Spa to replace Raidillon tarmac run-off with gravel trap

© XPB 

Future changes to the Spa-Francorchamps circuit mandated by an upgrade to FIM eligibility will see the return of gravel at the current run-off area lining Raidillon in 2022.

The death of 22-year-old Anthoine Hubert in last Saturday's Formula 2 feature race was the result of a series of an unfortunate sequence of events that unfolded on the exit of Raidillon.

However, in the aftermath of the tragedy, many pointed to the corner's tarmac run-off areas as an element that only incites drivers to keep their foot down and also fails to slow a car that has veered off course.

Unfortunately, the strip of tarmac on the right where Hubert was struck by the oncoming car of Juan Manuel Correa is located on the track's endurance racing pit lane exit, so covering that area with gravel is not an option.

But in order to conform with a Grade C level of eligibility imposed by the FIM (International Motorcycle Federation), Spa will execute changes to the run-off areas at Eau Rouge and Raidillon with a deadline set for 2022 and the return of the 24 Hours of Spa motorcycle event.

"No changes to the track itself will be undertaken at Raidillon," Spa-Francorchamps boss Nathalie Maillet told the Belga press agency.

"However, what is certain is that we will install gravel traps. The standards for motorcycles are stricter. 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 insisted that last weekend's tragedy would not jeopardize the future of the F1 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.

"What happened was unfortunate, and reminds us that a zero risk does not exist," she added.

"The circuit has always worked hand in hand with the FIA for the benefit of safety. We will now await the results of the FIA's investigation into the exact causes of the accident.

"This does not call into question the future presence of F1 at Spa," insisted Maillet. "What happened was a racing incident.

"Of course, we're all affected by this. We must to continue to develop the track."

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