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Drivers safety barrier concerns ignored

NEWS STORY
08/05/2022

Following their crashes, Carlos Sainz and Esteban Ocon say that calls to the FIA for changes to the safety barriers were ignored.

With every practice session interrupted by at least one red flag, it was anticipated that qualifying would feature more of the same. As it happens, there were no stoppages, however it is widely felt that today's race will witness numerous incidents.

On Friday, Carlos Sainz spun off into the barriers at Turn 14 in an incident that peaked at 47g. The following day, in an almost carbon copy of the Spaniard's crash, Ocon hit the barriers at Turn 17 in a clash that peaked at 51g.

Having spoken to fellow drivers at Friday's driver briefing Sainz says that the FIA was asked to replace the current concrete barrier with the impact-absorbing Tecpro version but the call went unheeded.

"I'm sorry to be critical but I told the FIA yesterday that my crash in second gear shouldn't feel that hard, but today my neck was a bit in pain," Sainz told Sky Sports after qualifying.

I told them 'Let's put Tecpro there' because it's a very hard concrete wall."

Such was the impact of Ocon's off the Alpine suffered a cracked chassis and consequently the Frenchman was unable to take part in qualifying. In the aftermath of the crash, the cockpit warning light was activated by the impact, necessitating a trip to the circuit's medical centre for a precautionary examination.

"The impact has been so hard in comparison to what it should have been," said Ocon. "We discussed it with Carlos yesterday, with the race directors, to say that we should probably put a Tecpro barrier there and it hasn't been listened to.

"Carlos said the impact was way too big for what it should have been," he continued. "Today it felt huge, the impact. It's probably the biggest shunt of my career, to be fair.

"That is not acceptable," he added, "and the FIA should push harder for our safety. Yesterday Carlos got hurt, I got hurt today as well.

"The FIA should push harder for our safety. The important thing is that we're able to race, and I will be able to race as well. When a professional driver to the calibre of Carlos, racing for Ferrari, is saying something like this, I think the minimum is that it should be taken into consideration, and do the best possible to make a change," said the Frenchman.

"There was damage to the cars but that's not why we put in Tecpro," a spokesperson for the FIA subsequently told Reuters, noting that while the drivers concerns had been noted, following an inspection of the existing barriers it was decided that, from a safety perspective, no changes were necessary.

Meanwhile, the crackdown on jewellery, watches and non-conforming underwear continues.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Miami, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by meatball, 10/05/2022 16:35

"no barrier but you have to take out that nose stud - that'll make everyone safer."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Roli, 08/05/2022 11:29

"The FIA is more worried about jewellery than driver safety. To say that "from a safety perspective, no changes were necessary" is just putting their head in the sand (sorry Miami asphalt)"

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by ian_w, 08/05/2022 11:16

"What is the "jerk rate" (rate at which an object's acceleration changes with respect to time) of a nose stud during a 51 g impact?
What is the jerk rate of the FIA?"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by Wokingchap, 08/05/2022 9:36

"Greg...i agree completely. the danger of the concrete around this circuit was obvious some days ago. FIA attitude is outrageous."

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5. Posted by Greg, 08/05/2022 9:04

"FIA. For safety aspect the concrete is fine. 51g on the body. No problem. Wearing studs. Big problem. Ban from racing maybe or large fine. Different attitude to safety completely. Yes jewelry may hinder but a 51g impact , what does that do to the brain etc "

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