Jul.8 (GMM) Two prominent F1 figures are proposing that Spa-Francorchamps installs a 1994-style chicane in the wake of single-seater junior Dilano van ‘t Hoff’s fatal crash last weekend.
Formula 1 will host its Belgian GP at the fabled circuit at the end of this month, as some call for urgent safety changes.
“You can’t see anything coming over that hill in bad weather conditions,” said seven time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
“This has happened now twice, so we definitely need to take a step.”
Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher thinks a solution similar to what Spa put in place in the wake of Ayrton Senna’s death in 1994 could work.
Then, drivers braked for a slow chicane rather than blasting through the treacherous Eau Rouge.
“Now, you fly blindly up the mountain at almost 300,” Schumacher told Auto Bild. “If someone’s sitting on the driving line, you can no longer react.”
He thinks a 1994-style chicane could now work again in 2023.
“You’d put it in front of Eau Rouge again,” said the former Williams and Toyota driver. “This drastically reduces the speed and therefore the risk of a frontal crash at high speeds.”
Another proponent of the controversial chicane solution is current Alfa Romeo driver Guanyu Zhou, who admits he still can’t bring himself to watch the replay of his frightening upside-down crash at Silverstone a year ago.
“I looked at it once in the medical centre,” said the Chinese, “because I wanted to know why I turned over.
“Now when I see a replay of it I turn the screen off because it’s scary going back to that. I try not to think about it,” Zhou added.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that he thinks a new chicane at Spa could work.
“From my side, the layout needs to change,” the 24-year-old said ahead of the British GP.
“I lost a friend of mine there in 2019, Anthoine (Hubert), so it kind of hurts there. It’s an iconic corner for sure, but just for safety, we’ve lost too many lives in the past and I think it’s time.
“I saw some videos of 1994, I think – when there was a slow little chicane,” Zhou recalled. “I think that’s the right way forward.”