January 6, 2023

Masi insists Spa is safe for F1 following high-speed GT3 crash

Jack Aitken and Davide Rigon were both hospitalised after a multi-car accident at Raidillon, the high-speed section at the top of the hill after the Eau Rouge lefthander.

Williams reserve driver Aitken was more seriously hurt of the two, suffering fractures to his collarbone and a vertebra. He was subsequently discharged and allowed to return to the UK to continue his recovery.

The incident involved a high-speed collision, and thus bore some similarity to the crash in the 2019 FIA Formula 2 race at the same spot that claimed the life of Anthoine Hubert and left Juan Manuel Correa with serious injuries.

As such, it has re-ignited the debate about safety at that part of the Belgian GP venue, where approaching drivers often have little time to react if another car has rebounded off a barrier.

Shortly after last weekend’s accident, Alfa Romeo reserve driver Callum Ilott, who was competing in the 24 hour event, suggested on Twitter that changes should be made.

“Main thing is that everyone is out of their cars,” wrote Ilott. “Davide Rigon and Jack Aitken and will be checked at the hospital and I hope all will be good.

“I would also like to say that there needs to be a change at this corner and I’m very surprised nothing has changed yet. Enough is enough.”

#114 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo: Arthur Rougier, Konsta Lappalainen, Jack Aitken

Photo by: SRO

Last October, Spa announced an €80m upgrade programme, with new or extended gravel traps at several corners, including Raidillon, in part to satisfy the requirements of the FIM for bike racing.

Asked about Ilott’s comments by Motorsport.com given that Spa is the next venue on the F1 calendar, Masi maintained that the circuit is fully licensed by the FIA.

“There has been some works that have been undertaken at Spa in a number of areas,” said Masi. “But the Spa circuit holds a current Grade 1 [the FIA licence required for F1 use.]

“There are a few changes and improvements that made year-on-year, but I think the way that it is, it is safe from an FIA perspective.

“None of us like to see big incidents, and I’m just glad that the drivers are relatively okay. I’ve seen a couple of the media reports today and they are good and healthy which is the important part. They’ve got a recovery ahead of them, but that is the overall aspect there.”

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