Updated: Feb 28
Written by Valentin Varga, Edited by Harshi Vashee
In the last couple of years, if there were any big incidents in Spa Francorchamps, they were mostly in the Eau Rouge and Raidillon combination. In the last three years, we saw many horrifying accidents at that part of the racing track.
In 2019 when we saw the terrible accident of Anthoine Hubert, the dangers of the corner were shown to us in the most extreme way possible.
This year we saw a terrible accident in the 24 Hours of Spa, after which four drivers were hospitalized, and then there was the most recent accident in the most iconic corners of Spa Francorchamps, which happened during the W-Series Qualifying Session.
The problem with accidents in the Eau Rouge Combination is that cars that come off the track easily bounce back on the racing line, where the following cars are on collision course with the cars out of control.
But what can be done to avoid those accidents on that part of the track? Here are five Solutions.
Adding more runoff after the Eau Rouge Combination would make it harder for cars to come back on the racing line after contact with the tire barriers.
Using a different kind of barrier. The tire barriers naturally absorb the forces in a crash and “spit” the car out to let the forces evade. If there was any kind of barrier that would absorb the forces in a crash without putting the car back on track, it would be more than the right decision to use those barriers after Eau Rouge.
And now we come to the extreme and nearly impossible solutions to make the hill climb in Spa safer.
Change the Eau Rouge/Raidillon corners, so they aren’t those extremely fast corners taken at about 300 km/h.
Terrain Changes. The danger could also be reduced by flattening the hill out, to have a more progressive hill climb instead of an extremely steep part of the racing track. The problem with those two solutions is that the classic character of Spa may be lost, which would be a real shame.
The most radical solution and also the solution that would reduce the most danger is, and I hate to say this, to remove Spa from the F1 calendar. There can be no racing accidents at a track where no cars are racing.
In reality, this isn’t possible to do because Spa is the highlight for many fans and an F1 season without a race in Spa Francorchamps is inconceivable. It also would be an impossible task to find a suitable successor for that race.
Spa needs some change. Motorsport was and will always be dangerous but it is important to reduce the risk of fatal accidents or incidents that hurt the drivers in the most extreme way possible as much as possible.