Sausage kerbs have been a hot topic in Formula 1 since their introduction, with a number of drivers campaigning for them to be banned for several seasons now. But…what actually are the controversial track features?
While most F1 tracks have normal kerbs at every corner, slightly raised and textured areas on the inside or outside of the track in areas where drivers may need to be warned that they’re getting near to the edge of the circuit, sausage kerbs are more rare - and more extreme.
Named for their tenuous physical resemblance to sausages, the controversial additions to tracks look more like small ramps, and are intended to strongly incentivise drivers to stay within track limits, and reduce the numbers of drivers hitting barriers.
While the theory seems sound, the practical side still needs some work, as the sausage kerbs are still incredibly unpopular with drivers.
In short? Yes, sausage kerbs can be incredibly dangerous. A number of accidents have been caused or made worse by the shape of the kerbs in a number of racing series (most commonly in open-wheel racing, like F1).
Australian teenager Alex Peroni was flung up into the air at some 150mph by a sausage kerb at Monza during an F3 race in 2019, suffering a fractured vertebrae - a common injury for sausage kerb incidents.
Abbie Eaton suffered two broken vertebrae after hitting a sausage kerb at the Circuit of the Americas in a 2021 W Series event, with a Formula 4 driver suffering a similar injury at the same track.
Possibly the most terrifying sausage kerb-linked crash came at the Macau Grand Prix in F3 in 2018, when then-teenager Sofia Floersch almost lost her life in a horrifying accident which saw her launched partially over the catch fencing protecting photographers and fans at high speed, necessitating an 11-hour surgery to stabilize her broken back.
There’s been at least one notable sausage kerb incident in F1 too, with an incident at Monza in 2021 seeing Max Verstappen’s car ending up parked on top of Lewis Hamilton’s at the first chicane.
What F1 drivers have said about sausage kerbs
Lando Norris: “We need to act because when these cars hit these kerbs, you do not ride them,” he wrote. “You can be launched into the air. Cars can pop up, do big wheelies and then slam back down again, which can be very painful on the back.”
Vettel: “I’d rather have an endless conversation about track limits, and maybe one time you’re happy, maybe another, you’re unhappy – we can find solutions to that.
“But the main thing is we find a solution to broken backs, which is taking out these sausage kerbs.”
Hamilton : "I can't speak for the other drivers but from me looking at it, those yellow kerbs are quite dangerous. We've seen a couple of incidents already. I don't know how many more it's going to take before a car ends up in the wall and perhaps someone gets hurt.”
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