Formula One drivers say they can’t understand why the Miami track still has an unprotected concrete wall on the corner where Carlos Sainz crashed on Friday, and Esteban Ocon had what he considered the biggest impact of his career in his last training session.
Sainz and Ocon met at a left-handed turn 13 in the middle of a twisted series ending sector two, leading to the much-criticized narrow chicane Turn 14/15.
Ocon said his stroke was registered for 51 years. It cracked the chassis of his Alpine and meant he could not participate in the qualifiers.
Following Sainz’s crash on Friday, drivers used their regular meeting with race director Niels Wittich to ask the FIA to install an absorbent Tecpro barrier on that corner, but they didn’t get their request.
“What’s actually unacceptable is that it was 51g for what shouldn’t have been such a big impact,” said Ocon, who had knee pain after the collision.
“Carlos complained to the race director, we were all there and listening to it and nothing was done.
“Carlos said the impact was too great and today he felt huge. Honestly, it’s probably the biggest attempt of my career.
“So yesterday Carlos was injured, today I am injured too.
“The FIA should work harder for our safety, but it is important that we will be able to race, and I will be able to race tomorrow.
“When a professional driver of the Carlos caliber, who drives a Ferrari, says something like this yesterday, I think the minimum is that it needs to be taken into account and done the best it can to make a change.”
Race realizes that the FIA’s view is that the bend in question has not been identified as one in which Tecpro would be necessary because of its relatively low speed.
He also finds installing the Tecpro barrier in the middle of the Grand Prix weekend impractical, but would consider a change for future races in Miami.
After Ocon’s accident, Sainz said he could not understand why the FIA had not complied with his request since Friday.
“I’m sorry to be critical, but I told the FIA yesterday that my fall in second gear shouldn’t be that hard,” he said.
“Today my neck hurt a little and I told them to put Tecpro there because it is a very hard concrete wall.
“Esteban collapsed and I’m pretty sure he felt it too and it’s one of those things I’ll never understand.”
Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll suggested it was not too late for organizers to change the barrier before the race.
“We’re in the car and we know how it feels when you hit a wall,” Alonso said.
“Carlos was very clear yesterday that it is not okay to have only a wall.
“Today we had another accident, the same angle, the same angle, another driver was injured, so tomorrow we have a second chance to put something in there.”
When asked about the lack of a Tecpro in Turn 13, Aston driver Martin Stroll replied “we should just put it on” and called the fact that it wasn’t done after Sainz’s collision “ridiculous, a joke”.
Valtteri Bottas of Alfa Romeo added that he did not see “no reason not to be” Tecpro on the corner and “should have been there today”.
And Lando Norris said “it’s the same thing Lance said” when The Race said Stroll called it a “joke”.
“There are some things we understand and know better than what they can see,” Norris said.
“Because we know where there are a few more risks and where the car is at the border and things like that.
“Given that it was launched, and it’s a security thing, and it’s something we gave advice about, and nothing was done, then I think it was … just like Lance said.”
But other drivers said they understand why change is not possible in the middle of the weekend, and Sebastian Vettel, George Russell and Sergio Perez are all looking for guarantees that change will change by 2023.
“I don’t think it was possible for them to take any action, in fairness to the FIA,” Perez said.
“But we certainly talked about it and were surprised by the amount of g that Carlos had.
“It simply came to our notice then. We want additional precautions in the future and to avoid such accidents. “
Russell agreed that “you can’t really react on a Friday night to make some big changes,” but said the entire section of the track should change by 2023.
“I think this place could be an amazing track to reconsider that sector,” the Mercedes driver said.
“I don’t think any driver thinks that this series of four corners is comfortable and doesn’t bring anything. It will not improve overtaking, it is not comfortable to drive.
“This has the potential to be a really great ride track if they find a slightly different schedule there.”
Vettel also called for barrier changes to be made elsewhere on the schedule in Miami after the race ends this weekend.
“Around the flat I think we should have SAFER barriers, we shouldn’t just have these concrete blocks,” he said.
“You don’t have to go, you can get a puncture that you’re not guilty of. It’s always nicer to hit something softer than harder. ”