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FIA request safety changes to Azerbaijan pit-lane

FIA request safety changes to Azerbaijan pit-lane

FIA request safety changes to Azerbaijan pit-lane

FIA request safety changes to Azerbaijan pit-lane

Changes are to be made to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix pit-lane entry after a request from the FIA regarding safety concerns.

The pit-lane is at the end of the Baku City Circuit's long flat-out section that sees F1 cars hit top speed before committing to its entry.

To slow cars down before reaching the pit-lane proper, a mini-chicane has been in place since the first race at the circuit in 2017.

But the entry to the pit-lane came under scrutiny last year after Max Verstappen's spectacular tyre failure at top speed down the long pit-straight, with his Red Bull thankfully angling out towards the parallel barrier opposite the pits.

"We are slightly changing the pit-lane entrance," explained Baku City Circuit executive director Arif Rahimov ahead of this year's event on June 10-12.

"There are no changes to the track itself but there was a request from the FIA to slightly modify the pit-lane entrance so it is a little bit safer.

"We will see how it goes. Drivers don't typically make any mistakes on the entry to the pit-lane.

"It is the thing that flicks out and before it, so the shape is slightly adjusted."

Adding that Friday running at the event could dictate other changes, Rahimov said: "With the rest, we will see when the cars hit the ground.

"We will not change any turns as such, but like I said, sometimes they come in, they do their practice session and they say 'Okay, that steel kerb needs to go'.

"The turn next to the old city, the narrow section, we have been playing with this kerb since day one. We have been adding it, removing it and adding it again. You can't really know until the cars hit the Tarmac."

Azerbaijan "happy to provide" F1 challenge

The Baku City Circuit includes the narrowest section of track on the F1 calendar through the tight walls next to the castle in the old city.

Drivers complained about the profile of the turns 14-15 chicane at the last grand prix in Miami.

Allaying fears the sport's new generation of cars may raise similar concerns in Azerbaijan, Rahimov said: "There is an FIA regulation on the width of the sections and how the track should be built.

"We have built our track that has been accepted by the FIA so we are kind of in the situation that the track is usable and people can race on it.

"From the other perspective, we have held the races before and no one complained about anything...there were some complaints about steel kerbs here and there that we have removed and tweaked over the years but that is that.

"We have a track right now that is completely usable, it is in line with FIA regulations, it is interesting and to be honest, through the years I haven't heard many complaints from the drivers as to how difficult the track is.

"I know that they like their challenge and we are happy to provide it for them."

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