SHARE

One of the mild controversies to come out of the British Grand Prix was the accident involving Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa. Massa, for his part, was an innocent by-stander caught in the wrong place at the wrong time but he did comment to AUTOSPORT when queried about the incident when asked if Kimi should have came back on track more cautiously:

“For sure”

“Kimi went outside of the track, he was fighting – I think maybe he passed a few cars at the start – and he wants to come back and not lose positions.

“He was unlucky because he was over a bump and lost his car [but] he did that because he didn’t want to lose any positions.

“When you are in free practice you back off, but when you are in the race and it’s like that you’re trying to come back as quickly as possible and that’s what he did, and he lost the car.

“When he hit the wall he just came completely into my car, I didn’t know what to do so I just turned right completely and the car went sideways and I hit him.

“I’m happy that he’s OK, I heard it was 47G. It’s amazing – I had 27G in Canada.”

The question from Sunday’s crash was regarding the run-off area and if drivers should slow down when they go wide. The traditional sense is that they should and back in the day, they didn’t have these large run-off’s so they had naturally slowed down because they were in the grass or worse.

The wide run-off areas have been the center of debate for some time with the issue of suffering no performance disadvantage for running wide off track but there is also the basic notion that a drive should carefully ease back onto the track if they go off.

It appears Kimi kept his foot in it and as he tried to fly back on track, he hit a bump that created a 47g crash. Is there an answer to this situation of run-off’s and is it solvable through regulation or is it a physical change that needs to be made to the circuits to stunt progress or reduce speed?

For several years, and still on certain circuits and location, gravel is still used but it created its own issues with one being the ability to flip a car easily when the wheels sunk into the loose gravel. Is there a better way of stunting the performance of a car that has gone deep into a run-off area? Let us know your thoughts on Sunday’s incident and what you feel might solve the issue—if you feel it is an issue at all.

SHARE
An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • If they can use GPS to track exactly where the car is then MAYBE it is possible to map the track limits too and combine that into how the ECU works. That way if you put all four wheels off for a few seconds then you loose a few ponies while you are cutting the corner. The longer and/or further you are off the track the greater the power loss from the ECU.

    • That way you can prevent not just cars coming back on the track at full speed, but you can also add an incentive to keep the drivers with in the track limits.

    • If the track limit is the track limit then put a fence up, i don’t see anyone running wide at Monte Carlo

    • Rapierman

      Heck, I’d just as soon slow the engine down the same way. Either way, I can go with losing some horsepower or revs.

  • MIE

    If there was a definite step between the track and the run off, drivers would know they were going to go over a bump when they rejoined, and therefore slow down or risk an incident like Raikkonen’s. Kimi had his accident because he expected the transition to be smooth and as a result rejoined the track at full racing speed.

    • How many drivers actually walk the track any more? Lewis said at Austria that it’s not something he needs to do any longer. Kimi probably thinks so, too.

  • Anthony

    Easy – just require a full stop and then look to see if there’s traffic before entering track limits. Without doing this: severe penalty. The paved sections help slow the car, without the gravel trap danger of flipping, or the terrible result of going wide and getting “beached”, ending the race because the driver pushed the limits. Paved runoff are there to save your race, not your position. Anyone agree?

    • the drivers seat

      In theory I do agree. But at this corner and speed it wouldn’t have been possible, runoffs should be heavily grained to both slow the car and degrade the tire to put drivers off from choosing that option

  • A slightly different pattern of debris release and Kamui Kobayashi would have had to retire too.

    If the Williams had been driven by a rookie (rather than the highly experienced Felipe Massa) there would have been two injured people, not one.

    As you say, Will, if the debris had had a slightly different pattern of debris, we could have had a third injured driver – and Max Chilton’s would almost certainly have been life-changing, if not fatal.

    All this, because Kimi did not pay due care and attention to the way the track is organised. And he should have known from last year’s puncture-fest that Silverstone is not forgiving of sweeping assumptions.

    Kimi deserved a race ban for his behaviour. The only way to really solve this issue is to get drivers to learn to pay attention to what’s going on around and in front of them – for the interest of their own race. Stricter enforcement of track limits (qualifying was great, the race’s enforcement was much too lenient and ruined a couple of battles).

    • No Kidding – The exit speed Vettel carried by going off track set him up for the Alonso pass

  • I heard suggested by the PitPass-podcast to put pulp journalists at the side-lines.

    • Then the drivers might just aim for them to see how many they could get at one time, kind of like picking up a spare in bowling.

  • Slipstream

    I’m a relatively new Formula 1 fan and from my casual observation of the crash Kimi seemed to be a little too eager to rejoin the track. I think it could be because of the pressure he feels from his poor adaptation to the new cars. With his experience and skill maybe he could have backed off a little. But what do I know!

