Just weeks after Williams development driver Jack Aitken was injured in a terrible crash at the 24 Hours of Spa, the motorsport world breathed a sigh of relief on Friday when they learned that the six W Series drivers involved in an incident at the same location came out without gravity.
But with the memory of the fatal accident of Anthoine Hubert in Raidillon in 2019 still fresh in the minds, the recent accidents, including that of Lando Norris this Saturday, have helped to strengthen calls for changes to the circuit for To prevent something bad from happening again in the future. However, the main problem with the plot is not that the sequence itself is not suited to the demands of modern racing cars.
It is still a corner that stands out in the F1 calendar and provides thrills for drivers and spectators alike. Few requests for change concern the replacement of the Raidillon de l’Eau Rouge by another type of bend, or even the introduction of a chicane upstream to slow the cars down.
However, what gets special attention is the barrier and the clearance area at the top of the hill. On the left side, the way the clearance returns to the track can sometimes act as a funnel in directing cars that have exited there.
In the Aitken crash, the initial impact with the barriers caused him to bounce back to the middle of the track, where he was hit by cars that couldn’t see him as they were going up. the Raidillon.
Speaking for Motorsport.com recently, Aitken suggested that moving the protective wall there could significantly improve the situation.
“The problem is with the kind of accident I had, when you hit the wall on the left. I actually think that the distance between the middle of Eau Rouge, when you are in the hill © e, and the left wall is not sufficient. There is no time to slow down. “
“This also goes for the type of accident I had, where you correct a slip too much; the car was still relatively straight for me. But I knew there was no way I could. ‘Quickly clear the barrier or have time to get away from it, because the clearance isn’t deep enough It’s one thing: it needs to be deeper . “
The other problem is the clearance after the Raidillon, with the large asphalt area and the configuration of the barriers again offering the possibility for cars that have come off the track to bounce back and provoke. no more problems. This was a factor in Hubert’s accident.
But Spa is obviously aware of these problems and already seems to be tackling them for 2022, when the circuit plans to once again host motorcycle races, in particular the 24 Hours of the Championship. of the Endurance world in June.
As part of its efforts to obtain the FIM Grade C license necessary for the return of motorcycle racing, Spa has made plans for a host of safety improvements, including at the Raidillon. of the Red Water.
The work includes expanding the clearance areas and adding gravel traps. Images Spa has already released show the changes to the chainstop protection barrier, at the exact spot where Aitken and the W Series riders experienced issues. .
The government-backed € 80million project should therefore allow F1 to retain one of its most famous corners, while improving safety in order to mitigate the many concerns expressed recently.
While the renovation of Spa was the vision of its former CEO, Nathalie Maillet, who was sadly killed at the start of the month, the circuit made it clear that ‘he would pursue what she had planned.