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Sauber: Perez shunt reminded me of Karl Wendlinger

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Sauber: Perez shunt reminded me of Karl Wendlinger
May 29, 2011, 8:28 AM

After his ferocious accident yesterday, Sergio Perez was due to spend the night in hospital under observation, as doctors assess the concussion he ...

After his ferocious accident yesterday, Sergio Perez was due to spend the night in hospital under observation, as doctors assess the concussion he suffered in particular. He escaped without any broken bones.

The incident was particularly vivid for his team boss, Peter Sauber, who lived through a similar but far worse accident with Karl Wendlinger in 1994. The Wendlinger accident came a few weeks after the death of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger at Imola, a time when the sport was already feeling raw. Wendlinger was in a coma and, although he recovered and still races today in GT cars, he never returned to his peak levels as an F1 driver afterwards.

"I thought of that (accident) twice, first with Rosberg (who lost control at the same place in practice) and then Perez," said Sauber "But today the safety of the track is far better. Then the protective barriers were full of water. Also the cars then weren't what they are today. I've seen Perez' chassis, its completely intact. That's why he's not got any serious injuries.

"Wendlinger didn't have any visible injuries but he had a sideways bang on the head against the water filled barriers."

Jenson Button also had a serious accident at the same spot eight years ago that forced him to sit out for a while with a bad concussion. He said,

"This is a danger spot. It is where I crashed and where Karl Wendlinger had an accident which was horrific. We love coming here and it is a great circuit but we need to look at safety.

“The problem is that when you brake the car goes light at the back. If you lock the rear wheels you are a passenger. You slide as if on a sled. We accept that motor-racing is dangerous – it says so on the tickets – and there have been a lot of safety improvements, so we just need to look further at this area.”

There have been various suggestions about how to make that spot safer including the idea that a barrier could run diagonally from the armco on the right to the left side of the point which Perez hit, thus taking away the impact with the point.

There have been several accidents and incidents at that point this weekend. There is a bump on the rise which seems to be causing the problem, but Fernando Alonso believes that the extreme aerodynamics on the cars this season are also a factor,

there is a bump there in the braking zone which is not helping.

"It is the nature of the circuit that maybe you lose the aerodynamics there, " said Alonso. "Because of the way it goes around the circuit. It is a combination of many things - the poor grip that we have with the new rules and this year, the aerodynamics of the car that are for sure going for an extreme way of developing the car with the blown diffuser and exhausts. That is the way it is unfortunately."

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Sergio Perez Shop Now
Teams Sauber