Vettel: No concerns over switch to high-speed Outer track after Grosjean crash

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In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel says he has no concerns about Formula 1 using a faster track layout for its second race in Bahrain following Romain Grosjean’s crash last weekend.

What they say

Vettel was asked whether he would have preferred to race on the grand prix track again instead of the Outer circuit this weekend:

I don’t think it changes anything in this regard. I don’t think there’s any connection to be made with Romain’s accident last weekend.

It’s good to see, obviously, that we have the red flag and then immediately precautions were taken on that spot. And I think for this week as well around the track there were some more precautions taken. So that’s the least you can do in that short amount of time.

But racing here, I think, doesn’t expose us to anything extra just because the track layout is different.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Turn three barrier, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
New turn three tyre barrier
Is the tyre barrier at the scene of Grosjean’s crash a sensible addition?

I think this is a must for Armco that is angled in towards the track like the one Grosjean hit. Armco does a good job generally of dissipating energy down the barrier – which is why they are use to line straights with.

There is some concern with formula cars splitting the barrier but again it only split (and not all the way) with a huge direct impact in Grosjean’s crash. Normally with a Armco lined straight its impossible to hit it perpendicular (even if you do your direction of travel is still down the barrier – think those funny-looking spins where the nose gets wiped).

We have seen a large number of Armco strikes down the years but these are all side/along the barrier impacts – thankfully F1 got away with one here but I think all protruding Armco barriers will need this or similar treatment.
Gavin Campbell

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  • 17 comments on “Vettel: No concerns over switch to high-speed Outer track after Grosjean crash”

    1. Really cool to see the unseen parts of Monza.

    2. My concern with the tyre barrier in front of the Armco is that if we see an identical crash to the one we did last week (highly unlikely, I know), would the driver then be stuck under the tyres and not be able to get out in the case of a fire the way Grosjean was able to.

      1. If the same impact was into a properly constructed tire barrier instead of the armco barrier the car would not have split in half and caught fire.

        I expected to see tecpro barriers put up.

        1. @ryanoceros I agree with you on Tecpro. Perhaps by next year’s Bahrain GP.

        2. If the same impact was into a properly constructed tire barrier instead of the armco barrier the car would not have split in half and caught fire.

          This is my thinking, too. A large amount of the impact energy would be absorbed by the tecpro & tyres. This makes a car splitting the armco behind it much less likely, and reduces the amount of energy in the car to rip it in half.

          There are no perfect ways to make F1 (or any motorsport) completely safe. However, a tyre barrier there seems a sensible addition.

      2. Burti Spa 2001. In that case luckely no fire.

        1. That was savage accident. did he ever race in F1 again? I think that was one of the incidents that started the trend towards replacing gravel traps with tarmac run offs, he really lost very little speed over the gravel and the impact was horrific. from memory he suffered terrible bruising but no broken bones, which is a miracle really having crashed at Blanchimont in the way he did. the g-forces on his brain and other organs doesn’t really bear thinking about too much!

          1. someone or something
            4th December 2020, 13:10

            did he ever race in F1 again?

            Nope. But he did return as a test driver for Ferrari for a few seasons, back when that actually entailed driving the car.

            About the g-forces, I couldn’t find any reliable data, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Grosjean’s impact was harder despite the slower speed. Burti’s deceleration happened over at least 5 metres (tyre barrier at an angle, and the armco wobbled quite a bit instead of being completely rigid). However, in Grosjean’s crash, there was virtually no elasticity going on. He hit the armco, the car split in half, the survival cell got stuck in the heavily deformed barrier. That’s 2, maaaaybe 3 metres.
            I used a deceleration calculator with these (very broad) assumptions as well as the estimated impact speeds of 280 vs. 225 kph, and according to that, Grosjean’s deceleration must’ve been at least 10% higher on average.

    3. With the tyre wall there a car could bounce across the track if it hits in a shallow, glancing angle.

      I thought they would go for tec-pro to be honest

    4. The cars will run with a lower downforce setup on this GP, so cornering speeds and acceleration out of the corner will be lower/later; hence there will not be a repeat of the Grosjean incident, at least not at the same speed.

    5. Why is the barrier angled in the first place? What’s stopping them having that armco completely straight, and just moving barrier on the opposite site of that service road further back to still allow the necessary room for recovery vehicles etc? No point in putting forward the argument of “well we don’t expect these kinds of accidents on the straights” if the barriers themselves don’t run parallel to the tarmac.

      1. There is a service road behind the fence. It always been like that since the beginning.

        1. @jeff1s I know but I’m just wondering if anything would stop them from simply modifying that part of the service road to allow the front barrier to be straight instead of angled.

          1. I’m sure they can. It’s desert after all, so they surely get enough space.

      2. Exactly what I was thinking. Keep the foremost barrier parallel with the track, with rear barrier curving inwards to create the service exit. This would significantly reduce the risk of a perpendicular collision.

    6. Here too. Seems so obvious. Just have the other wall turn inward.

      1. @ Ninjenius point above

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