Site logo

Drivers call for Spa safety changes


Weeks after the death of Dilano van t'Hoff, Guanyu Zhou and Charles Leclerc lead the calls for changes at Spa.

The Dutch youngster was killed during a Formula Regional European Championship event in a crash eerily similar to that which claimed the life of Anthoine Hubert four years earlier.

In the wake of van t'Hoff's death, Lance Stroll called for immediate changes and now, ahead of this weekend's Grand Prix, Zhou and Leclerc have voiced their thoughts.

"I think Spa is a nice track to come to," said the Chinese driver, who was a member of the Renault Academy alongside Hubert, "but Eau Rouge, I think for me, it's the right time to make some adjustments to make it slower. Then it's easier for overtaking, easier for racing, as well as safety."

The youngster referred to the temporary chicane that was installed in 1994 in the wake of a spate of high-profile crashes, not least those that claimed the lives of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger at Imola.

"That was actually quite good," he said of the chicane, "it was the first time I saw that video, it was nice to see that, it's a little bit of braking, even talking about two gears downshift.

"It makes a difference between how easy it is to follow," he added, "and anyway you have a DRS chance coming in the second half of the straight when overtaking happens, and it reduces the risk that people take when you arrive there."

"There are some changes that could make a difference," said Leclerc. "First of all, the walls on the straights after Eau Rouge, we should have a bit more space on the left and right. If you lose control of the car, the way it is at the moment, you are bouncing on the walls, and you have a very high chance of finding yourself in the way. I think this is probably a change we should consider in the future."

The Monegasque is also concerned at the blind crest as drivers come out of Raidillon and onto the Kemmel Straight, especially in the wet.

"It's really difficult to put into words what we are seeing, apart from saying we are seeing nothing," he said, "we are not exaggerating when we say we don't see anything. We really don't see anything when it's raining.

"This is a really big problem for Formula 1, for motorsport in general. With any single-seater now, we have quite a bit of downforce, and so there's quite a lot of spray. This causes quite a lot of incidents just because we cannot react to what is in front.

"Easy to say that, much more difficult to find a solution, but I know the FIA is on it and is obviously trying to do its best on that."

With that in mind, the FIA recently trialled wheel arches aimed at reducing spray, however the test proved inconclusive.

The Ferrari driver, who scored his first F1 win here, sadly on the same weekend that Hubert perished, also called on the sport's powers that be to be more considerate of the safety of drivers as opposed to the 'show must go on' attitude of 2021.

"When is it safe to start a race?" he said. "This is another topic for the FIA to look at closely, especially on a weekend like this, when it seems we will have quite a lot of rain throughout the whole weekend.

"To not feel the pressure of starting a race just because we don't have any running, and we could be in that situation this weekend," he warned. "In the end, obvious to say, but safety comes first, and this needs to be the priority.

"As drivers, we shouldn't complain if we don't have any laps because it is not safe to do so, and with everything that has happened."


more news >



galleries >

  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images


or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment



1. Posted by trackrecords, 31/07/2023 7:21

"The problem is not Eau Rouge, and the drivers are fine after hitting the barriers. The problem is the cars spinning/bouncing back into the path of the other cars on the racing line and the stationary spinner being suddenly accelerated from 0 mph to 80+ mph.
Good old catch-fencing used to trap cars brilliantly, the problem being the driver hit by the wooden support posts.
Something akin to the St Devote run-off filled with multiple, loose Recticel blocks might retard spinning cars and trap them.
Or even barriers covered in double-sided adhesive tape?"

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

2. Posted by kenji, 28/07/2023 2:07

"It's very easy to sit in the comfort of my home office and pass judgement but from a very neutral position I still return to the premise that drivers must drive to the 'conditions that exist'. Drivers say that they will still drive to their max which given the conditions is quite stupid. If they feel the need to drive over the safe limit then that is their own decision, after all they are supposed to be the worlds best! When driving in the rain I have often had to pull over and sit it out as well as slow down dramatically if the wipers aren't providing clear vision....It's called driving to the 'conditions'. Continuing to drive into an inpenetrable white fog where there is no vision at all is simply moronic. "

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

3. Posted by Dirt, 27/07/2023 21:16

"They just finished moving the walls back in early 2022 on the driver's left etering Eau Rouge all the way through Radion."

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

4. Posted by Superbird70, 27/07/2023 18:28

"Going too fast, disconnect MGU-K."

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

5. Posted by rambler, 27/07/2023 18:20

"Of course Liberty media wants the race to go ahead they don't want to repay any money. They will pressure the FIA and drivers. But, the FIA officials and Liberty Media bosses aren't the ones risking their lives. How much is a drivers life worth? for Liberty Media a crash is a money maker. Look how many times crashes are replayed.
It should be up to the drivers to decide if it is safe, by secret ballot, if the majority don't want to drive, no race. "

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

6. Posted by Defiant, 27/07/2023 18:15

"Sorry guys, I don't think it should be neutered at all. Even the moving of walls would diminish it. If the heat in the kitchen is too hot, then maybe they should get out.

In era's gone by, they may not have been going as fast as they are today, but they were going as fast as it was possible in that time. The safety back then was even lower so it was arguably even more dangerous, or at the least, as dangerous. How many times has that corner been taken flat out??? millions and millions across all formulas over the years. How many crashes at that particular spot? It's approximately 800 times in one F1 race (assuming a majority of cars did the whole race)."

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

7. Posted by Greg, 27/07/2023 17:09

"Keep the corner, but as Celtic Tiger says let's move the walls back. They could also change the profile of the crest if needed."

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

8. Posted by Celtic Tiger, 27/07/2023 16:17

"I'd hate to see eau rouge be neutered in its challenge as a corner. However, I'm all for moving the walls back, its a good idea. "

Rating: Positive (11)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

Share this page


Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2024. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms