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Vettel, Alonso: Why F1 pilots scorn risk

2014-10-10 11:01

TAKING ON SOCHI: Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel (left) chats with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso ahead of the 2014 Russian GP in Sochi. Image: AP / Luca Bruno

SOCHI, Russia - Sebastian Vettel requested patience and understanding as he and other Formula 1 drivers tackled questions regarding race safety following the crash-marred 2014 Japanese GP on October 5.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the inaugural 2014 Russian GP on October 12, Vettel, who earlier announced he would leave Red Bull at the end of 2014, said there was no "golden answer" to questions on safety.

Jules Bianchi remains in a "critical but stable" condition in Japan following his life-threatening crash, when his Marussia car collided with a recovery vehicle.


Vettel said: "I think it is very difficult right now to give the golden answer. There are a lot of circumstances to consider in that type of accident but there is something to learn, always.

"We have to try to digest it and make the right conclusions. It would be wrong after just a couple of days to come up with something not thought through."

On his future, he said: "I hope to make an announcement soon and then, when that comes out, then it will be clear enough and you can draw a conclusion on why I had to wait."

Vettel has been linked with a move to replace double F1 champion Fernando Alonso at Ferrari but none of the parties has commented.

Alonso supported Vettel's proposal to wait and see before making any proposals in reaction to Bianchi's accident. He said: "There is an investigation going on and we don't have the details to make any changes. Let the people do their work and then, whatever, we can share it."

Each explained how the thrill of racing overwhelmed concern about personal safety.


Vettel said: "We share a common passion for racing and competing and fortunately in F1 we have the best and the quickest cars in the world - and the most excitement. And the best satisfaction. But there is always some risk, which is a great part of the feeling and why you feel so alive."

Later, he added: "We are all old enough to have our own passports and to make our own decisions so it is our conscious decision to go racing.

"We share the love and the thrill of managing the car on the limit and there is always a risk that something can go wrong. It is in the nature of the sport. Look at the speeds involved.

"Look, too, at the safety record and we have come a long way. If he is not happy, a driver, he is old enough to say 'no'.

"Surely, we have been fortunate that in our generation there have been crashes with limited outcome but last week reminded us how apparent the risk is - and how quickly it can change."

Felipe Massa, who described the Suzuka race as "the worst of my life", explained that his love of racing inspired him and enabled him to dismiss the dangers.

"Sure, you think about it," he said. "It doesn't mean it is the right thing to do. I love to race, to compete, it is when I feel happiness and pleasure.

"We know there is a risk."

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