Are F1’s new combination kerbs safe?

The combination kerbs in use at Monza last year

The combination kerbs in use at Monza last year

I’ve mentioned here before my concern that the new combination kerbs being used on several F1 tracks could cause an out-of-control car to fly into the air.

The kerbs were installed at Monza ahead of last year’s F1 race. Yesterday at the circuit a Formula Two driver hit one of them and flew across the track at head height.

Nicola de Marco struck the combination kerb on the first lap of the F2 race. It pitched his car into the air as it crossed the track and, had there been another car on the track at that point, de Marco’s car would have hit it at head height.

It’s not hard to see how a similar accident could happen in F1 – we’ve already had two similar crashes year: Kamui Kobayashi’s at Melbourne and Vitantonio Liuzzi’s at Shanghai.

An out-of-control car is always going to be dangerous but if it strikes a kerb which springs it into the air its driver is powerless to slow it down and it had the potential to strike another car in the place its driver is most exposed.

The combination kerbs are effective at stopping drivers from cutting corners because of the raised section which discourages drivers from running across them. They kerbs are also being used at some corners in Melbourne, Singapore and the new section at Silverstone.

Do you think the kerbs are safe enough? How could they be improved? Have your say in the comments.

This low shot gives an impression of how high the kerbs are

This low shot gives an impression of how high the kerbs are (click to enlarge)

Combination kerbs

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93 comments on Are F1’s new combination kerbs safe?

  1. PeriSoft said on 24th May 2010, 16:08

    If you ask me, it’s high time to go back to the ol’ half-buried tire chicane. That’ll sort the men from the boys.

  2. BasCB said on 24th May 2010, 21:05

    Not sure about this, but from what i have seen – the video as well as the flying cars so far this year – those kerbs seem to have some problems.

    So i hope the GPDA and FIA get together to have a thought about what they want to have those kerbs there for in the first place and test a better solution.

    Maybe penalizing drivers for repeated misuse would be a solution, but it would mean more overtaking having to be adressed by the stewards, which is not good.

  3. How about this, you give the crowd a box full of my lovely tomatoes, anyone who cuts a corner on a lap, an announcement is made over the tannoy and the crowd can then pelt the driver with tomatoes for the whole of the next lap.
    That would surely stop them from cutting corners!

    Love Sammy.

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