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Lauda critical of race stoppage

NEWS STORY
07/07/2014

Three-time world champion Niki Lauda has criticised the decision to delay yesterday's Grand Prix whilst barriers were replaced following Kimi Raikkonen's crash.

The Austrian, still bearing the scars of his near fatal accident at the Nurburgring thirty-eight years ago, and now Non-Executive Chairman at the Mercedes F1 team, believes the hour-long delay to repair the barriers is indicative of the over regulating of the sport.

"F1 is over-regulated," said the Austrian. "Stopping the race for an hour is wrong and is bad for the sport. It's all crazy. To stop the race for one hour because one of the barriers is damaged is ridiculous.

"Kimi made a mistake and hit the guard rail low. I guarantee no one will hit that spot again," he continued. "There are too many rules. A lot of people will go home or switch off the TV. It is not good for F1."

In fact, the accident, which was soon trending on Twitter, probably attracted some viewers, but by the same token, what with yesterday being Men's Final day at Wimbledon and the second leg of the Tour de France in England - it passes near Pitpass HQ today - probably did cause a few viewers to switch, though if they did they missed the mother of all battles between Alonso and Vettel not to mention a 'home win' for Lewis Hamilton.

Raikkonen, is understood to have suffered no more than bruising to his knees and ankle, amazing when one considers the impact of the crash to have been around 47G.

That said, we cannot help feel that in this particular case, Lauda has a point.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by NickK, 11/07/2014 13:07

"Maybe they could have covered the slightly damaged armco barrier with one of those moveable impact cushions, as used at some tracks such as Monaco. A 10 minute safe quick fix. "

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2. Posted by karel, 09/07/2014 14:01

"I believe that Niki is more then right. It's rediculous these days, F1 is overregulated on every level.
Finaly somebody who dares to speak out what a lot of people think."

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3. Posted by hodgledog, 08/07/2014 8:01

"wimbeldon? tour de france? where they on? i was busy waiting for the f-1 race. i just don't have time for secondary sports."

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4. Posted by gturner38, 08/07/2014 4:10

"Silverstone did exactly what is done at Le Mans and was done twice last year at the Canadian GP. You can't keep racing and cross your fingers hoping that spot doesn't get hit again. It delayed a practice session in Montreal and resulted in hours of running behind the safety car at La Sarthe, but who in their right mind wants to be the person to say, "He's in the hospital because we had to stay on schedule.""

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5. Posted by The stogie, 08/07/2014 1:02

"Memo to Silverstone staff - the next time this happens do what ALL other racing facilities do - put three or four posts behind the damaged Armco. A complete rebuild was NOT necessary."

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6. Posted by bfairey, 08/07/2014 0:16

"I dont like Lauda but he is right."

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7. Posted by White Lightning, 07/07/2014 15:20

"I think the maxim we need to remember here is "better safe than sorry."

If Kimi - a master of car control - can lose it on that rain gully, anybody can. If that barrier is only marginally weaker than the accepted tolerances to which it's manufactured, we're looking at injury or tragedy.

I'd rather wait all day for the race to restart than start it with obvious safety deficiencies."

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8. Posted by RDFox, 07/07/2014 14:48

"Can't help but look at this from a USican standpoint, as usual. Over here, whenever a crash barrier is damaged to the point of being compromised, we either remain at full-course caution or go to a red flag until it's repaired, on the grounds that if one driver hit the fence in that spot, it's *possible* that another one could. (Remaining under full-course caution is more for repairing tire barriers at road courses and replacing the styrofoam bundles in SAFER barriers at ovals; the red flag is used any time there's got to be major work like metal repairs or replacing a section of concrete barrier, or any time that the catchfence is compromised.)

Minor barrier damage, like a section of Armco barrier that's somewhat flattened but otherwise intact, or a minor gouge in a concrete retaining wall, will generally be ignored until after the race. However, anything that holes a barrier or misaligns a seam between two sections of it requires fixing before the race can resume, on safety grounds (as the edge of the barrier poses an impalement hazard to drivers); if the catchfence above the barriers is compromised in any way, the race is immediately red-flagged until it's repaired (to avoid possible liability suits if a spectator is injured by debris). From what I saw, there was a small area where Kimi's car did punch a hole through the Armco; this meant that if another car had hit that spot, it could have peeled back a large section of guardrail by "hooking" the edge of the hole with its bodywork, both resulting in a major repair job to replace several meters of barrier, and having a good chance of impaling the driver. Thus, from a Yank's perspective, where we're used to delays to fix safety barriers, the stewards made the right call in halting the race to fix the Armco (and the track workers did a spectacular job of getting it done quickly; an hour's delay to fix a section of Armco barrier is about the quickest I've seen)."

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9. Posted by VC10-1103, 07/07/2014 14:22

"He has a point. Had the barrier damage occurred without a race stoppage to remove a damaged car would they have stopped the race to fix them?"

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