Okay, possibly unpopular time to be asking this question after a really exciting race but if we wait until something happens, then it’s knee jerk reactions so I thought after a good race seems the time to ask the tough question: should F1 be racing in Baku from a safety standpoint? Vettel made the sobering point about how F1 got very lucky in where the punctures happened yesterday:
The two drivers suffered left-rear tyre failures as they accelerated away from turn 20, one of the fastest points on the circuit. The pit lane entrance is situated at the left-hand side and is separated from the track by a barrier.
Stroll and Verstappen hit walls running alongside the track, but Vettel pointed out they would have suffered harder impacts had they hit the pit entrance barrier.
“I think both of them, Lance and Max, got really lucky,” he told Channel 4. “If this happens at pit entry, we’re looking at a different incident.”
Pirelli is investigating the cause of the tyre failures which led to both crashes. “I think we got lucky today with both incidents,” Vettel said. “But that mustn’t happen, absolute no-go.”
Before the race weekend began Nico Rosberg, who won the first grand prix at the circuit five years ago, described Baku’s pit lane entrance as one of the “most dangerous” sections of track on the F1 calendar.
“There’s just a wall and it’s facing you,” said Rosberg. “So if something breaks here, it’s the end, there’s no more you. This is one of the most scary places that I’ve ever driven an F1 car in. To go by there just feels ridiculously wrong.”
Is Rosberg right? Is it wrong that F1 races here? Or can you go too far with risk assessments and the drivers should just crack on, motorsport is dangerous etc etc. Or is there a way of having the cake and eating it by improving the safety of the current track?