Aitken suggests minor change to Raidillon to improve safety

© XPB 

Jack Aitken believes that pushing back the outside wall at Spa-Francorchamp's Raidillon corner would go a long way towards improving safety at the daunting uphill sweep.

The Williams reserve driver suffered fractures to his collarbone and a vertabra in a crash sustained during the recent Spa 24 Hours race. Aitken spun his Lamborghini on the run up the hill, hit the barrier on the right and bounced back into the middle of the track where he was hit by another car.

The accident was reminiscent of the tragic sequence of events that took place in 2019 during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend that claimed the life of F2 driver Anthoine Hubert.

Spa is currently in the process of undertaking changes to several run-off areas around the track, with gravel traps replacing tarmac to allow for motorcycle racing to return to the Ardennes circuit.

But Aitken – who has been in contact with representatives from the FIA about improving safety at Spa's Raidillon - hopes that changes can be made to the run-off section after Eau Rouge,

"Obviously, it's a bit of a sensitive subject because we have had some pretty serious accidents over the last decades, it's always been a danger spot," Aitken told

"I've thought about it a fair bit. In my opinion, I think they've done quite a good job for the most part with what is inherently, a very fast corner with a blind exit.

"On the right side it's very open at the top, I don't think there's any major changes that need to be made there and we saw a couple of cars over the weekend in the Spa 24 hours that did lose it to the right, and that was relatively completely fine.

"There's enough space and it's far enough off the track that you're okay.

"The problem is with the kind of crash that I had when you hit the barrier on the left, the distance from the middle of Eau Rouge, when you're going up the hill, into that left barrier isn't big enough. You don't have time to slow down.

"It's also for the type of accident that I had where you are overcorrecting a slide, the car was still relatively straight for me. But I knew there was no way that I was going to avoid the barrier or have time to turn away from it, because the run-off is just not deep enough.

"So that's one thing, that it needs to be deeper."

Aitken believes that an impact on the left-hand side of latter part of Raidillon needs to be contained to avoid a car bouncing back into the path of oncoming traffic.

"Because of it not being deep enough, when you do collide it absorbs the energy and bounces you back out, it puts you right into the firing line," explained the Anglo-Korean driver.

"I've already spoken with a couple of people on the FIA side to try and see if there's anything that I can do from the drivers' perspective just to offer my opinion, prefacing that with, I am not the circuit designer, I don't know what the challenges are with that corner in terms of putting things back and around.

"I don't think gravel would have helped on this occasion because travelling 200-250 kilometres an hour, with maybe five to 10 metres of runoff, it's just not enough to slow down and actually it could have made it worse because the dust would have obscured the view even more.

"Speaking to the drivers behind me who were involved, that was one of the main issues. They knew there was a big crash because of all the debris but the smoke meant they had no idea where the car was, and with the crest, you can't see that far ahead."

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