Abbie Eaton, Christian Weir and a host of other racers were injured while racing at Austin, Texas in October. Their cars were launched up into the air after driving over a sausage kerb at speed. On impact with the ground, The Grand Tour driver Abbie and Christian both suffered compression fractures.
Due to the severity of their injuries and how many were affected by this, the kerbs at Turn 2 were later removed entirely from the Grand Prix. But when Kimi Raikkonen passed Fernando Alonso by running wide where the kerbs used to sit, many fans were left questioning their importance.
Track limits are constantly being brought up by fans and GPDA officials, but now Sebastian Vettel and George Russel have given their input on the Austin track.
Vettel told Autosport the following when questioned on what happened:
“I think the thing is that we have to take these sausage kerbs off, because we had two injuries that were unnecessary.
“And I’d rather have an endless conversation about track limits, and maybe one time you’re unhappy, another time you’re happy.
“I think we can find solutions to that. But the main thing is that we find a solution to broken backs, which is taking off these sausage kerbs.”
Russell added his comments to the mix:
“Globally, this is something F1 and the FIA really need to look into because we saw another pretty dangerous incident in Formula Regional I think it was in Monza.
“So it’s something the GPDA are sort of really pushing hard with the FIA to make improvements. I don’t know what the exact injuries were of these drivers, but if somebody fractured their back this is unacceptable from such a simple off.
“I mean, we want to live in a perfect world, but unfortunately that doesn’t exist. The kerbs are put there to try and limit the track limits, but if it comes at the expense of injuries, potential life-changing injuries, then that’s unacceptable.
“So there needs to be a better solution – not even a better compromise, just a solution that is not dangerous.”
The Turn 1 kerbs at Mexico City have also been removed since the incident, but each change will be considered on a “case-by-case” basis, according to FIA F1 race director Michael Masi:
“Our safety department investigates all sorts of incidents like that.
“It’s a case-by-case, so the rest of the year we will look at them case-by-case, where they are. The one at Turn 8 was a very simple one, because of the speed of the corner and so forth.
“Having a look at the configuration of Turn 1/2, and the way it’s grass and everything else, it was determined to remove them, and that is what happened on Thursday.
“I think you need to consider everything on a case-by-case basis, as we have always said. They are all very different styles, in Austin versus what we had here, two completely different beasts.
“So we just need to look at them on a case-by-case, where they are, how it works, and look at the whole scenario.”