“Aggressive” kerb Schumacher hit should be changed before race, says Norris

2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Lando Norris has called for immediate changes to the kerb Mick Schumacher hit when he crashed heavily in qualifying, which had already caused another major accident the day before.

Schumacher has been ruled out of participating in the rest of the weekend after striking a barrier at the exit of turn 10. He lost control of his car on the kerb at the exit of the corner.

Norris says the changes to Formula 1 cars for this year has made the kerb more hazardous. “I think with this era of cars, with how you have to run them and how they’re designed, some kerbs throughout the year might need to change, and I think this kerb is one of them,” he said in response to a questions from RaceFans.

F2 driver Cem Bolukbasi hit the same kerb during practice on Friday and crashed, suffering a concussion, which means he will also take no further part in the event. Norris said this was another example of the problem with the kerb.

Mick Schumacher, Haas, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2022
Schumacher suffered an enormous crash
“It was very evident from Formula 2 because in Formula 2 you have to run the cars very low as well. And there was two crashes and Cem, the Turkish guy, was in hospital.

“I think just with these type of cars you can’t have such an aggressive kerb at such a speed that we’re running at. I think what makes it worse is how it’s angled to come back and then curves around and you just get a little bit wrong and it can be a big incident like we saw.

“It needs to be edited for tomorrow and changed a bit because especially in a race situation, if you’re following or you just get a bit of understeer because of the dirty air and so on, through no fault of your own, you can just get caught out and with the car and how it is and the kerb, it can easily end up in a bad place. So I think they need to change it for tomorrow.”

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The corner is tackled at over 240kph (150mph) and has a solid barrier on the inside. Norris suspects more yielding barrier designs, such as the widely used TecPro construction, wouldn’t be suitable at that point on the track.

“I don’t think you can really put a TecPro on the inside of the wall there because then the wall comes back out,” he said. “Just the shape of everything there is very odd. So if you had a TecPro there, if you hit it, it could easily just come onto the track, which is the issue.”

“I think apart from the kerb itself, everything’s probably as good as it can get, unless it’s just much wider, but then that defeats the object of of the circuit itself,” he added.

His McLaren team mate Daniel Ricciardo agreed the kerb is too punishing. “With the cars so much lower now that style of kerb is just very unforgiving,” he said.

“Of course I’ll always go back to ‘it should be difficult’ and ‘we don’t want everything to be easy’. But that’s a bit too far where you drop a wheel and because the car just kind of skateboards.

“The way that the wall is, we saw with Mick it was a very, very heavy impact. For sure, you can get penalised in other ways. I don’t know what the data [shows] but the G [force] impacts must be a very big number from his accident.

“I think more importantly for now I’m obviously glad that what we heard is he’s more or less okay. It’s a pretty big one, so good to see he got out.”

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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36 comments on ““Aggressive” kerb Schumacher hit should be changed before race, says Norris”

  1. Hopefully there’s immediate action not only on this kerb, but proactively looking at all kerbs and how easily cars can straddle it.

  2. Coventry Climax
    27th March 2022, 2:04

    These cars are designed to generate downforce when with four wheels on the ground and with a certain ride hight.
    Draw your own conclusions as to what happens with the amount of downforce over potholes, bumps and kerbs.
    We had issues with sausage kerbs placed such that they launched cars last year, and they have not looked into the combination ground effect and kerbs for this year? That’s rather amateuristic, isn’t it? Have they forgotton why the groundeffect was abandoned last time? Or is the show (read ‘revenue’) that important?
    Hope they heed Norris’ words. He’s right.

    1. I agree. Since ground effects has become the dominant reason why the tyres grip the road, then when a car goes onto a kerb the consequence is a change in ride height, so downforce diminishes, and making a loss of traction more likely, making it more difficult to control the car. A kerb can also easily alter the direction of the car, so now you have a car with less grip and it is heading in a different direction from what the driver intended, which can be undesirable, as in today’s crash. So a kerb can increase the need to control a car just when a driver is pushing the traction envelope.
      Ideally, a “kerb” should not only discourage drivers from going there, but also encourage the wheels of the car to grip the track. Maybe this could be achieved by using a more abrasive surface to that portion of the track.
      As Daniel Ricciardo suggests, the technology probably exists to penalise drivers in other ways for violating the track limits at that corner. For example, there’s no reason you couldn’t just paint that portion of the track and add an automatic 1/2 of a second to the lap time of a car if it goes there.

