F1 drivers want more safety changes at “the most dangerous place on the calendar”

2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers have called for more safety improvements at Jeddah Corniche Circuit following Mick Schumacher’s enormous crash in qualifying.

The Haas driver was unharmed but will take no further part in the weekend after his high-speed shunt at turn 10 on Saturday.

Charles Leclerc, who will start today’s race from second on the grid, said he enjoys the challenge of the circuit but Schumacher’s crash showed there was room for improvement.

“It is a very challenging place, it is one of the reasons why I like this track. But I still believe that there are things that we can do to improve some places.

“The first sector is obviously extremely high speed and it can be quite – well, very – tricky in some places, as we’ve seen with Mick. So maybe there are few things that we can change for the future.

Mick Schumacher, Haas, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix qualifying day in pictures
“It is a very challenging track and I can’t hide also the excitement that I have driving on this track, especially on a qualifying lap. It feels amazing. But safety comes first and maybe we can do something more there.”

His team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr admitted he was “also a bit in two minds now” about the risks posed by the circuit. Jeddah is the second-fastest track on the F1 calendar but the temporary circuit has minimal run-off and barriers that are close to the track in places.

“I love the adrenaline rush that a qualifying lap gives you around here. But at the same time, you know that here, if you crash, it probably hurts a bit more than in any other place in the calendar because the walls are closer and the speed is higher.”

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The new F1 cars introduced this year have significantly stronger crash structures. However Sainz says he is unsure whether that justifies the risks posed by Jeddah’s track.

“Probably we as drivers, we are very confident around here. Just because we know that the safety of the cockpit nowadays is very high. When you see an accident like Mick’s gives us a bit the tranquillity that even at those speeds, the car is protecting you because the FIA has done a great job in giving us very safe cockpits.

“But at the same time, is it really worth it? Having that huge accident when you can maybe hopefully push the walls a bit more further out and gives us a bit more space to slow down the car if we lose it like Mick lost it today. It’s a discussion that we need to have because it’s probably a bit on the limit. It’s exciting for Formula 1, it’s exciting for us, but it’s also on the limit.”

Pole-winner Sergio Perez described Jeddah as “definitely the most dangerous place in the calendar.” While Lando Norris has called for immediate changes at the corner where Schumacher crashed, Perez says there are other points on the circuit which need attention.

“There’s no secret about it, it’s a circuit that really demands a lot from the drivers, from the cars, from the teams. If you get it wrong, it can be a huge accident.

“I don’t know if there’s something we can do into [turns] 22 and 23, because those are really high-speed sections.”

Schumacher is one of two drivers whose participation in the weekend was ended by a crash. Formula 2 driver Cem Bolukbasi suffered a concussion in a crash at turn 10 on Friday.

The race promoters said the FIA and F1 has requested up to 15 modifications to the track following its first race three months ago. Due to the limited time between its first and second races, not all of those changes were made. Drivers described the alterations made for this year’s race as “tiny”.

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2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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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...

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14 comments on “F1 drivers want more safety changes at “the most dangerous place on the calendar””

  1. I’d be more worried about the war and kidnappers who rule that place (since you weren’t really allowed to leave yesterday, “for your safety”, same what happened to MMA/or whatever fighters in 2019 when they argued and were held in the country until it was resolved diplomatically I suppose), and I’d also worry about the bombs over your heads. I wouldn’t like to consider changes to the track for the next season, since it shouldn’t be in the calendar. That was a huge mistake in any case, they behead children for God’s sake.

  2. Want to make the track safer?
    Drive slower.
    Or in reality – make the cars slower.

    The easiest solution is usually the best, and here it is.
    They can have it done by the next race for safety reasons, if they want to.

    1. The only way that could work is by having the entire event under yellows, VSC or SC. Wonderful.
      Drive slower? Slower cars? What part of “RACING” is giving you problems?

      1. The cars are the problem, @biker56. Slow the cars down, and everything becomes safer.
        I’m not particularly surprised that you need that explained to you.
        If you still don’t understand, try googling ‘physics.’

        1. So between now and the event, an hour or so, you want to rewrite the rules, redesign and rebuild the cars, and that is the easy solution?
          OK, between now and the next race. That’s much better.
          @S – this is Formula One – the cars are meant to be fast. This is the pinnacle of car racing. The drivers are the best and fastest in the world. The teams compete to be the fastest and the best.
          Of all the tracks on the calendar, there are a few which have problems like this.
          This track is causing problems.
          The problem is the track. Not the cars. Not the drivers, the track. T R A C K.
          I’m sorry if these concepts are too hard for you, along with your lack of concern about people who are not you suffering injustice and oppression. Obviously, this could never happen to you, or anyone you care about.

          1. I apologise @S for the last paragraph of my comment. I tried to delete the comment but it does not want to be deleted.
            I am wrong to assume anything about your state of mind. Sorry.

        2. The track was made knowing what the performance of the cars is though. Ditching the Nurburgring is an example of what you’re talking about where the cars outgrew the circuit and became simply too fast for the circuit to ever be safe.

  3. I still go by my straight-lining suggestion. At least concerning the T10 exit/11.

  4. I think the crash everyone fears isn’t the one Mick had, it’s the one when someone has that accident and then someone arrives a moment later and they ‘T-bone’. If someone had been following Mick, there’s very little they’d know about it until something very bad happens.

    1. Yeah, if something alike happens at an early phase of the race with many cars close to each other that would be complete carnage @bernasaurus

  5. Leaving aside the politics, morality etc., the track seems to generate very high energy events, which realistically means it’s only a matter of time before a serious injury or death happens. Let alone the cost in repairing the cars.
    The drivers relish putting it all on the line, but even they have concerns here.
    If it was up to me I’d be calling for a rethink about racing here.

  6. I’m surprised the wall Mick hit was concrete with nothing in-front of it. I get that a tyre or tecpro barrier may not be suitable at that section but they have safer barriers elsewhere around the track so I don’t see why they don’t have one there.

    And i’m also surprised that the reason it is concrete seems to be that it was felt that wasn’t somewhere they expected a car to crash as it’s not uncommon to see cars spin to the inside coming off a kerb, Especially in situations where they still have a bit of lock applied.

  7. High speed and nowhere to go except for concrete walls on this track. Especially more so with a race full of cars. This makes no sense.

    F1 and FIA knows more than this. Protect the drivers on a better track.

  8. I wonder why they let the track hold a race when the first race resulted in a request to change 15 things.

    Remember those times when Spa couldn’t hold the 2006 because repairs couldn’t be done in time?

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