SINGAPORE, Sept 23, 2012 (AFP) - Two-time world champion Sebastian Vettel Saturday said a notorious corner dubbed the "Singapore Sling" was one of the most unsafe in Formula One and called for urgent remodelling.
After several collisions along the Singapore Grand Prix's tight street circuit in practice and qualifying, Vettel singled out turn 10, a sharp chicane at the end of a long straight near the city's historic cricket club.
"We've discussed it many times, every year actually," the Red Bull driver said.
"We need to find a better solution in turn 10 which probably requires to take a little bit of land for those couple of days from the cricket club or maybe remove the pavement for three or four days.
Turn 10, christened "Singapore Sling" after the famous cocktail, is in a venerable area of Singapore surrounded by colonial-era architecture, and has long been a source of controversy.
Before Saturday's qualifying session, officials shifted a barrier to make it easier to negotiate. But Vettel called for a more comprehensive solution.
"I don't know, but I would imagine if you consider the costs of this whole event, taking a pavement away and putting it back again shouldn't be a big problem," he said.
"In terms of safety it's one of the worst corners we have in the calendar, because you've got this big kerb, big bounce and it's tricky. To find another solution right now, that's something we've got to work on."
Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber punctured a rear tyre when he ploughed into a barrier on Saturday, and Caterham driver Vitaly Petrov and Williams' Bruno Senna also came to grief.
Lotus's Romain Grosjean was another to hit a wall and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, after setting the fastest lap in the final qualifying session, came dangerously close to a scrape in the dying seconds.
Several drivers have spoken of the challenges of the narrow, twisting Singapore lay-out, which is restricted by the width of its streets and has few grass or gravel run-off areas, meaning mistakes often result in contact with the barriers.
Sunday's race will be preceded by a minute's applause for the late Formula One doctor Sid Watkins, whose innovations are credited with dramatically improving safety standards.
On Saturday, officials announced a five-year contract extension for the Singapore Grand Prix, ensuring the event will remain on the Formula One calendar at least until 2017.