      1. ‘amatuRISH’..not ‘..istic’.

    2. and they have not looked into the combination ground effect and kerbs for this year? That’s rather amateuristic, isn’t it?

      Of course it has been considered. Do you really think it hasn’t?

      F1 is addicted to aerodynamics and speed. That is the issue that needs a remedy.
      Slow them down, and instantly every problem is halved in scale.

      1. Or when a brutal dictatorship builds a track have proper run off areas.

    3. The kerbs are there to punish the driver. Period. On an high speed track where there is no run off the results will be what we see. leathal. IMO there should be no kerbs of this kind on this track. Whomever designed this track didn’t have this year’s cars in mind. This track should join those other mothballed tracks, as too dangerous for the curent generation of cars.

  3. Is there an option for drivers not the drive over curbs? What is the compulsion to hit the curbs if one thinks they will launch the car? Surely if one’s car is not designed to maintain grip when bouncing over curbs, then don’t drive over them. Too simple? Curbs were originally designed to stop cars cutting corners. Now they are designed to help cars straight line corner by enabling the cutting of said corners. Maybe go back to steeply sided curbs to discourage the cutting of corners?

    1. I agreed. What if that is a wall instead of curb? Remove the wall then? The obstacles is there, all they need is just avoid it as it was there for that purpose. It will result slower corner? Remove all turns corner all together and become drag race then.

      1. This is more about appeasing the Saudi’s and money. They let a track with the run offs of Monaco and the speeds of Monza. This is purely a money thing.

    2. Norris says in his quote that it would be easy to accidentally end up on the kerb if you get understeer (eg when following closely), at which point an accident becomes inevitable.

      If it was a wall instead of a kerb people would rightly say that it is much too dangerous on such a fast section of the circuit.

      1. If it was a wall instead of a kerb, they’d be more cautious.

        1. If it was a wall instead of a kerb, more people would say that part of the track wasn’t fit for purpose…

    3. If there was a wall there, they’d adjust their speen on entry.

      There’s a great way to avoid mounting these kerbs and losing the downforce – and that is to not drive on them. Simple as that. These guys are the best drivers in the world, they can stay off the kerbs and avoid crashing or they can risk it and gain a couple of hundredths.

      Have we all just forgotten what racing is about?

    4. A lot of the time they don’t choose to use the kerbs this much. If you watch his onboard, you see he accidentally takes too much kerb on the previous right hander. This puts him sightly offline through the next left, resulting in the big chunk of kerb on the right hander that spat him out. This is qualifying, and you’re pushing to the limit, as we all want to see. A lower kerb would have avoided a crash and a red flag (that affected everybody, in particular the two Ferraris!), but would have still left Schumacher’s lap ruined.

    5. Too simple for the “so called” best drivers in the world? Yet they have strong opinions of societal, culture and religious values of a foreign nation state.

  4. Just stay off that curb. Alternatively, my suggestion is to move the curb & associated small runoff further right closer to the wall, i.e., widen (& in this case straight-line) the track at that part like at the last corner exit.

  5. An aggressive circuit would make a relatively benign kerb lethal

  6. Dear Noris, you can pass from there slower. What will be removed next? Let’s take out half the f1 tracks and race on parking lots with painted lines and 100 meters run off areas.

    1. Done that, magny cours is the name.

    2. Parking lots? That’ll be the Miami GP…

  7. RocketTankski
    27th March 2022, 10:02

    Remove all kerbs and replace them with Formula E contracts.

  8. Ah, so another of the F1 fans that would rather a mistake resulted in immediate impact with a wall at 150mph instead of having run-off space that allows the cars to safely recover.

    Real racers don’t make mistakes, do they? Lets stick them all straight into a wall, that will make them concentrate!

