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Is the Baku track safe/suitable for F1?


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Poll: Baku (166 member(s) have cast votes)

Should F1 be racing the current Baku track?

  1. Yes. (117 votes [70.48%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 70.48%

  2. No (25 votes [15.06%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 15.06%

  3. Yes BUT there should be changes I will explain in the thread (13 votes [7.83%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 7.83%

  4. Don’t know (6 votes [3.61%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 3.61%

  5. I don’t care (5 votes [3.01%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 3.01%

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#1 SophieB

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 11:37

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.”

 
 
https://www.racefans...-speed-crashes/

 

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?

 

 

 

 

 



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#2 messy

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 11:41

They just need to sort out the pit entry somehow because yeah, that bit is pretty bad. The track itself, I think, is fine.



#3 Cyanide

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 11:42

The track is fine, we need better tyres. 



#4 jpm2019

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 11:42

pit entry danger is on almost every track.

Remember brazil 2003 



#5 Alan Lewis

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 11:43

There are reasons why there shouldn't be an Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The circuit isn't one of them.

#6 alframsey

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 11:45

Nah, everyone walked away unhurt from pretty heavy crashes. This need to sanitise every track in F1 drives me mad. The clumsy pit entry could be adjusted, although I'm not sure how, but the drivers were fine and unscathed.



#7 Jovanotti

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 11:47

Yes I think by the standards other tracks are being held against the track is too dangerous. 

 

- Pit entry as mentioned in the OP

- When Stroll hit the wall, some debris flew over the catch fence where some viewers were standing on their balconies. This can easily end up in injuries or worse. 

- I don't even want to imagine what would happen if someone got airborne when touching another drivers rear wheels (which could easily happen with the extensive slipstreaming and drivers changing lines in the last moment). The car would maybe launched into trackside stands, trees or buildings. 

 

Overall these risks will be almost impossible to completely avoid on a track like Baku (except remodelling the pit entry which should be done imo). And although it's one of the most dangerous tracks today, I'd still want to keep it because of its anachronistic nature and because it has produced great, unusual races.


Edited by Jovanotti, 07 June 2021 - 11:48.


#8 SenorSjon

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 11:47

They race Pirelli's every time and that alone was responsible for few of the hardest shunts the last 12 months. Remember how Stroll got launched in the barriers in Mugello? Tire failure. Kvyat exploring the wall rigidity in Silverstone? Tire failure. 

 

Pirelli made the tires heavier and 'stronger' and the cars lost DF, yet they blow out just like they did last year and it sends the drivers out of control.



#9 ANF

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 11:51

“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.”

That wall is protected by a double Tecpro barrier though:

bakubarrier.jpg

#10 Augurk

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 11:53

That wall is protected by a double Tecpro barrier though:

bakubarrier.jpg

It's not that one he's talking about. It's where the wall begins I think there is a wall perpendicular to the track.



#11 Marklar

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 11:54

This track is in many aspects way too dangerous for what FIA usually helds the standards for

But generally IMO no



#12 ANF

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 11:54

I think the problem is that the racing line is all the way over to the left-hand side of the track until the cars reach the beginning of the pit entry.

Edited by ANF, 07 June 2021 - 11:58.


#13 Ivanhoe

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 11:54

It's not that one he's talking about. It's where the wall begins I think there is a wall perpendicular to the track.

Yeah, a picture might help

 

Pit-entrance-manor-twitter.jpg


Edited by Ivanhoe, 07 June 2021 - 12:02.


#14 ANF

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 11:55

It's not that one he's talking about. It's where the wall begins I think there is a wall perpendicular to the track.

Hmm, I'm not sure there is, but it's hard to find a good picture of it.

#15 SophieB

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 11:57

Yeah, a picture might help

 

pit-entrance-manor-twitter.jpg

Might be just my browser, but that image doesn’t display for me. 
 

Definitely grateful for track pics though.



#16 danmills

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 11:57

Street circuits are notorious for crashes. Baku and Monaco are dangerous. As is a drive to the local supermarket in the rain with cheap bald tyres.

 

In both Monaco and Baku, with wide and long cars we saw how few crashes in the actual races compared to other seasons?

Way too many knee jerk reactions these days, or lack of any reaction if your name rhymes with high call hassy.

Yes Baku is dangerous. But it is not alone. Both crashes yesterday were not the fault of the track or it being too dangerous. It was the tyres. The very same tyre issue has and will happen again.

 

What is the common denominator? 

Pirelli has a precedence and a history of this now.


Edited by danmills, 07 June 2021 - 12:00.


