Former racer and Chairman of the Grand Prix Driver’s Association, Alexander Wurz, has explained his wish for Formula One to improve the safety of its cars but race at “more extreme” circuits.
Wurz has been an advocate for safety in motor racing for many years, both during his career and since hanging up his helmet. Most recently the Austrian has been heavily involved in the current push for greater cockpit protection in Formula One.
While Wurz wants the changes to be put in place to keep drivers safe and put an end to incidents such as Jules Bianchi‘s life-ending crash at Suzuka in 2014, he also believes that safer F1 cars would mean a return to old-school circuits with smaller run-off areas would be feasible.
“Formula 1 has to be authentic, with the fastest cars and the best drivers on the coolest circuits,” Wurz explained to GPUpdate.net.
“In order for us to keep up with the speed, the perception of speed, because the perception of speed is changing nowadays with computer games and Hollywood movies, we have to make sure our product on TV appears very fast and looks challenging.
“Someone watching on TV at home has to think, ‘Wow, I could not drive these cars’, just by looking at it, it doesn’t even need a good commentator. “
“They must be heroes who drive these cars, and my point to achieve this is, yes we have to go faster, and what we are doing already in going faster is good.
“I would make the cars safer, but then I’d go to way more extreme circuit designs.
“So that [means] when someone goes wide he’s not going wide on a 20-metre asphalt run-off area with no consequence, there’s a wall, grass or gravel and there are instant consequences.
“I would increase the safety of the cars so the Race Director can let them race more aggressively, can let them race in the rain, we can go to city tracks, we can have more extreme tracks. “It will then appear much more extreme on TV and social media, whatever.
“If we keep the safety of the cars the same, the Race Director, because of our system of modern society, he will stop for red flags, he will have to be quite tough on the boys racing each other, and that means we are frozen, and in any sport if you are frozen there’s no development.
“That’s not authentic, that’s not F1, so that’s my whole philosophy about safety, it’s not about the halo, just make the cars safer and they can go faster, more aggressive.”