JULY 21, 2001
Safety is built into the F1 rules says Ferrari tech chief Brawn
FERRARI technical director Ross Brawn has praised the F1 regulations which have demanded year-on-year improvements in constructional safety without the need to skimp on weight. As the rules stand at the present time all the teams are capable of building cars which have to carry ballast to bring them up to the minimum weight limit, so adding enhancements such as the more rigorous side impact test for 2001 simply make the cars as a whole safer without anybody feeling the need to cut corners.
Brawn was speaking in the aftermath of Michael Schumacher's testing crash at Monza last Tuesday when the World Champion emerged unhurt from a spectacular impact with the barriers at the Variante alla Roggia.
"I think it's possible that Michael might have been hurt if he'd been in the car he crashed at Silverstone in 1999," said Brawn. "That's how improved the constructional rules have been. In this situation he suffered a chronic lack of rear downforce the moment he touched the brakes,due to a breakage on the undertray."
Brawn admitted that - amazingly - the Ferrari F2001 chassis involved in the accident is almost certainly repairable, despite having sustained severe frontal damage including losing both front wheels. The team is currently submitting the damaged chassis to ultra-sound tests but Brawn believes it will be back in use with the Ferrari test team within a matter of weeks.
Brawn also refuted speculation that the accident had been caused by Schumacher persistently using the high curbs as he prepared for September's Italian Grand Prix. "It was our fault rather than Michael's," he admitted. "We can reinforce the floor and make it a bit tougher in the future."
Schumacher will be fully fit for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim on 28 July and has been recuperating at home in Switzerland ever since the crash.
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