” said the Ferrari driver. “We saw it with Mazepin. This is exactly what this kind of lead generates.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2021
Perez expected a shunt and had one

“There is hardly any space to avoid an accident, no visibility and Nikita couldn’t avoid an accident in front of him, that’s what we’ve been saying since we got here on Thursday. So there are things to learn, analyze, and see for March if we can make everything a little easier.

Sainz’s Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc – who suffered a heavy crash at the end of Friday’s second practice session – also sees the possibility of reducing Jeddah’s dangers.

“It is, of course, difficult, and in some places it can be dangerous,” he said. “It would be nice to revise some parts of the track a bit to make it a bit safer.”

Pierre Gasly admitted that the race had gone “worse” than his expectations before the event. “I wasn’t expecting such a thing, and even at one point I started to think, ‘okay, we’re going to do half the race on VSC or with the full safety car if that keep it up. ‘”

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The AlphaTauri driver wants the track operators to “open up the turns so that we have a little more visibility a little further away, because even during the formation lap or if we have a Safety Car, when you start pushing, you arrive. at such a speed.

Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2021
Much of the trail offers little room for runoff

“[If] the guy behind decided to brake or slow down there, the speed difference is very, very high. So if they can increase the visibility I think that will make things a lot safer for all of us. “

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl acknowledged the concerns expressed by some drivers over the weekend, including his own, but said the risks posed by the track are “manageable”.

“It is clear that with the characteristics of this track, which is in one [way] very exciting, when you listen to the pilots, when they do the first few laps here, it is clear that there is also some risk involved with the walls so close and with the layout of the track as it is here ”, a said Seidl. . “I still think it’s a risk that’s manageable, to be honest,” he added.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2021

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