Honda website
Honda website

MARCH 10, 1997

Ecclestone on safety

FORMULA 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone says he agrees with Jacques Villeneuve's view that Grand Prix racing needs to relax a bit about safety issues. "I think at the moment we've basically gone over the top with safety," Bernie was quoted as telling Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper.

"You are never going to stop accidents but when the accident happens you want to look after the guy. We don't want to kill people. We don't want to see blood everywhere but I think the cars are so safe now we could hang it out a little bit more on the tracks, to get back some of the sweeping fast corners that we used to have."

Ecclestone's comments tie in with the conclusions reached last year by the Technical Working Group after it commissioned a study by Professor John Harvey at Imperial College, London, to try to devise ways in which F1 cars could be made less aerodynamically-sensitive so that overtaking becomes less difficult. The study found that it was almost impossible to have modern cars running close to one another and the Technical Working Group concluded that the only way to do that is to bring back more challenging corners so that the most skillful drivers can gain an advantage. This means expensive work at circuits to create the necessary run-off areas for high-speed corners.

It is interesting to note that the Grand Prix Drivers Association is currently lobbying the FIA to stop the governing body doing away with the fast Swimming Pool section of the Monaco circuit. In recent months work has been going on at Monaco to create a little more space in that section of the track but the drivers do not want the corners to be tightened because they fear that the challenging section of track will disappear.