#17 ANF

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 11:57

Yeah, a picture might help
 
pit-entrance-manor-twitter.jpg

That's just the end of the Tecpro barrier, isn't it? (I wouldn't want to veer left and hit it at 300 km/h though!)

#18 Ivanhoe

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:02

Might be just my browser, but that image doesn’t display for me. 
 

Definitely grateful for track pics though.

Maybe it works now, I changed the format?



#19 Ivanhoe

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:03

That's just the end of the Tecpro barrier, isn't it? (I wouldn't want to veer left and hit it at 300 km/h though!)

It is, but a bit of Tecpro isn't gonna help you if you hit at that angle.


Edited by Ivanhoe, 07 June 2021 - 12:04.


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#20 SophieB

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:07

Maybe it works now, I changed the format?

Yes! Many thanks.



#21 Afterburner

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:11

Not that I want to seem like I’m belittling what would surely be a catastrophic accident, but I think Rosberg’s “the end of you” comment may be a bit exaggerated; such impacts are certainly survivable in modern cars:



I think there’s always a way to make pit entrances like the one at Baku safer.

#22 IrvTheSwerve

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:14

This track is in many aspects way too dangerous for what FIA usually helds the standards for

But generally IMO no

 

This. It's safe enough, but compared to some of the Tilke car parks it is probably deemed 'dangerous'.

 

It does make you wonder though how somewhere like this can be a Grade 1 circuit, while somewhere like Donnington Park is a Grade 2 circuit. I'm guessing that is something to do with transport links, grandstands, etc., as well though.

 

I do wince a bit though at having 2km straights through a city. Sure there is catch fencing, but imagine something like Webber's flip at Valencia happened around the start/finish line. I guess the same could be said about many circuits though.



#23 ANF

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:23

It is, but a bit of Tecpro isn't gonna help you if you hit at that angle.

I think it will if you hit the barrier straight on. If the car veers left so you can hit the end of the barrier... you're probably going to break some bones in your body.

#24 rf90

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:27

I would say Yes, but, I think the 2Km stretch needs a chicane maybe so that the racing line is seperate from the pit entry. Top speeds would be reduced but so what if racing is safer. There is no skill in full throttle for 2Km.



#25 Stephane

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:28

Exciting race?

#26 domhnall

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:30

 

It does make you wonder though how somewhere like this can be a Grade 1 circuit, while somewhere like Donnington Park is a Grade 2 circuit. I'm guessing that is something to do with transport links, grandstands, etc., as well though.

 

 

I may be wrong but I think it's purely a money thing and Donnington could pay for a Grade 1 license tomorrow. Portimao as far as I know was grade 2 before the pandemic kicked off, and only applied for Grade 1 once it became clear there was a chance of holding a race.



#27 PayasYouRace

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:33

I'm not sure which pit entrance Rosberg is talking about but it's not the Baku one. You'd have to try really hard, and slow down a lot, to hit the end of it head on. I'd rather crash there than at the pit entrance at Indy.

 

I've voted "Yes BUT..." because changes can always be made, but I wouldn't put the pit entrance among them. There's a clear commitment line on the way in, and you have to slow for the chicane on the way in. High speed accidents will be directed along the straight and away from the end of the wall or the pits themselves. The pit wall at Monza is far more dangerous, as the end of it isn't protected at all against oncoming cars.

 

I'd rather see a change on the approach to T15, because even though there is an escape road, and there's a lot of Tecpro there, it still seems easy to have a head-on crash there. It's not an overtaking spot, so perhaps a slight chicane on the way in that would just point the cars towards the escape road would be sufficient.



#28 NixxxoN

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:36

Yes

Racing equals some degree of danger, its unavoidable... You can never ever remove the risk and danger to 100%



#29 PayasYouRace

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:37

This. It's safe enough, but compared to some of the Tilke car parks it is probably deemed 'dangerous'.

 

It does make you wonder though how somewhere like this can be a Grade 1 circuit, while somewhere like Donnington Park is a Grade 2 circuit. I'm guessing that is something to do with transport links, grandstands, etc., as well though.

 

I do wince a bit though at having 2km straights through a city. Sure there is catch fencing, but imagine something like Webber's flip at Valencia happened around the start/finish line. I guess the same could be said about many circuits though.

 

FIA Grades are as much to do with facilities as they are with safety features, but also, they have to do with what the circuit applied for.

 

If long straights are suddenly going to be a problem we can go the FE route and put chicanes every 400 m. Webber's Valencia flip always gets trotted out but as always, it's a bad example. It was spectacular but that's because he didn't hit anything particularly hard, so the car was brought safely to a stop. It's the sudden stops where the real danger lies.