    • the drivers seat

      Id say you know enough to be correct, not only does full speed re entry have a peril of control but also when you vo that far off you cannot see where the other cars are

  • All of this accident can be put down to the pressure for a few seconds in F1 – the speed of tire change (having to change two types of tires as part of the rules) – the lack of fuel/weight + refueling disallowed (as part of the rules) – the conformity of tech specs which level out the engine/performance/downforce, etc. (as part of the rules) – the demands of the FIA to reduce costs making car damage in gravel pits less costly replaced with run off areas as part of the rules) – the concept of “racing lanes” and “track limits” in the minds of the stewards (as part of the rules) – the last man standing qualifying (as part of the rules) – the weight of the drivers (as part of the rules) – etc. etc.

    All these damn rules and regulations reduce F1 to a game of hundredths of a second, so why the hell would any driver lift off, ever? You lose 10 seconds? Your day is done – park the car, save the engine/gearbox/ecu./whatever. Tell that to Jimmy Clark or Phil Hill who made suspension changes/refueling/tires during races on their own volition, or Fangio borrowing another driver’s car… F1 is so bogged down with rules and regulations that the restrictions are like a sharp point of pressure on the drivers never to lift, always take chances and rely on a strong monocoque to protect them in a 47g crash.

  • Rik

    Glad no one here has any actual input into a race weekend nor rules.

    How about looking at the obvious… The TRACK and many other tracks that need to be more thought out. The bump, dip, curb, edge or whatever caused Kimi;s car to launch, jump or move out of control should not have been there in the first place. Same for the bump in AU and other tracks that have caused serious safety issues.

    If there’s a problem with the track, eventually someone will find it and Kimi obviously found the problem with the track’s edge when rejoining the circuit at that turn.

    • F1derbar

      Agree – both spots in both tracks are dangerous and unnecessary and should be fixed. Amazed that this had to happen to make that obvious.

      • MIE

        The track (that bit between the white lines that the cars are supposed to race on) isn’t dangerous, cars running off the track in the event of an accident or incident isn’t dangerous. What caused a problem was a driver deciding that he could continue at full racing speed after he had left the track and even the tarmac run off, and try a rejoin the track across the grass. Unsurprisingly the grass at the edge of the circuit isn’t as flat as the tarmac. I don’t think that it is the circuit that needs changing, just the driver’s attitude to running off the circuit.

        • Pjj1180

          Great lets remove the armco

        • F1derbar

          I believe, given the same line, that even had he lifted the sudden change in elevation could’ve still caught him out. How slow would one have to go to not have a bounce whacking that edge sideways?

        • Rik

          Yes the bit between the lines is safe. Guess that since the British claim to have held the first Grand Prix that they would have learn’t to make it safe as every racer will tell you that one must use all the track surface and then some in order to race. Being that your not a Kimi fan I can only imagine what you would say if this had happened to your favorite driver.

      • Rik

        It’s amazing that race organizers or track officials would not try to eliminate these track surface issues prior to the racer’s finding the dangerous spots.

  • 1. Run off is fine. But put rumble strips on the path back on, and drivers will be more careful. Kimi was following the asphalt path back onto the track. In other words, make going off safe, and coming back on, slow.

    2. I think I’m the only person in the world that thinks Massa cocked it up. He panicked and put the car sideways instead of making a controlled maneuver around Kimi. Sure, I’m not in the cockpit, but it looked entirely avoidable to me. Massa is, and has always been, too cautious. He doesn’t have that keen edge to be champion, and it shows in his inability to overcome adversity. But, you know, he’s a super nice guy…

  • SimonNZ

    I’m not so sure Kimi coming back on the track at that particular point in time of the race and circuit, travelling maybe 100kph slower to be “safe”, would have been any safer…

    • F1derbar

      Exactly

  • Maybe the following video helps explain why Kimi may have assumed he was invincble on grass.
    The Sky F1 guys go lawnmower racing . . . w/ The Iceman.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_q6RtrwxI7E#t=30

    • F1derbar

      haha!

  • Part of the reasoning here is that Kimi’s car came back on track after he impacted the Armco and caused serious danger to other cars. But perhaps Max Chilton has a better handle on things, (after all he was perhaps at most risk to his head via a tire). The Armco was parallel far back from the track and then had to make a 45 degree angle to go around the bridge. If it had been alongside the track, Kimi would have hit it (or chose never to leave the track) only glanced along. Instead he hit the 45 degree portion at 47g – the rest could hardly be called his fault as the car was a rudderless missile at that point.