George Russell, Williams, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2021

FIA right to replace potentially “dangerous” kerbs – Russell

2021 F1 season

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George Russell welcomed the FIA’s move to replace the kerbs used at some corners in recent races, citing crashes in junior series which left drivers with injuries.

The sausage kerbs at the exit of turn one at the Circuit of the Americas were replaced during the United States Grand Prix weekend after incidents at the corner. W Series driver Fabienne Wohlwend was launched into the air when she hit one of the kerbs during a race on the morning of the grand prix.

Rival Abbie Eaton was unable to take part in the race after suffering a compression fracture of her T4 vertebrae. Eaton said she suffered the injury after hitting a sausage kerb.

“[I] ran wide and went over one of the huge sausage kerbs that launched me into the air giving me a compression fracture at T4 vertebrae,” she wrote on social media. Not ideal.

“Also found out one of the F4 drivers also did the same and has the exact same injury. Ridiculous! No need for them at all.”

Start, Circuit of the Americas, 2021
Drivers ran wide at turn one after ‘sausage kerbs’ were removed
Russell, a director of the Grand Prix Drivers Association, said the kerbs should not be used if they present a risk to drivers. “The kerbs are put there to try and limit the track limits but if it comes at the expense of injuries and potential life-changing injuries, then that’s unacceptable,” he said. “So there needs to be a better solution and not even a better compromise, just a solution that is not dangerous. But it is never easy.”

He backed the decision to change the kerbs at the Austin circuit and pointed out a kerb contributed to another crash during a Formula Regional Europe race at Monza the following weekend involving Dino Beganovic and David Vidales.

“Globally this is something F1 and the FIA really need to look into because we saw another pretty dangerous incident in the Formula Regional in Monza,” said Russell. “And so this is something the GPDA are really pushing hard to make improvements because I don’t know what the exact injuries were of these drivers, but I believe somebody fractured their back and this is unacceptable from such a simple off.”

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Further kerbs were removed from the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez during the Mexico City Grand Prix weekend between turns one and three, and at turn eight. Speaking at the circuit, FIA F1 race director Michael Masi pointed out the design of the kerbs varies from track to track, and the suitability of each is determined according to the circumstances.

“Having had a look at here at turn one-two on one basis and having a look at that scenario, it was determined case-by-case,” he said. “So the rest of the year we’ll look at them case-by-case where they are.

“The one at turn eight was a very simple one because of the speed of the corner and so forth. Having a look at the configuration of turn one-two and the way its grass everything else, it was determined to remove them and that’s what happened on Thursday.”

“You need to consider everything on a case-by-case basis, as we’ve always said,” Masi explained. “They’re all very different styles.

“What we’ve got in Austin versus what we had here are two completely different beasts. So you just need to look at them on a case-by-case, where they are, how it works and look at the whole scenario.”

2021 Formula Regional Europe Monza race two crash

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10 comments on “FIA right to replace potentially “dangerous” kerbs – Russell”

  1. I’m surprised it’s taken that long to be honest

    The sausage curbs first appeared and back then drivers were sayy how potentially dangerous they were and it was surprising that they didn’t remove the curbs after that massive GP3 crash at Spa where the driver was launched about 10 feet in the air. Since then we had a crash in Macau, Monza and COTA Before the FIA has decided they are a bad idea even though people been saying that for 10+ years

  2. Jonathan Parkin
    10th November 2021, 14:16

    I’m saying this so much it’s like a drum beat, but Grass and Gravel

    It provides not only a natural boundary to the race track, but also on the case of gravel a potential cause of retirement if you go into it

    I know there are safety implications but drivers are still hitting the barriers in an incident even with tarmac on the road. And are fracturing their backs because of sausage curbs

    And also if I’m being honest, it’s more aesthetically pleasing to look at. Paul Ricard in it’s current state with its Day-Glo run offs and 25 million layouts make it the ugliest racing track in the history of the sport. It would be so much better if the circuit was just the F1 layout with grass and gravel

    1. Indeed. Grass on the outside it T1 at COTA would be all that is needed. It’s baffling.

  3. If they’re insisting on using tarmac run-off instead of grass or gravel can’t we have the same kerbs as the Red Bull Ring? Sausages, but running parallel to the track thereby risking damage to the floor of the car but ideally not launching them into the air?

    1. RandomMallard (@)
      10th November 2021, 16:07

      @pimbers4955 I don’t think parallel kerbs are any better than perpendicular kerbs. It was a parallel kerb involved in the crash in Formula Regional Monza a couple of weeks ago, and a parallel kerb that launched Alex Peroni several metres into the air before landing upside down on a barrier in F3 at Monza in 2019. The problem with the parallel ones is if you hit the start of one, you can still be launched just as much, if not more, than hitting a kerb at 90 degrees to the track.

  4. Could not they come up with a kid of sausage kerb, what is deployable for GT and touring car races, but removable for formula races (without chopping it off, without wasting materials, so removable and redeployable versions)? As I perceive these kerbs are for cars with higher ride height and softer suspension, while they are dangerous for formula cars (and their surroundings as at Abbie Eaton’s accident the stewards were also quite close to the flying car). I do not watch motorcycle racing but are these sausages safe for them (I think they are not, in worst case-like scenarios they can even make it worse)?

    1. kid -> kind

    2. RandomMallard (@)
      10th November 2021, 15:59

      I think these kerbs generally are quite easy to add and remove, I think the bigger problem is that they’re still choosing to add them for Formula races. And I agree that I doubt they’d be very useful for bike racing.

  5. I still feel this thing was a slight knee-jerk reaction to an isolated case that happened in a support race, not even F1. T11, 12, 15, & final corner exits also have three small bumps (not the same as sausage curb per se like at Red Bull Ring’s Niki Lauda curve & Yas Marina’s penultimate corner).
    Also, Paul Ricard’s T2 exit, so additionally a somewhat double-standard treatment.
    The three bumps at the T1 exit never were an issue on any previous COTA US GP weekend.
    Removing the consecutive bumps on Mexico’s T1-T3 runoff edge was even more unnecessary.
    They got added back in 2017 for a reason & hadn’t caused any issues but got removed anyway.
    Just one of many ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ cases in F1.
    I again suggest using Bahrain’s solution everywhere in the world.

  6. I’m not 100% sure, but I think they’re going to look at them in a case by case situation.

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