FIA race director and safety delegate Charlie Whiting has admitted that Baku’s Turn 8 could prove problematic when it comes to incidents and vehicle recovery but insists the circuit isn’t unsafe.
The tight corner, which runs uphill past the famous city wall, is barely wider than two Formula 1 car side-by-side and will present a real challenge for the drivers, but Whiting insists a thorough review of safety was considered before it was given the green-light to feature in the final layout.
“I don’t think there is any reason to have any safety concerns about any part of the circuit, any more than we have for any track because we’ve looked at the safety of every element of the track in great detail [and] we’ve discussed it an awful lot,” Whiting said.
“All of the measures that have been asked for have been put into place.”
Speaking exclusively about Turn 8, Whiting admitted vehicle recovery will be tricky, but no more so than Singapore’s Turn 18 which is a 90-degree left-hand turn which runs under the grandstand and is often the scene of several accidents during the race weekend.
“Turn 8 in particular, of course, if we have an accident on the outside of [the corner] it’s going to make recovery quite difficult, but it’s not too different to Turn 18 in Singapore for example, where they turn under the grandstand [and] that’s always been a problem corner [and] I think Turn 8 will be very similar,” he added.
Whiting revealed that the circuit will feature two DRS zones along with the main start/finish straight and then again between Turns 2 and 3.
“I think the run from Turn 12 to Turn 15 is going to be very fast, [and] the approach to Turn 15 is going to be quite spectacular,” he said.
“Then the very long run, which is from Turn 16, through 17, 18, 19 and 20 – which is all flat out – will be quite amazing to watch. [The DRS Zones] will be on the approach to Turn 1 and then approach to Turn 3.”