Leading F1 team figures have questioned the safety of the new Baku City Circuit that will host Sunday’s European Grand Prix.
F1 drivers have expressed huge concerns about the challenge provided by the pit entry at Baku. At 3.732 miles long, the 20-turn circuit is the second longest on the F1 calendar and has been projected by many as the fastest street circuit in the world.
But alongside its fast, sweeping corners and long straight, there is also some narrow and tricky pitlane entry.
Force Sahara India’s Sergio Perez thinks that the new street track in Baku could prove to be the most challenging circuit in F1 racing. The Force India’s driver believes that grand Prix venue has similar characteristics to Macau, which has a long straight and twisty sections.
Perez’s teammate Nico Hulkenberg also added that the F1 layout will demand a compromise with the set-up.
McLaren’s Jenson Button has also spoken out against what he thinks are insufficient safety provisions at the new F1 track.
The former world champion said that the most critical area of the new track was turn 15, which the drivers will approach at estimated speeds of about 180mph after a long flat-out section.
Button said in a statement, via the BBC: “We trust in the FIA and they do a fantastic job in keeping us safe. They have improved pretty much every circuit we go to, including Monaco.
“It’s just that on certain corners here, it looks as if there is not a lot of run-offs. Hopefully, I’m wrong.”
“It is fine as long as no-one has a failure, we will go away all happy. We just have to hope that doesn’t happen.”
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg also questioned the safety of the new Baku track that will host Sunday’s Baku European Grand Prix, claiming that parts of the track in the Azerbaijani capital were “really not looking good”.
Rosberg also added, via the BBC: “The track is great, the place is great. I have been welcomed very well so I’m sure all in all it will be a great success.
“But there is a bit of a concern for sure with those run-offs. That’s not great. The corner before going down the hill (15) where you have a wall straight on, turn three, and then the pit entry as well, that is not fantastic.”
However, former F1 world champion Fernando Alonso, who is the race’s official ambassador, played down the track issues.
“There are some corners probably we will talk about,” Alonso said in a statement, via the BBC. “Some others that we need to go on the car first and see how they feel.
While Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo made a positive review, claiming that the pit entry “is going to be quite cool” because, as it is effectively part of the Baku race track, there was “between half-a-second and a second” for a driver to gain in the chicane.
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