#30 Augurk

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:39

Hmm, I'm not sure there is, but it's hard to find a good picture of it.

In Rosbergs video it looks like there is. Admittedly that's in the video game and it looks slightly different now. But still at an awkward angle for the oncoming cars. 



#31 PlatenGlass

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:41

pit entry danger is on almost every track.

Remember brazil 2003 

I've always thought Brazil's pit entry looks dangerous, as well as this one. It's not the same at most tracks. It happens when the pit entry is quite far along the pit straight (or pit flat-out bend).

 

But as I mentioned in another thread, the start of the pit "straight" (where they start going flat out) is actually a load of bends and if you have a failure there, you could hit a wall at a bad angle.

 

So yeah, I think Baku is a dangerous track, but the FIA have to decide where to draw the line of how dangerous is too dangerous. But one question is - do the start/finish line and the pitlane need to be where they are?



#32 Ivanhoe

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:41

High speed accidents will be directed along the straight and away from the end of the wall or the pits themselves. 

I don't think it's really predictable what the trajectory of the car will be when something breaks? Stroll was hitting the wall on the right side and Max on the left side and they dad the exact same failure. I can imagine the car heading to the end of the pit wall when something breaks while driving 340 km/h.



#33 PayasYouRace

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:42

I've always thought Brazil's pit entry looks dangerous, as well as this one. It's not the same at most tracks. It happens when the pit entry is quite far along the pit straight (or pit flat-out bend).

 

But as I mentioned in another thread, the start of the pit "straight" (where they start going flat out) is actually a load of bends and if you have a failure there, you could hit a wall at a bad angle.

 

So yeah, I think Baku is a dangerous track, but the FIA have to decide where to draw the line of how dangerous is too dangerous. But one question is - do the start/finish line and the pitlane need to be where they are?

 

It's a street track, so the pits are where they can fit them. So yes, they need to be there.



#34 IrvTheSwerve

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:43

I would say Yes, but, I think the 2Km stretch needs a chicane maybe so that the racing line is seperate from the pit entry. Top speeds would be reduced but so what if racing is safer. There is no skill in full throttle for 2Km.

It’s certainly part of the character of the track though. Some great slip streaming (really don’t need DRS here).

 

I think they were caught out a bit when designing the circuit, thinking that the sweeping corners before the straight would be a bit more of a challenge and therefore a slower exit speed on to the straight...whereas it is just flat out in these cars.

 

I’d hate for them to change any aspect of the track tbh.



#35 krapmeister

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:44

I would think one of - if not the - scariest thing for the drivers in an incident on the Baku straight is the potential for an Anthoine Hubert type crash where they are hit by another car.

 

There is no runoff, so you are liable to be bouncing off the walls and back onto the racing line. And there are a couple of pretty much blind corners at the start of the straight, which is already pretty high speed already - let alone further down towards the pits.

 

If someone gets hit broadside along there it really doesn't bear thinking about...



#36 IrvTheSwerve

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:44

It's a street track, so the pits are where they can fit them. So yes, they need to be there.

What, no castle pit boxes?  :(



#37 PayasYouRace

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:45

I don't think it's really predictable what the trajectory of the car will be when something breaks? Stroll was hitting the wall on the right side and Max on the left side and they had the exact same failure. I can imagine the car heading to the end of the pit wall when something breaks while driving 340 km/h.

 

And they both continued down the track, scrubbing off speed until they stopped, at which point the drivers walked away. That's a great result from a 340 km/h car crash, and didn't rely on either of them being particularly lucky.

 

The pit entrance is one of many gaps in the wall, for access points and the like. They're all designed so that the barrier before overlaps with the barrier after when the cars are travelling at speed. That pit wall is no exception. Unlike at Monza where nothing protects the end of the pit wall.



#38 PlatenGlass

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:48

In Rosbergs video it looks like there is. Admittedly that's in the video game and it looks slightly different now. But still at an awkward angle for the oncoming cars. 

 

For ease of access, it's at 11:15 in the video.

 

 

Looking at the picture Ivanhoe posted, you'd have to have the failure at a very exact point because the barrier doesn't stick out. But also, cars coming into the pits come through that part very fast, and a mistake/failure from them could mean hitting the end of the barrier. Or if there's confusion between drivers about whether one of them is pitting (e.g. a late call), causing a collision and an impact with the barrier.



#39 greenman

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:50

I like that F1 races on a track that is something unique and represents a different challenge to most of the calendar. It's not a surprise that we get interesting results out of these races either. But it is a bit rich that after decades of changing and slowing down circuits in the name of "safety", they start approving super fast street circuits (Jeddah looks to be like that, too) that are nowhere near as safe.

