Drivers call for safety talks after two crashes at Monaco
Tuesday 31 May 2011
Two major accidents at the chicane and two drivers hospitalised took the gloss off the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday and raised questions about safety levels on the tightest circuit on the F1 calendar.
One of the major problems of a unique venue is the lack of space for run-off areas, and observers regarded it as sheer good fortune when Nico Rosberg's Mercedes crashed at the chicane on Saturday morning and narrowly missed striking the wall separating the track from the escape road.
That afternoon Sauber's Sergio Perez suffered a broadside accident that was reminiscent of the one that Sauber driver Karl Wendlinger suffered at the same spot 17 years earlier. The Austrian's accident came soon after Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna were killed at Imola.
Perez escaped with just concussion and a heavily bruised thigh, while Vitaly Petrov was released from hospital on Sunday evening after undergoing a precautionary body scan following his hefty impact with a wall on the 68th lap. Nevertheless, the drivers have called for discussion on how Monaco can be made safer.
"The cars have improved dramatically in terms of safety since Karl Wendlinger's accident and the circuit has improved," Jenson Button said. "The barrier's been moved back since my accident [in 2003], so there have been improvements, but we need to find a solution because we all love racing here.
"It's a very special circuit but there's a couple of areas that we need to discuss and try and come up with a solution because we all think the same thing. We all want it to be safer there, so we can come here and really enjoy the racing.
"The chicane's a tricky corner and it's an area where it's very difficult to do anything in terms of safety because it is what it is. It's Monaco, a street circuit, but I still think we need to look further as to what we can do with the run-off."
Mark Webber said about the exit to the tunnel where the problems began: "It's not a very nice part of the track – very, very high speed with a compromised run-off. If you get in the middle of the road, you have problems, as Sergio did. It's never comfortable to see one of our mates have a nasty one like that. We want to see how things improve."
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