Sainz urges Jeddah F1 marshals to "stay sharp" amid accident risks

Carlos Sainz has cautioned that track officials in Saudi Arabia will have to “stay sharp” due to the potential for high-speed accidents on the new Jeddah Formula 1 track.

Sainz urges Jeddah F1 marshals to "stay sharp" amid accident risks

The high average speeds and sequences of flat-out and blind corners mean that drivers will have little warning if there's an accident ahead.

With the circuit's characteristics in mind, Sainz said drivers will have to rely on track marshals and race control to react quickly to incidents. 

"Obviously, as a driver, you try not to think too much about this," said Sainz, when asked if he had any safety concerns by Motorsport.com. "And you try not to focus on these kind of things, and rely fully on the FIA standards, that they normally pretty accurate and pretty good.

"The only thing that as drivers we've talked about is that if there's a crash in front of you, three seconds in front of you, we are doing above 250km/h in every corner, and there's not going to be time for us to react because there's a wall in between the crash and ourselves, we cannot see through walls.

"And this is maybe the only big point to raise with the FIA, just to stay sharp with yellow flags and safety cars, red flags, because, it's gonna be an interesting one."

AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly agreed that marshals will have to be on the ball when conducting their duties. 

"I think we all know it, and we all thought about it," said Gasly. "And I think for the [marshals it will be important to be really fast and efficient to react, because wherever you shunt basically the car will bounce back on the track, and the average speed here is 250km/h.

"So it's gonna be a busy weekend for the guys, and hopefully they're gonna be on top of it."

Damon Hill, Sky TV, in a Williams FW07

Damon Hill, Sky TV, in a Williams FW07

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Gasly also highlighted that the prospect of drivers impeding each other could be a concern during the course of the weekend.

In Baku the field were told to keep up a high speed through the fast last sector before starting their hot laps or when coming back to the pits, and the Frenchman believes that his colleagues will be sensible.

"The high speed you can't really slow down," he said. "So we'll have to use common sense between drivers, because it can be very dangerous.

"I've had the experience with Brendon [Hartley] in Baku, a very high speed section, coming into like a very slow car in blind corner is not something we should do.

"So I think it's just using common sense between us drivers. I think with the last long straight, you can create your gap at the end. This is okay. And the last straight is wide enough. But clearly before that we'll have to be quite careful."

Sainz reckons  that drivers should keep a good speed in the fast sections when not on a flying lap.

"Hopefully there's not too much," said the Spaniard. "There's no need to go too slow in all those high speed corners, because the speed differential can be huge here in a cool down lap. So yeah, let's see, could be quite an interesting one.

"But as I said, we need to rely on FIA safety measures and hope that they've done their homework correctly, because the track itself looks challenging, looks different. It looks a bit like a completely different circuit than we've been recently."

Circuit detail

Circuit detail

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Safety concerns aside, Sainz sees the nature of Jeddah as a positive move for F1.

"I think as a baseline F1 should have normal racetracks where they are fast tracks full of high speed corners where you can extract everything out of a F1 car, still be safe to do so but not gain an advantage by going out of the track. That is what happens in modern F1 tracks nowadays. 

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"I think we as drivers were pretty clear this is what we want. This looks like an experiment of high speed circuit plus walls that we will need to see how it goes.

"It looks like the racing could be actually good fun. I just hope that everything obviously safe and that we don't have any surprises."

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