New barriers used at Monza

The FIA might not have done itself many favours at Monza last weekend, but it is now keen to put a more positive spin on the weekend with the announcement that it used a new "High Speed Safety Barrier" for the first time. The new barrier involves three separate layers, the first of which is made up of plastic blocks filled with polyethylene foam (a material which is known for its high energy absorption properties) and vertical steel plates to resist penetration. The blocks are manufactured by TecPro International, a French company. The TecPro blocks measure 1.5m long, 1m high and 0.6m deep. Each end is formed so that it can connect with other TecPro blocks. There is then a 1.2m gap behind which there is a four or six tyre barrier, with each stack of tyres is fitted with a high-density polyetheylene tube. Behind this is the traditional barrier: either a guardrail or a concrete wall. The system is just 4m deep but is capable of absorbing the energy of a car travelling at 125mph, while at the same time keeping G-forces on the drivers to tolerable levels.

The system has been developed by the FIA Institute and the FIA following a programme of testing in collaboration with German automotive safety group Dekra.

The system was installed at the end of the run-off areas at the circuit's second chicane and Parabolica corners.

The FIA has also confirmed, incidentally, that circuit owners are required by contract not to discuss safety measures with any third parties (including the F1 drivers) in order to stop what the FIA calls "self-appointed experts, with little or no understanding of the latest developments in circuit safety, causing confusion and undermining the significant safety benefits which are now being achieved".

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