Nothing we can do: F1 drivers weigh in on safety debate with Spa under microscope

There have been calls for the Spa circuit to be drastically changed to make it much safer

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The safety of Spa-Francorchamps is a major talking point as Formula 1 heads to the Belgian Grand Prix.

Earlier this year, Formula Regional driver Dilano van ‘t Hoff was killed in a multi-car crash at the top of Raidillon, not too far away from where Anthoine Hubert lost his life in a Formula 2 crash in 2019.

Many of the F1 drivers addressed the topic on Thursday ahead of the third sprint weekend of the year with Sergio Perez reminding everyone that it’s just as much about conditions as it is the track itself.

“It’s just important to consider it, especially with the race conditions,” Perez told the media ahead of the Belgian GP.

“Visibility can be really poor, so we are in the hands of a race director. Nothing we can do now, so we will just fully trust him.”

Changes can be made

Valtteri Bottas is in agreement with Perez that it is down to the FIA, not the drivers, to make the track as safe as possible even with Spa being the most dangerous on the calendar based on the past decade.

“I think we rely obviously a lot on FIA, and decisions being made, whether it’s about conditions and stuff and a track has been like, it’s been almost the same,” Bottas added.

“Some tracks are more dangerous than others and especially if there’s a bit of weather at it. But yeah, obviously visibility is a big one here if it’s raining, but that’s when someone else needs to control the drivers that can be based on the race or not, you know, to make sure that nothing happens.”

Charles Leclerc, who won his first F1 race at this track on the weekend Hubert, a lifelong friend, was killed, does want changes made to the track, especially on the Kemmel Straight where the barriers are very close to the live track.

“I think there are some changes that can make a difference,” Leclerc added. “First of all, the walls on the straights I think will have a bit more space on the left and right if you lose control of the car.

“I think the way it is done at the moment you are bouncing on the walls and you have very high chances of finding yourself in the way.

“And the two biggest problems after that is visibility. It’s really difficult to put into words what we are seeing but we are not exaggerating when we say we don’t see anything.

“We really don’t see anything when it’s raining. And this is a really big problem for Formula 1 for motorsport in general, any single-seaters now we have quite a bit of downforce.”

Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis is a motorsport journalist with experience working in BTCC. He is the resident IndyCar correspondent for Total-Motorsport.com and a top class F1 writer.
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