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F1 to 'crack down' on rookies

2012-09-13 07:48

GROSJEAN TAKES FLIGHT: Romain Grosjean nearly crushes Ferrari's Fernando Alonso as his Lotus goes airborne during a first lap crash in Belgium.

LONDON, UK - Formula 1's governing body needs to crack down on dangerous behaviour in feeder series like GP2 to improve safety standards in grands prix, according to former F1 driver Alexander Wurz.

A lively debate has been going on in Formula 1 since inexperienced Lotus driver Romain Grosjean was banned for the Italian Grand Prix for causing a pile-up in Belgium in August 2012.

Grosjean will be back for the Singapore race.


His team said he has learned a lesson from spending time watching and listening in the garages at Monza while Jerome d'Ambrosio drove his car.

The Spa accident saw Grosjean's car lift up over the front of the Ferrari of championship leader Fernando Alonso, narrowly missing his head, in a collision as the field funnelled into the first corner.

Wurz, lucky to have escaped injury in a similar incident in Australia in 2007 when David Coulthard's Red Bull flew over his Williams, said drivers coming into F1 needed more awareness instilled in them in the feeder series.

Wurz, who retired from F1 in 2007, said: "Things like the start collision with Romain can and will always happen.

"But especially looking at GP2 races, which is the feeder series, the driver standards there are appalling, bad, very bad and they are coming in to F1.

"It's something we clearly must work on that the feeder series are very strict and of the same standard as F1. And we have to achieve this and address it very quickly," he said.

Wurz suggested this would involve the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) making sure rules and penalties were applied with the same rigour as in F1 by stewards and the race director.

Red Bull's Mark Webber agreed that the newcomers, including Williams' Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado who has had a string of penalties in F1 this season, needed to be educated about the dangers and to take responsibility.


Webber said: "In the last 10 years, the level of aggressiveness has ramped up a bit just because guys know that usually they'll be able to walk away from a crash."

"But you can be aggressive and safe or aggressive and unsafe. I've always said F1 is not a finishing school when it comes to racing."

Grosjean and Maldonado are both ex-GP2 champions and recognised as quick but also very aggressive.

F1 has not had a driver fatality in a race since triple champion Ayrton Senna died at Imola in 1994.

Mercedes' Michael Schumacher, is now the only driver still on the starting grid to have taken part in that fatal Grand Prix weekend.

A new "Playstation" generation has arrived that is used to seeing racers walk away or escape unhurt from massive smashes.

Webber pointed out that the nature of racing this year, with the Pirelli tyres and DRS rear wing system making it easier to overtake, meant drivers did not have to be so 'desperate' at the start.

He said: "You do need to get involved but some guys are having more incidents than the others and they need to take that on board. We should be the best at what we do, racing in all conditions on all kinds of tracks, and driver etiquette has to match that."

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