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F1 2022

The 'dangerous' problem that F1 drivers want to say goodbye to

In an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com, Alexander Wurz – Chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association – explains the leading safety concern that the drivers believe must change.

Verstappen Leclerc Imola
Interview
To news overview © Red Bull Contentpool

Alexander Wurz, Chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, has called for F1 to eliminate sausage kerbs, which he and the drivers believe to be a "dangerous" feature.

The GPDA allows drivers to share their opinions (anonymously) on a range of issues within the sport, and safety is always a key topic.

In an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com, Wurz shared his praise for the current state of Formula 1 in terms of safety measures. However, he acknowleged that a leading concern is that of sausage kerbs.

"At the end of the day, the sport is in an extremely healthy position," Wurz explained.

"Concerns which we had five to 10 years ago. which was that the sport itself is not maximising its potential, that is definitely answered and the direction is very good.

"Now we have to just make sure that, in this phase of [the sport] getting popular, everyone keeps two feet on the ground and realises that we still share the same paddock, we sit in the same boat, we have the same interest."

Wurz calls for change to "dangerous" sausage kerbs

Wurz believes that there is still progress that can be made in terms of safety.

"From the safety perspective, number one would be elimination of the sausage kerbs," the former F1 driver said.

Wurz added that kerbs are not essentially wrong, but that a sausage kerb should not be used to "make a boring chicane interesting".

"I would maybe hope, with learning about the sausage kerbs being dangerous, we can go back to individual kerbs [designed] track by track," he continued.

Sausage kerbs have been a part of crashes in the past, including a huge incident for Alex Peroni at 2019's Formula 3 race at Monza, where his car was launched into the air after hitting a sausage kerb before landing upside down on the tyre wall.

As such, the GPDA hopes to see incidents like this disappear from motorsport as soon as possible.

"Sausage kerbs have to go, as ramps," Wurz added.

"If you're in the apex on the chicane [it's okay], but if you're spinning in the braking zone in whatever direction, you shouldn't have anything which catapults you suddenly into the air. [It's] not at all acceptable."

100 per cent safety cannot be created, says Wurz

Wurz admits that to create an environment without safety risks would be impossible.

"We cannot create an environment which is 100 per cent safe," the Austrain acknowledged.

"It's like the [aviation] industry; you will never have 100 per cent safety because the moment you're up there, you have a consequence if something fails. You fall down.

"In racing, we have the same, but by common sense, we should just make the control mechanisms and the safety networks better.

"It's okay [for a kerb to] destabilise a car, but it's not okay [for it] to change the trajectory, when you're already in trouble."

Wurz cited Rubens Barrichello's huge crash over the 1994 Imola weekend as an example: "This initiated the kerb design changes.

"[It was] very lucky that he survived, [and] very lucky that there was a safety fence already, because back then it was not normal to have safety fences. Otherwise, [the crash] would have killed all the people behind them."

While the GPDA Chairman is pleased with the progress made since then, he feels that a key issue has not yet been resolved.

"On such places, of course, it's good to take away ramps and kerbs, and kerbs should not catapult you," Wurz stated.

"But, with the asphalt zones behind, then [it's] forced that the kerb becomes the decisive separator, and that is a bit of an issue with the thought process."

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