    1. Some of these armchair experts are so completely ignorant to how safety and track design work.
      Their answer to everything seems to be: “iF thERe wAs a WalL thErE thEY wOUlDn’T rUn WIdE durrrr” without an iota of actual thought for the context of the corner and the corners before and after it.

  9. The issue is you have a fast winding section of track surrounded by nothing but concrete walls. It’s just a bit crazy and most of us could have told you that when we first saw this track.

    The fact this track was designed for F1 and has been given the green light seems ridiculous to me. One random crash round a blind corner and the ensuing pile in on the crashed car at full speed is a recipe for disaster on par with what happened to Anthoine Hubert.

    1. This track should not be on the F1 calendar ever. Many other courses would be so much better than this one.

  10. Let’s get rid of Monaco also then guys. Simple.

    1. @bluechris Monaco isn’t as dangerous as it’s much lower speed & they have good visibility through the faster sections.

      The problem with this track is that it’s Silverstone but much narrower & with walls that you have next to no visibility around. You make a mistake or something fails & you have a massive accident (That takes forever to clean up resulting in more disruption for fans) & in a racing situation cars behind can not only not see the accident but also have no time or room to try & avoid ploughing into it.

      You look at the Leclerc/Perez bit of contact last year or one of the accidents in the F2 race yesterday. 2 Cars have a minor contact & a dozen cars behind don’t see it, Have no time to react once they do & have nowhere to go so just plough straight into it.

      They recent modified the runoff at Eau Rouge because the wall was too close & was sending cars back onto the racetrack where visibility over the rise was an issue, This is no different except it’s not just 1 corner thats a problem it’s basically most of the track. If walls so close with no visibility was deemed such a big issue at Spa then it also should be here….. But I guess the hundreds of millions of dollars they are getting from Saudi Arabia & Aramco will just make Liberty & the FIA overlook how obviously unsafe this awful carpark circuit is.

      When we have great tracks like Sepang, Nurburgring, Hockenheim & Magny Cours not on the calendar with other classics potentially under threat of losing there spots it’s just frustrating that we have to put up with them been replaced by tracks like this that F1 has no business racing at.

  11. Over 30 years this is the first time I really been concerned for drivers’ safety. This is not a race circuit, it is either not a special venue like Monaco. It is not offering any worthwhile but has a huge risk for drivers. Hamilton was right to try to boycott this place. This is a place F1 should never visit again.

    1. Hamilton hasn’t boycotted anything. Unless you count his embarrassing qualifying performance as some type of protest?

      Anyway, if they’d been racing here for 50 years, would you still say it had nothing going for it?
      Monaco is equally unsuitable – it’s just the fact that they keep going there that keeps it on the calendar.

  12. If any driver fears the consequences of (anyone, including themselves) getting it wrong here, all they need to do is slow down. Or go straight to the airport and get on the first flight home.

    Monaco is even less suitable for F1 than this place is, yet that won’t be changing. Neither should this.

    We’ve been through all the complaints about Le Castellet and how devoid of track furniture, challenge and consequence it is.
    They have them all here, and as usual, people complain about them.

    1. Sure and as you’ve been saying elsewhere the problem is that F1 is too fast and it’s addicted to speed. God forbid the actual drivers that do this for a living have an actual informed opinion about the track. But of course the unidentified forum warrior knows best.

  13. We all want to see drivers pushing the limits and they should be punished for making mistakes. That punishment shouldn’t be hitting a concrete wall at over 200km/h. We’ve moved so far in safety that it’s ludicrous that this track has been approved to hold a grand prix. Monaco is nowhere near the speeds we’re seeing here and there are no concrete barriers that I can recall.

  14. I’m shocked that they haven’t pre-empted this already for ground effect cars to race safely, especially on high speed corners.

  15. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
    27th March 2022, 16:03

    I would not consider these “aggressive” curbs. Firstly, I’m glad to see Mick is okay from that hard hit.

    Personally, the drivers can do better. The curb use is a high risk high reward thing. You hit them wrong and they will bite you as we saw with Mick. It is up to these drivers to get it right… they are the best in the world, right? Grow a pair and show it! The problem with this track is not the curbs but rather the walls and the combination of speed that is the issue.

  16. More like some drivers need to be changed….

Comments are closed.