Schumacher describes Jeddah crash


Mick Schumacher has described the qualifying crash that put him out of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and which he hopes will lead to further modifications of the Jeddah track.

Having made it through Q1, things were looking good for the Haas driver as he and his teammate continue to benefit from a revival from the American outfit and its engine partner.

However, the session was red flagged when the youngster crashed heavily at Turn 11, his car sliding along the concrete barrier to Turn 12, after the German first lost control at Turn 10.

"It seems like we had a small slide going through Turn 9, which then upset obviously the temperatures in the tyre, but also positioning," explained Schumacher.

"Then coming towards the kerb, it basically was just that I think 20-30cm wider than I wanted to be, and that meant that the rear tyre jumped over the kerb," he continued.

"At that time, the car bottomed out, because these days the cars are so low, that's the moment we touch a kerb, which is as high as it is here, so we lose contact to the ground. That means there's nothing holding us back from spinning.

"I saw a few other guys and other teams had the same or similar issue, except for them, they were able to catch it. In that case, I wasn't," he admitted.

Following complaints from the drivers last year, modifications have been carried out, but Schumacher, like his colleagues, believes more needs to be done.

"There's still some stuff we need to revise, particularly in that corner," said the German. "The way the kerb comes back to the track, you know, caught a few drivers out, not only in F1 but also in other categories. It's something that we as Formula 1... I think we'll have to have a look at it."

Though the German remained in his car for a worrying amount of time before being lifted out of it, shortly after, before being airlifted to hospital for further precautionary checks, he was seen smiling and talking.

Next morning he was back at the track, and was fully prepared to race - even though his entry had since been withdrawn - but the car was too badly damaged and the team didn't have the spare parts available.

"This just shows the safety of these cars these days," he said, "to be able to walk away from this, I think twenty years back from here, people wouldn't have been able to do that.

"It's interesting because most of the time when you have an accident, or when something is going wrong, time changes a bit, like it feels a bit slower," he added. "I saw the wall coming towards me, I knew I could prepare for impact and stuff.

"I felt ready," he said, when asked if he felt able to race. "The reasons for not driving are car preservation and just parts, so that we are sure that we are able to race in Melbourne."

According to team boss Guenther Steiner, the bill for the damage is around $1m.

"The cost is pretty high because all the suspension is gone, except the front left," said the Italian. "I think there is still something on there... the rest is just carbon powder.

"The chassis itself doesn't seem to be broken," he added, "the side infrastructure yes, but you can change them.

"Obviously we need to do a proper check on the chassis but it looks like it is not too bad to be honest. "The engine also... I was told from Ferrari, seems to be okay. The battery pack as well. But all the rest is broken!"

Asked the cost of the damage, he admitted: "I don't know money-wise, but between the gearbox, the whole bodywork is gone, radiators are gone... $500,000 to $1 million I would say."

Of course, this comes at a time the team has lost its title sponsor.

"There's a nominal amount," he said, referring to the money set aside for such incidents, "but in a racing team, you can never stick to your budget like in a normal commercial business, because you have this risk.

"You have got obviously a contingency there," he continued. "But if you have two or three like this: pretty quick your contingency is not there anymore. It's a loss. So you just need to manage. Obviously, I hope we don't have a lot more of them."

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Published: 30/03/2022
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