Robert Kubica astonishingly escaped his violent crash in the Canadian Grand Prix without serious injury. But the shocking accident on lap 27 of the Canadian Grand Prix could very nearly have had much more serious consequences.
As the video below shows Kubica’s car ran wide on the fast, curved approach to the Virage du Casino hairpin. As the BMW ran onto the grass the front of the car raised into the air.It clipped one exposed concrete barrier before hitting a second head-on.
Both these barriers were fairly low compared to the tall fences that separate spectators from the track. The consequences had the BMW cleared the barrier and hit traffic coming in the opposite direction don’t bear thinking about.
Fortunately it seems the car’s impact structure behaved exactly as it was designed to. Although the car suffered extensive damaged in the impacts and when it rolled over, these served to dissipate the force of the crash and lessen the impacts on Kubica.
Comparing Kubica’s crash with Michael Schumacher’s accident at Silverstone in 1999, in which the Ferrari driver broke his leg, and it’s plain to see that car impact resistance is continuing to progress. Kubica suffered no worse than a sprained ankle.
But the crash asks more questions of circuit safety. Was the grass area Kubica hit too bumpy? Should it have been another type of surface – gravel or concrete? Are the retaining walls inside the circuit too low?
Nobody wants to see circuits emasculated and made unchallenging. There was some criticism made of the Melbourne organisers earlier this year for choosing to eradicate a bump on the exit of the final corner that Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya had fallen foul of in 2006.
But just where do you draw the line?