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Spa aiming to finalise gravel trap design this year

Daniel Herrero

Thursday 5th September, 2019 - 1:48pm

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The run from Eau Rouge to Raidillon at Spa-Francorchamps

Management of Spa-Francorchamps is aiming to finalise the design of already planned gravel traps at Raidillon this year, after Anthoine Hubert’s death brought the matter to new prominence.

Hubert died as a result of the injuries he sustained in a crash in the Formula 2 Feature Race at last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix while Juan Manuel Correa, who was unable to avoid hitting the Frenchman, remains in hospital.

The FIA is investigating the crash but modifications to run-off areas at that section of the circuit were already planned in preparation for the Spa 24 Hours FIM Endurance World Championship motorcycle race that will be held there in 2022.

Spa-Francorchamps CEO Nathalie Maillet told Belgian news agency Belga, “The circuit has always worked with the FIA to improve safety. We have to await its report and analyse the exact causes of the accident.

“We are working towards a FIM Grade C licence. We are still in discussion with the FIA and FIM about the homologation of the circuit and work is planned on the Raidillon for the Spa 24 Hours for bikes, which will take place in 2022.

“The run-off areas will be expanded and carefully designed to avoid frontal impacts.

“We’re not planning to modify the actual layout of the Raidillon. But it’s certain that we will install gravel traps. The regulations for bikes are more strict, so the upgrade for motorcycles will have positive consequences for cars.

“Currently, we’re debating where to put the gravel traps and their depth, and if they will need to cover the entire length of a corner.

“We will try to finalise everything by the end of the year so we can apply for the appropriate planning permits.”

Maillet was also adamant that the tragedy does not threaten Spa-Francorchamps’ future as a Formula 1 venue.

“This accident does not put in doubt the future of Formula 1 at Spa-Francorchamps,” she declared.

“What happened is a racing incident. Of course we are all saddened by what happened. We have to continue developing the circuit. We will also continue to develop the extraction centre.”

Meanwhile, the car raced by Giuliano Alesi, who triggered the accident when he started to spin at Raidillon, has been impounded according to a statement from representatives of his Trident team-mate, Ralph Boschung.

“Due to last weekend’s tragic events in the FIA Formula 2 Championship at Spa-Francorchamps, Giuliano Alesi’s car has been impounded by the Belgium authorities, as it was involved in the serious accident,” read the statement.

“The result is that for the next race at Monza the Trident team will only have one car, which will be used by Alesi. This means that Ralph Boschung will not be able to compete at this weekend’s Italian F2 round.

“Ralph would like to extend his deepest condolences to Anthoine Hubert’s family, friends and the team, and also wishes Juan Manuel Correa the best in his recoveries.

“The Swiss driver is looking to return to action for the penultimate F2 round at Sochi, Russia (27-29 September).”

F2 supports F1 at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

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