Formula 1 News

Webber and Button call for greater safety

Saturday's Sergio Pérez and Nico Rosberg crashes have triggered reactions from all drivers and teams.
Saturday, May 28, 2011

MONTE CARLO, Monaco, May 28, 2011 (Gordon Howard, AFP) - Englishman Jenson Button and Australian Mark Webber added their voices to a growing group of top Formula One drivers who called for improved safety measures following Mexican SergioPerez's high-speed accident at the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday.

Button, the 2009 world champion, who races for McLaren, and Webber, 34, of Red Bull, both said they wanted to see major improvements at the approach to the chicane in particular where Perez hit the barriers.

Perez's accident in a Sauber car was at almost the same place where during the morning German Nico Rosberg had lost control and crashed in his Mercedes car. Rosberg later called for the barriers to be changed and moved back by up
to 50 metres.

Both Button, a former winner of the Monaco race, and Webber, who won last year, said it was clear improvements were required.

Button crashed at the same spot in 2003 and was unable to race due to injury. In 1994, the same barrier was the scene of a collision that nearly killed Austrian Karl Wenglinger, also driving a Sauber. He fell into a coma, but survived.

"I think the cars have improved dramatically with safety since Karl Wendlinger's accident and the barrier has been moved back since my accident," said Button.

"But there are some areas - and this is the main one - where we want it to be safer so that we can come here and enjoy the racing.

"It is a tricky corner and it's difficult to know what the solution is, but I think we need to look further into what we can do with the run-off there.

"We all know that motor racing is dangerous and it says it on the passes, but there is always more we can do. We need to keep tweaking some areas, sit down and really improve for the future."

He explained also that cars have a tendency to veer right under braking for the chicane due to the undulations of the track - a problem made worse by cars with exhaust-blown diffusers running on low fuel loads, as in qualifying.

He said: "It is when you first hit the brakes that you feel it. The rear goes very light for some reason and it seems to be more of an issue this year because of the blown diffuser systems.

"The rear goes very light and at that point you become a passenger, it pitches you into the right hand side and you lose braking ability as you lose two wheels."

He praised the work of International Motoring Federation (FIA) technical delegate Charlie Whiting in removing 'speed humps' from the road following Rosberg's accident.

"If they had still been there, it would have been even worse," said Button. Webber said: "It has always been bumpy there under the brakes and every year the cars we have are a bit different aerodynamically. "In terms of safety, it's probably an area we need to look at and improve on, especially after the accidents there - JB (Button) and the others going back to Karl Wendlinger.

"There is a bump there, but it is just that if you have a problem with the rear, the chance to recover is very low. We saw Vitaly (Petrov) and he went straight down (the escape road).

"We were also lucky they pulled the sleeping policeman up after this morning because he (Perez) could have had a nastier accident.

"We need to keep learning and to work hard with the FIA and with the drivers and help out the guys - we are the ones in the cockpit so it's nice to improve if we can."

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