Russell hinted that due to the weather, F1 might experience a recurrence of the 2021 race where little or no track activity occurred, emphasizing the ongoing visibility issues.
The wet safety measures at Spa were highlighted following the fatal accident of Dutch young racer, Dilano van ‘t Hoff, in a FRECA race earlier this month at the same location.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association reached out to the FIA, requesting updates on any investigations and discussions on enhancing safety measures at the venue for F1 and other categories.
Mercedes driver Russell, speaking to F1 Flow.com about the GPDA’s ongoing communication with the FIA following Dilano’s death, asked whether Spa was safe enough and how to handle the weather conditions. He admitted that motorsport is inherently risky given the high speeds involved.
Among all circuits, Spa is deemed one of the most hazardous, along with Jeddah, Monaco, and Suzuka to some extent. The combination of challenging weather conditions and lack of visibility significantly raises the risk factor. To illustrate, Russell compared the experience to driving on a highway in heavy rain without windshield wipers.
In Russell’s view, Spa is reasonably safe but the wet visibility issue needs a solution. He emphasized that the GPDA did not ask for changes to the layout at Eau Rouge, having agreed that the current run-off progress is satisfactory.
Russell acknowledged that weather conditions might disrupt the upcoming weekend’s track activities, but expected better weather on Sunday. Considering recent events, he urged the FIA to be courageous in their safety decisions, particularly concerning visibility.
Russell expressed that everyone wanted to race, but cautioned that high-speed driving with limited visibility could lead to significant accidents. He pointed out the huge responsibility on the FIA’s shoulders this weekend.
When asked about racing under the rain conditions observed at Spa on Thursday’s media day, Russell opined that a single F1 car would be safe but visibility issues become pronounced with 20 cars on the track.
He concluded that the tragic FRECA accident was a ticking time bomb, with drivers unable to see and risking collision. Cancelling a race is not ideal, but another serious accident should be prevented.
Russell emphasized a good relationship between drivers and the FIA in discussing safety issues, adding that there is an increasing interaction over the years. He highlighted that while advanced technology could help prevent tragedies, it should also benefit lower formulas without the same resources.
Russell admitted that finding a solution for poor visibility would be a long-term project and expressed concern for the junior categories. He suggested that F3 should not permit 30 cars on the track simultaneously, even under dry conditions, warning of potential major incidents.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about F1 Spa Safety Concerns
What is George Russell’s main concern about F1 races at Spa?
George Russell’s primary concern about F1 races at Spa is the safety and visibility issues, especially in wet conditions. Russell stressed that these concerns were heightened after the recent fatal accident of Dilano van ‘t Hoff at the same venue.
What solutions did Russell suggest for the safety issues at Spa?
Russell did not suggest specific modifications to the circuit layout but emphasized that it is crucial to find a solution for poor visibility during wet conditions. He also expressed that FIA should make bold decisions when it comes to safety during races.
Did the GPDA ask for changes to the layout at Eau Rouge?
No, Russell mentioned that the GPDA did not request changes to the layout at Eau Rouge. The association is satisfied with the progress made on the run-off areas, which they consider critical.
What is Russell’s view on racing in the rain?
Russell stated that for a single F1 car, the conditions are safe and suitable enough for racing in the rain. However, when there are 20 cars on the track at once, the visibility drastically decreases, which can lead to serious accidents.
How does Russell describe the interaction between the drivers and the FIA?
Russell said the relationship between drivers and the FIA has become more interactive over the years, and the FIA is increasingly interested in hearing the drivers’ viewpoints and perspectives to improve motorsport safety overall.