 

2km+ long straight (with a DRS zone on top of that) that isn't completely straight and has a few kinks here and there, a weird pitlane entry which they enter at a really high speed, all feel like a bit of a massive accident waiting to happen, regardless of Pirelli shenanigans. In modern F1 the biggest potential danger lie in T-boning a stranded (and usually unsighted) car and launching over the back wheels (a la Webber - Kovalainen), and this main straight has the right ingredients to make it happen. Like imagine Mick being slow to react to Mazepin's late move yesterday at the end.

 

So I don't know how to feel about it to be honest.



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#40 ARTGP

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:50

For ease of access, it's at 11:15 in the video.

 

 

Looking at the picture Ivanhoe posted, you'd have to have the failure at a very exact point because the barrier doesn't stick out. But also, cars coming into the pits come through that part very fast, and a mistake/failure from them could mean hitting the end of the barrier. Or if there's confusion between drivers about whether one of them is pitting (e.g. a late call), causing a collision and an impact with the barrier.

 

If pit speed is an issue, they can simply extend the pit speed zone out onto the left hand side of the track so they've slowed before they have to take the kink.


Edited by ARTGP, 07 June 2021 - 12:51.


#41 Ali_G

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:53

Track is fine. Country no so.

#42 Claudius

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:54

There are reasons why there shouldn't be an Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The circuit isn't one of them.

 

If you want to go down that road, start with China, Russia and Saudi Arabia first.



#43 SophieB

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:55

For ease of access, it's at 11:15 in the video.

 

 

Looking at the picture Ivanhoe posted, you'd have to have the failure at a very exact point because the barrier doesn't stick out. But also, cars coming into the pits come through that part very fast, and a mistake/failure from them could mean hitting the end of the barrier. Or if there's confusion between drivers about whether one of them is pitting (e.g. a late call), causing a collision and an impact with the barrier.

This is really helpful, thanks. To be honest, I never really noticed it from the perspective of the sofa how jarring that looks.



#44 balage06

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:55

I like this track to be honest, it's like an F1-proof Macau.



#45 Peat

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 13:01

I like that it's on the calender, but It really grates me that these tracks (Sochi, Vietnam(!)) pass the FIA sniff test while they are busy forcing permanent racetracks butcher themselves in the name of safety. 



#46 JimmyClark

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 13:02

The circuit is fine. Tyre failures and happen anywhere, and the worst crash we've seen in F1 recently was at the super-safe Tilkedrome of Bahrain. 

 

I think I read some studies were done to show that walls closer to the track helped with accidents, as it gave less time for cars to spin and hit at awkward angles - hence why the more recent circuits seem a bit 'closer' on the straights (which is also great for spectators). 

 

Yesterday's accdients were very high speed, but the drivers were fine. The question marks were around tyres and race control, which isn't Baku's fault. 



#47 NewMrMe

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 13:03

Once you have got onto the actual straight part, it is probably about as safe as you can make going 200mph+. Wide, good visibility for other cars, plenty of room for a car to slide to a stop if something happens with only glancing blows against walls as we saw yesterday.

 

The curves at the beginning of the flat out section on the other hand scare me. Narrow, lack on run off on either side of the track, some of them seem to be blind on on board cameras. If something breaks there you are playing pinball off both barriers and following cars could all too easily get mixed up in it.


Edited by NewMrMe, 07 June 2021 - 13:04.


#48 PayasYouRace

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 13:25

I'd actually consider reversing the direction of the circuit, and make the following change to avoid what would become a very dangerous first set of corners.

 

Baku.png

 

Have a little diversion through the park to avoid the super dangerous stuff, and you'd still have a decent T1 overtaking opportunity. Escape roads would still be possible at all the other major corners. The castle section would now be downhill, equally challenging but perhaps a little safer if you get it wrong. The pit lane wouldn't be an issue now, with an entrance before the last turn and an exit well off the racing line near the beginning of the straight.



#49 statman

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 13:30

I'm getting tired of hearing/reading the words "dangerous" and "safety" for every single incident.

 

We're not exactly talking about the nordschleife in the 60s here..



#50 Myrvold

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 13:38

I would think one of - if not the - scariest thing for the drivers in an incident on the Baku straight is the potential for an Anthoine Hubert type crash where they are hit by another car.

 

There is no runoff, so you are liable to be bouncing off the walls and back onto the racing line. And there are a couple of pretty much blind corners at the start of the straight, which is already pretty high speed already - let alone further down towards the pits.

 

Well, if the drivers would follow the rules when it comes to double waved yellows, it wouldn't be any real issue.

But they don't, and Masi knows it, he just don't bother with it...