Turn 7, Baku City Circuit, 2016

Button warns over lack of run-off at Baku

2016 European Grand Prix

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Jenson Button believes there is too little run-off on at least three corners around the Baku City Cirucit.

Turn 8, Baku City Circuit, 2016
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The McLaren driver expressed surprise at the configuration of some corners around the Azerbaijan track given the changes which have been made at other circuits in recent years.

“We’re moving forward on safety in pretty much every circuit we drive on,” Button told Sky at the track on Thursday. “Monaco has improved a lot considering it’s a street circuit and you’re very limited for space.”

“And then you come here and there are probably three corners that don’t have any run-off area, or very limited run-off area. Especially turn seven.”

Button expressed doubt that the corners could be made safer given the lack of room to alter the layout of the course and warned that a car failure, such as a loss of brakes, stuck throttle or wing damage, could cause a serious accident.

“I don’t know really what else to say. They’re not places that you can improve it either because there are buildings in the way.”

“It’s fine if no one hits the barriers there and we’ll have a great race. But if we have a failure or something it’d be very bad. I don’t know what the FIA can do really.”

2016 European Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on “Button warns over lack of run-off at Baku”

  1. Then let Stoffel drive for you.

  2. Jensen already concerned that he may have “no grip”

  3. This might be the only time he comes here so only 1 weekend to get through, maybe forced retirement at the end of the year. Besides with a Honda engine he might not get to do many laps in the race, a stuck throttle with a Honda engine means he may do the same speed as other cars when they are lifting off the throttle.

  4. Well, it’s about time for Button to retire! Real racers doesn’t do that kind of comment about a racetrack! After all, he’s just warming the seat for Vandoorne anyway!

  5. You guys are harsh!

    If there is a crash in one of those corners it will be very, very ugly – will be a multi-car crash in milliseconds. Enjoy your Nascar smash, boys!

  6. I´m no Button fan but come on give him a break, at least he is voicing his opinion and suggesting a safety improvement for the track.

    Also several good racers in the past have commented about the safety of the track or conditions, eg Niki Lauda and they are worth listening to.

  7. If he is concerned about safety then he should not race it. Niki voiced concerns about a certain GP and we all know how that ended. Plus I am 100% sure that Vandoorne will jump at the opportunity.

    1. @mijail How can any of the guys in the field evade racing because of safety concerns? FIA should decide which track is safe or not, but of course, as money sweetens the deal, it’s easy to look somewhere else.

      It’s not the driver’s job, all they can do is complain, and hope they are heard. Heck, they weren’t even heard with the qualy debacle, why would FIA react in any way when so many millions dollars are at stake?

      Button can do nothing but complain. He’ll have to race, because his team is there, the sponsors are there and Bernie would make life impossible to him if he doesn’t race. He just can’t miss it.

      It’s so naive to say he should not race if he’s concerned.

  8. Stunned by the comment section. JB may not be the greatest driver in f1, I might be one of the firsts saying that JB should have left f1 long ago, maybe after year 2, that said I have to defend Button, what he says has nothing to do with the fact that he’s not a great f1 driver. Safety, is excuse enough NOT to criticize Button or anyone else.
    In my view there is a valid argument. This and the Beer deal suggest that f1 is going on a different direction. I wonder how everything will pan out. Motogp is apparently also following F1’s route, racing at the RedBull Ring should not be possible on a motogp bike, it’s not the nature of the corners, for safety reasons bikes need lots of run off and no chicanes, the Ring has no chicanes yet it is tremendously fast and those run off are not enough.

    1. Agreed re. Button’s comments are irrelevant to his racing ability, or his position in F1. He is a member of the driver’s association, and speaks from that standpoint with an intent to influence rather than complain. Statesmanship is one of Jenson’s strong suits.
      Those above, please deal with the issue rather than shoot the messenger!

    2. This. Drivers voicing concerns over safety. I thought that was a non issue for 20 years now.

      But it still seems some people would like more danger for the guys in more danger. Such cowardice there.

      1. Many complain at modern tracks with huge run offs allowing drivers to push track limits without consequence. Now we have a track here which could be challenging and people moan it is unsafe. Button himself said the areas that ideally need more runoff cannot due to there being no space. Tough luck. This track should be celebrated not derided.

  9. This is getting ugly. It is FIA responsibility to provide safety assurance to all tracks being raced. Baku is reportedly not complying to several items on FIA safety standard, but exceptions are made. There should be no exception regarding safety measures. If we had a freak crash here, being a unknown track raced for first time, a lot of bad can happen. I hope we don’t, but if we had another Bianchi situation, this sport can be undone. For FIA and FOM alone, hundreds of million dollar lawsuit can be faced – and unlikely to be won – if that’s situation arised, just because they overlooked their own safety guidelines. Do they really want to be put at that risk, just for meagre money from Azerbaijan?

    1. For 25M revenue…

      Now imagine Nico and Hami tangle at turn 13. Both die and Mercedes pulls out of F1 and launches huge lawsuit.

      Then maybe track would be designed better.

  10. I thought everybody liked “nice guy” JB. Reading the comments, I wonder when the love story ended…

  11. Aside from Buttons comments, the Baku track sets a precedent for what is deemed safe or not by the FIA. Monaco has a “pass” because of its historical importance. Yet here we see that money talks and “Grade 1” circuit status as specified by the FIA is just swept under the rug as removable annoyance.

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