Jack Aitken has offered a track change at the famous Eau Rouge after his serious accident at Spa to make it safer.
He proposes that the barriers on the left should be moved to reduce the risk of an accident. The barriers on the left should be moved back at the apex to provide more space in case a race car has an accident.
Aitken crashed into the guardrails at the 24 Hours of Spa in July and bounced back to the middle of the track, where he was hit by several cars.
In his opinion, fewer accidents would happen if the guardrails were further away from the racing line.
“Obviously, it’s a bit of a sensitive subject because we have had some pretty serious accidents over the last decades, it’s always been a danger spot.
“I’ve thought about a fair bit. In my opinion, I think they’ve done quite a good job for the most part with what is inherently, a very fast corner with a blind exit.
“On the right side it’s very open at the top, I don’t think there’s any major changes that need to be made there and we saw a couple of cars in the Spa 24 hours that did lose it to the right, and that was relatively, completely fine. There’s enough space and it’s far enough off the track that you’re okay.
“The problem is with the kind of crash that I had when you hit the barrier on the left, the distance from the middle of Eau Rouge, when you’re going up the hill, into that left barrier isn’t big enough. You don’t have time to slow down.
“It’s also for the type of accident that I had where you are overcorrecting a slide, the car was still relatively straight for me. But I knew there was no way that I was going to avoid the barrier or have time to turn away from it, because the run-off is just not deep enough. So that’s one thing, that it needs to be deeper.”
Track management plans to increase the runoff zones and add more gravel beds, especially at Raidillon, where Aitken crashed and Anthoine Hubert was killed in 2019. For Aitken, that is not enough.
“Because of it [the barriers] not being deep enough, when you do collide it absorbs the energy and bounces you back out, it puts you right into the firing line.
“I’ve already spoken with a couple of people on the FIA side to try and see if there’s anything that I can do from the drivers’ perspective just to offer my opinion, prefacing that with, I am not the circuit designer, I don’t know what the challenges are with that corner in terms of putting things back and around.
“I don’t think gravel would have helped on this occasion because traveling 200-250 kilometers an hour, with maybe five to 10 meters of runoff, it’s just not enough to slow down, and actually it could have made it worse because the dust would have obscured the view even more.
Speaking to the drivers behind me who were involved, that was one of the main issues. They knew there was a big crash because of all the debris but the smoke meant they had no idea where the car was, and with the crest, you can’t see that far ahead.”