Turn eight, Baku City Circuit, 2021

Leclerc approves of turn eight kerb changes at scene of 2019 qualifying crash

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc says changes to the Baku City Circuit at the scene of his 2019 qualifying crash will reduce lap times at the track.

The Ferrari driver’s hopes of taking pole position for the last race at the track two years ago ended when he hit the barrier at turn eight during Q2. For this year’s race the apex kerb at the inside of the corner has been replaced with a lower, painted kerb, creating a faster line into the corner.

Leclerc approves of the change, though he does not think the original kerb contributed to his 2019 crash.

“It’s the same for everyone,” he said. “I don’t think it was the reason for the crash, actually. I locked up the front-right on my crash and went into the wall mostly because of this. I don’t think it would have changed much for me whether there was the kerb or not.”

The Ferrari driver said he’s “looking forward” to tackling the revised corner for the first time. “I think it will be quite a bit quicker there because the car will obviously be jumping a lot less and seeing how straight it is, it’s going to be quite nice so I’m looking forward to that part.”

However not all drivers have inspected the changes to the track this weekend. Max Verstappen admitted he hadn’t done a track walk at the circuit.

“I can’t be arsed to walk,” he laughed during today’s press conference. “I have a few more minutes in bed and if I want to know the track, I’ll drive my out-lap a bit slower and look around.”

He said Esteban Ocon had advised him of some of the alterations to the circuit.

“I’ll just brake few metres earlier on the first lap,” Verstappen continued. “Everyone, of course, has a different approach. At one point I was like, I just can’t be arsed to walk any more to see it. I know the track is going left or right at one point. You have your margins in FP1 or whatever, so you try out the laps you do and you will see where you have to go.”

Among other changes which have been made at Baku since its last race are alterations to the barriers at turns two to five, changes to some of the debris fences and the removal of a painted kerb at turn 12.

Pictures: Turn eight changes at Baku

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2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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11 comments on “Leclerc approves of turn eight kerb changes at scene of 2019 qualifying crash”

  1. The slight curbing change won’t make a difference in lap time. Merely a curbing color reduction, nothing else.

  2. Coventry Climax
    3rd June 2021, 13:55

    Nothing would change had there been strict, clear and simple track limit rules all along.
    Cutting that corner means four wheel outside of the track. If that’s forbidden, the other side of the corner is just as close as before.
    Oh well, we’ll see what mr. Masi comes up with, somewhere halfway a session or so.

    1. I don’t think it’s actually possible to cut that turn, the cars are wide enough so that the wall to the white line is less than 2m.

      1. Coventry Climax
        3rd June 2021, 14:58

        Looking at the picture, and/or reading Leclercs words suggests otherwise? But the picture may be distorted, I don’t know.

        1. I had a look at onboards and from previous years the drivers would just go over the kerb at T8 and get as close to the wall as they could.

    2. @Coventry Climax Nothing wrong with the corner apex, zero chance of cutting because it’s narrower than one car width.
      Additionally, no track limits enforcement anywhere on this track because not a single problematic place in this regard.

  3. Max is starting to sound like Kimi ;-)

  4. So, Max and Esteban are talking again after Brazil 2018??

    1. GET RID OF THE WHOLE TRACK FROM THE CALENDAR!!! it’s horribly outdated and cannot handle the size and speed of current formula 1 cars………

    2. Try not to believe the media and make up your own mind.

      1. Try not to keep yapping at me when I talk about Esteban, Antonio, Sebastian and Mick.

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