In the wake of tragic events at Spa-Francorchamps, reigning F1 world champion Max Verstappen raises concerns about the safety of Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Corniche Circuit, describing it as “probably more dangerous.”
Tragedy struck on the challenging Kemmel Straight, amidst treacherous weather conditions, immediately following the renowned Eau Rouge/Raidillon section.
The recent loss of 18-year-old Delano van ‘t Hoff during a junior race at Spa has sparked calls for changes to the Belgian circuit amid growing safety concerns.
Following the unfortunate incident, multiple drivers, including Lance Stroll, have voiced their concerns and advocated for substantial modifications to the Spa circuit, considering the risks involved. This comes in the wake of the tragic passing of French driver Anthoine Hubert at a similar section of the track four years ago.
During a press conference organized by the FIA after his recent victory in Austria, Max Verstappen expressed his belief that the opening sector of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit in Saudi Arabia poses an even greater danger due to its inherently blind nature.
“It’s, for sure, quite a dangerous corner but we’re also going to Jeddah in Sector 1 and that, for me, is probably more dangerous even because well, I’m happy that nothing has happened yet in that sector because going through (Turns) 6, 7, 8, if you have a shunt there that can be the same – it’s all blind, you don’t know what’s coming. Even with people like impeding and stuff,” he said.
“I remember in the beginning of the year there, I got upset with my engineer because I impeded Lando, I think, and I know how that feels. It’s super dangerous when these things happen.”
Verstappen contends that singling out Spa as the sole responsible party for the weekend’s accident is unjust.
“In Eau Rouge, going up, it is blind, but of course, this accident now happened later,” he added. “I think the only thing that maybe can be improved there is to make more space in terms of trying to move the barriers more out, because, at the moment, it looks like as soon as you crash, you hit the barrier, you bounce back onto the track quite easily.
“And of course with that scenario, where there is almost no visibility, a lot of water, and that is of course a big issue. I think in the dry, normally, it’s a bit better. You see, of course, more of what is going on in front of you. I think already the changes they made in Spa, they definitely opened it up a lot more but it will always be a dangerous corner, but we are going to a lot of tracks where there are dangerous corners, where up until probably there is an accident, you won’t say anything.
“And now of course it gets brought up, but I feel it’s a bit unfair to just blame it on the track, because I think in the first place you have to look into why did they restart.”