The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix organisers have added a TecPro energy-absorbing barrier to the wall at the scene of Mick Schumacher’s huge crash in qualifying last year.
Schumacher was attempting a flying lap in the second phase of qualifying when he lost control exiting the fast left-hander of turn 10 at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. He spun into the barrier at turn 11 at around 270kph, sustaining a 33G impact which heavily damaged his car and caused a lengthy red flag delay to the session.
The Haas driver was taken to hospital for checks and was released, but did not participate in the following day’s grand prix. The team estimated the bill for the damage came to around $1 million.
Schumacher was not the only driver to suffer a heavy hit at that point on the circuit. Prior to his crash Formula 2 racer Cem Bolukbasi was also taken to hospital after hitting the same wall after losing control on the exit of turn 10 in near-identical fashion to Schumacher during Friday practice.
In race director notes for this weekend’s F2 event, the FIA has confirmed that a TecPro barrier as been installed “at the inside of turn 11 exit on drivers’ left from the vehicle opening to the end of the track light posts.”
The installation of the barriers is one of a series of changes made to the Jeddah street circuit for 2023, the third race to be held at the venue in the last 15 months, after drivers raised concerns about the safety of the track. Among the many modifications includes moving barriers back by several metres at turns eight, 10, 14 and 20 to improve sight lines as drivers navigate the high-speed sweeping corners. The last left-hander of turn 22 at the start of the final sector has been sharpened significantly, slowing cars for the following corners of 23 and 24.
Despite the changes to the circuit, the Jeddah track is expected to remain one of the fastest on the 2023 calendar by average lap speed. Last year, Sergio Perez set pole position with an average speed of exactly 252kph, faster than any other circuit that season except for Monza.
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2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
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