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The mythical corner of F1 is in danger of disappearing. Can Red Water be saved?

Date: July 24, 2024 Time: 06:39:43

Recently, there have been more and more calls to rebuild the legendary Red Water corner of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The catalyst for such talks was the death of 18-year-old FRECA pilot Dilano van ‘t Hoff. The excited public can be easily understood: another tragic death of a young runner, moreover, on a recently reconstructed track, it was shocking. But is the famous set of corners and backstretch really worth rebuilding, or is the racing community in danger of making a huge mistake?

Stroll, Zhou and Wolf are in favor of rebuilding the turn. Verstappen vs.

The Red Water curve in Spa-Francorchamps is one of the most iconic and dangerous places in the world of motorsport. In the last four years, a high-speed start from Red Water (Radillon) has claimed the lives of two young drivers: Antoine Hubert and Dilano van ‘t Hoff. The recent death of an 18-year-old Dutchman has sparked a new wave of comment about the need to rebuild Red Water.

Also, the danger is not so much the turn itself, but the section that follows it. “Red Water” is passed at full speed, so almost immediately after exiting the turn, the pilots set off on the long “Kemmel” straight, where they reach maximum speed. That’s why the racing community is at war with Red Water, a place where drivers reach breakneck speed before entering a dangerous pack.

The leaders of the peloton have already overcome ‘Agua Roja’ and are launching into ‘Radio’

Photo: Vladimir Rys/Getty Images

“We lost a young driver at Spa and my thoughts are with him and his family. What happened is not fair. We need to study and change that twist, because we lost two young talents in five years. It needs to be changed. We ourselves will go there in a few weeks, and what happened today is terrible. We have to seriously think about what to do with that twist. There is nothing fun when you go there, because we risk our lives. The changes made are not good enough. Legendary turn status? We are losing life. It has to be changed, for me there is nothing to discuss at all”, Lance Stroll was the first of the F-1 drivers to speak on the topic of the day.

Alfa Romeo driver Guanyu Zhou supported his colleague: “I think it is necessary to change the layout of the track. In 2019 I lost my friend Antoine and my pain still doesn’t go away. Of course this is an iconic group of corners, but we have lost too many here and I think it is time for a change. I saw some videos, I think they are from 1994. I’m talking about a small chicane. I think going back with her would be a step forward.”

What Spa and other F1 circuits looked like in the 1994 season:

Photo

The legendary F-1 spin was simply destroyed. How Senna’s death changed the best tracks in the world

Mercedes boss Toto Wolf is also in favor of the renewal: “We like this track, but we have to think about it. As a runner, you love Red Water, but you can’t leave it at that. When two young people die there, you have to change course.

However, among the representatives of Formula 1 there were also defenders of the legendary spin. Max Verstappen defended Spa-Francorchamps and criticized another track along the way: “Of course, this is quite a dangerous turn, but if you take Jeddah as an example, then for me the danger is much greater there.”

The death of Dilano van’t Hoff is the main tragedy of the current racing season:

Another cyclist died on the Spa track. It was rebuilt after another tragedy.

Red Water needs a gravel trap and youngsters should be banned from racing at Spa

Verstappen is one of the few who stick to less radical ways of solving a painful problem. The Dutchman proposes to keep the turn unchanged and increase the safety level of the difficult section. In particular, Max raised the issue of going deeper into the guardrails, as both fatal accidents played out according to a similar scenario: the car hit the guardrail, the wrecked car was thrown backwards into the trajectory, and the subsequent collision with the opponent. that he did not have time to move away.

It would seem that this is the solution to the real problem, but in reality it is not so simple. It’s easy to say “break down the barriers”, but to change the current state of the circuit you have to do a gigantic job on all fronts. Let’s not forget that any movement of the limits of the track implies a change in the landscape that surrounds the race track. In particular, one cannot do without felling trees: local ecologists (and the authorities) are unlikely to like such a development of events.

Straight Kemmel is quite narrow, the barriers are close to the track.

Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

However, there are alternative methods to increase the security level of a group of dangerous turns. For example, creating a gravel embankment on the left side of the “Red Water”. Such a move, first of all, will force the pilots to go a little slower and much more accurately to pass a dangerous turn – nobody wants to cling to the gravel. In addition, an artificial embankment will help slow down a car that has run off the track before hitting a barrier.

At one point, the broken cars in Radiolon were slowed down by gravel.

Photo: Michael Cooper/Getty Images

In addition to all sorts of circuit transformations, you might want to consider another way to minimize the probability of fatal accidents at Spa-Francorchamps: remove the Belgian track from the calendars of all youth championships. It sounds radical, but there is some logic to this.

Let’s start with the fact that junior formula cars are much inferior in terms of safety to their “big brother”. And besides, these cars are controlled by inexperienced drivers who develop gigantic speed (less than in F-1, but also decent), while being dangerously close to each other – the density of the peloton in youth teams (especially in FRECA) greater than in F-1. Not surprisingly, recent fatal accidents have occurred during youth competitions.

Caio Collet and Victor Martins at the site of Antoine Hubert’s fatal accident

Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

By the way, an incident similar to the accidents of Hubert and van ‘t Hoff at the same Radiolon occurred two years ago during the Spa 24 Hours race. In that race, in the same way, another race participant flew into a car that flew off the speed bump. Fortunately, the GT-class team demonstrated a decent level of safety: Jack Aitken, who suffered the most in that accident (his car was thrown off), escaped with several injuries and got back behind the wheel two months later. Compared to Hubert and van ‘t Hoff, Jack is incredibly lucky.

True, the video belongs to TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa. The video is available on the Robin E.

What the public said after the Aitken crash:

“Enough is enough!” Has the best curve in the world become too dangerous to compete?

It goes without saying that in Formula 1, the level of car safety is even higher. Despite this, the “Queen of Motorsport” is still at risk of losing the best bit of the legendary track, albeit to accidents in other series. Of course, it can be argued here that any initiative leading to an increase in the level of safety in racing was once perceived with hostility by the public. For example, after the death of Jules Bianchi, the “halo” system was introduced in Formula 1, which was initially also accepted by a large part of everyone. However, two years later, the halo saved Romain Grosjean’s life.

Does this mean that it is worth taking all the initiatives aimed at improving the level of safety in racing? No. Still, the same “halo”, although it saved the lives of future pilots, in no way harmed the very beginning of racing, only creating minor aerodynamic and aesthetic interference. But the reconstruction of almost the main turn in the history of Formula 1 can seriously hit the sports component of the main racing championship of the planet.

Spa-Francorchamps has always been a dangerous circuit:

The 7 most dangerous race tracks in the world. One claimed the lives of 260 pilots at once.

Do you think Formula 1 needs a facelift at Krasnaya Vody or should the iconic curve be left unchanged? Vote in our poll!

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* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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