Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2021

“Leave Eau Rouge as it is” says Hamilton after crashes

2021 Belgian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Lewis Hamilton says Spa’s signature Eau Rouge corner should remain as it is despite calls for changes in response to a series of crashes.

However his championship rival Max Verstappen welcomed the circuit’s plans to alter the run-off at the corner before next year’s race to improve safety.

The high-speed corner and subsequent climb through Raidillon has been the scene of two heavy crashes already this weekend. Six W Series drivers crashed during their qualifying session yesterday. During F1’s qualifying session Lando Norris crashed heavily and has been taken to hospital for a precautionary X-ray.

F1 drivers have been shown plans for changes to the circuit next year. While the layout is expected to remain unchanged, some of the run-off areas will be altered. “The changes I saw yesterday which are going to happen at the end of the year – so for us next year – I think they look very good,” said Verstappen.

“It is a very fast corner and when you go through it everything is fine. Of course the problem is when the barrier is so close and one person hits the barrier, it’s very easily that the car bounces back onto the track and onto the racing line and then you can collect another car.

“If it happens a little bit later, you go over the crest, it’s blind as well – I think as it was in the Spa 24 Hour race with the GT3 cars there was also a massive crash.

“I do think with the changes that are being made it will be a lot better. Racing is never going to be fully safe, everyone knows that, but of course there are a few things around that corner which can be helped and they are doing that so I think it’s going to be a lot better.”

However Hamilton said the only thing which should be changed at the corner is the bump which has developed since last year.

“I think they’ve just got to get rid of the bump and then leave Eau Rouge as it is,” said the Mercedes driver. “But they’ll do what they do. I don’t feel they need to spend the money.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 Belgian Grand Prix

Browse all 2021 Belgian Grand Prix articles

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

22 comments on ““Leave Eau Rouge as it is” says Hamilton after crashes”

  1. Good points by him.

    1. Disagree. The barrier / run off needs improvement. Even if it’s only to put tech pro there instead of tyres. But ideally to move that left hand side barrier back further.
      I only agree that the track itself (ie: between the two white lines) shouldn’t change.

      1. So… change the run off areas and barriers, but do not change the corner… leave the corner as it is, it’s legendary.

      2. @eurobrun Not much space for extending/altering runoff area.
        One thing I’ve thought about is driving through the grass, i.e., the track going perfectly straight without any steering wheel movements, although this wouldn’t really make a difference in the runoff area room.

    2. I presume you’re talking about Hamilton as per the title of the article?
      If you’re talking about Verstappen, then I do agree with his view.

  2. Yeah. Leave the track as it is. Just add or remove anything necessary outside the track to make it saver.

  3. Max’ analysis seems spot on.

  4. 100% agree with Lewis there. Leave it as it is!

  5. I’m fine with them altering/improving the runoff as long as they leave the actual corner as it is.

    With maybe just as little as 3-4m of extra space at the top of the hill on the left I think most of the really serious accidents seen recently would be avoided.

  6. No one is saying change the corner tho, as far as I’ve seen. Just change the run offs and position / angle of barriers, make it safer.

    1. @fer-no65 Easier said than done because of limited surrounding space.

  7. Indeed, at least put in better barriers to avoid card bouncing back onto the track. There are much better mechanisms than old tires and a rubber sheet. Alternatively, put in something to discourage shortcuts across asphalt.

    I agree the track/corner doesn’t need changing, it’s the areas outside of the track.

  8. The accidents this weekend were caused by the weather. Therefore, don’t change the track, just the run off area.

    1. There have been worse accidents in the dry though. The corner is a ticking time bomb, so the governing bodies will need to do something, somehow to avoid these scary crashes.

  9. Yep – I’m with him on this.

    Racing drivers are admired and respected because they push the limits in hard to handle cars at silly speeds.
    If we start eliminating the fast risky bits then we will end up with a 90 minute sprint along a mile wide straight road in a desert somewhere.

    Actually I have seen some drivers who would still manage to crash even then …..

    1. So what is your point then? Motorsport is dangerous so let’s make sure it stays dangerous? The FIA has saved many lives over the years with safety progress. Alonso last week did a demo lap of lemans track and one of the first things he said was the track would need much more improved safety of F1 is to ever race there.

  10. Eau Rouge is just the left hand kink at the bottom of the hill, which has had no incidents for years.

    It’s radillon that has all the issues.

    Pity very few people know that fact

    1. Is it really that important to know?

      1. No, but then the f1 fanbase tends to be pretentious about how knowledgeable it is so its a bit hypocritical

  11. Fully agreed, sure you can adjust barriers but don’t change the corner itself, also gotta make sure these changes aren’t the start of wider changes at what are few iconic corners. This new era of fans with Netflix moan too much on Twitter, everyone’s too sensitive & forgotten the risk element that makes motorsport what it is.

  12. The corner has not too long ago killed a driver and maimed others because of a poor run-off, and Hamilton doesn’t agree with plans to alter the run-off to improve safety there?

    But I guess it’s to be expected from him as he was against the halo and even the better fireproof suits.

  13. I totally agree with Hamilton, which is something very unusual. Unfortunately, the FIA and Liberty only care about their own image, asking for the opinion of the drivers is a charade

Comments are closed.