Max Verstappen and his father Jos believe that modern Formula 1 cars, bulkier and heavier than their predecessors (and perhaps ever) are dangerous to drive on modern circuits such as Jeddah with sharp curbs and ill-placed walls.
Speaking on Viaplay ‘s F1 Talk with Max Verstappen, father Jos said that overweight modern F1 cars are starting to defeat the purpose they have lengthened namely driver safety: “One of the things you can do is to make the car lighter.
“If the cars are that heavy, the impact is automatically much heavier. So weight can play a role in that, but some circuits will always be dangerous,” explained Jos.
At this point, Max cited the Jeddah Street Circuit as an example: “Today’s cars are very low to the ground. On that circuit, the curbs come at you on the exit of Turn 10, but the shape and angle of those curbs are wrong. We all slide over them and if the floor there touches the ground, a serious accident in a small corner.
“First of all, the radius of that corner is not good, while the speeds are very high there. The shape of the curbs must be changed, or the space behind the curbs must be filled, so that you can drive over them without crashing the car. hits the ground.”
Schumacher’s crash in Jeddah was a scary example of what should not have happened
Verstappen is not alone in his grievances about the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix venue: “Three drivers from the GPDA spoke to the FOM and the FIA about what we can do with the track. For example, at the point where Mick Schumacher crashed so hard, there were no Tecpro barriers. He crashed into a concrete wall and that’s not good.
“There are little things we can improve on, and often those little things are forgotten, like the angle at which walls are placed. In qualifying, you drive at speed one lap and the next lap you drive slowly to let the tires cool down.
“But if one drives 80 kilometers per hour and the other 330, then that is dangerous. On a normal straight you can see the other coming, but not there, so moving the walls can help,” concluded Verstappen.
The good news is that FOM and the FIA have listened to the drivers, while Jeddah organisers are only too pleased to ensure that drivers are satisfied and heard on the matter, committing to making improvements ahead of the race in March.