A new safety issue?

David Coulthard, Malaysian GP 2005

David Coulthard, Malaysian GP 2005 

 © The Cahier Archive

The FIA's desire not to get involved in the regulation of testing may have to be rethought a little bit following remarks made by David Coulthard after the Grand Prix Drivers' Association meeting in Barcelona last week. Coulthard has told Autosport magazine in London that there is concern amongst the drivers about the safety standards in testing.

"We feel that there is no reason to have a distinction between when we go Grand Prix racing and when we go testing," Coulthard was quoted as saying. "The speeds are the same, the tracks are the same, but the safety standards are not. That is not really acceptable. We're running more laps than ever and that leads to fatigue in the driver and within the team. And testing, by its very nature, relies on cars using previously untried components and tyre developments and they are bound to be more prone to breakages."

The comments create something of a problem for the FIA in that it is responsible for safety and in the past has always reacted when the question of safety is brought up because if it is seen to fail to have acted there are fears that it might be seen as somehow responsible in the event of a large accident. The difference between racing and testing is significant because racing drivers know the risks while the FIA's major fear appears to be accidents involving spectators.

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