Formula 1

Verstappen warns against radical changes after Hubert accident

Verstappen warns against radical changes after Hubert accident

Max Verstappen has urged Formula 1 to resist the urge to make sweeping changes to tracks in light of the "freak and unlucky" Formula 2 accident that claimed the life of Anthoine Hubert.

Following Hubert's passing after an incident in the F2 race at Spa-Francorchamps last Saturday, some of the focus has been over the role that the asphalt run-off at Raidillon played in the crash.

Three-time world champion Jackie Stewart has been among those suggesting that asphalt run-offs lead to drivers taking liberties when they have run off-track by keeping on the power, rather than backing off.

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Current Renault Formula 1 driver Nico Hulkenberg partly agreed with this view when speaking ahead of the following weekend's Italian Grand Prix, and advocated for different approaches to increasing the safety of various corners.

"There are tarmac run-off areas that do invite us to keep pushing as they don't have immediate consequence. I think it needs to be policed and you need to find the right balance somewhere.

"Maybe it also the case where we need a customised solution for corners like Eau Rouge which is quite unique in that you don't really see that corner until you come up over the hill and see what is going on.

"Sometimes things get a bit hectic and out of control on lap one or early in the race when everyone is bunched up.

"Sometimes you see that happening more in the junior series, where they are still very motivated and maybe a bit too excited. Maybe there is a solution that for every corner is a little bit different."

However, speaking likewise ahead of the Italian GP, Verstappen dismissed the idea that there was a need for substantial changes.

"There are many tracks on the calendar where if something bad happens, it can be really bad. So we'd have to start changing a lot," he said.

"When you have a fatal accident it's easy to say you have to start to open up the corner but I think it was a bit of a freak and unlucky accident anyway. There are many dangerous corners on the calendar and it's part of F1 and racing in general, unfortunately.

"It was just very unlucky what happened. It's the same if someone spins in the middle of the track and somebody drives into you. It can always be a really bad accident. To now suddenly say we have to start changing the tracks, I don't agree with that.

"Of course it's very sad what happened. Spa is always going to be a bit dangerous around Eau Rouge, and it's a bit of a blind corner.

"[But] then why are we racing in Monaco? Because for me that's also a very dangerous track if you look at it. But we do it, that's what we are used to and unfortunately accidents happen."

In the aftermath of Hubert's crash, Spa-Francorchamps chiefs confirmed there was already an existing plan to introduce gravel traps at Raidillon, although added that they were "not planning to modify the actual layout" of the corner.

Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble and Diego Mejia

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Max Verstappen
Teams Red Bull Racing
Author Valentin Khorounzhiy