Carlos Sainz says there is a need to improve the standard of pit lane safety, adding that some F1 circuits feature pit lanes that are too narrow for all the personnel and equipment to fit safely and securely.
Sainz crossed the line fifth in last weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix, but dropped to eighth in the final classification for an unsafe release during a late-race pit stop under the Safety Car (main picture).
The Spaniard was adjudged to have been released dangerously into the path of Fernando Alonso at a time when the pit lane was especially busy, with many teams looking to take advantage of the Safety Car period to change tyres.
Earlier in that race, the Spaniard had had a chaotic 20-second stop when his team did not have all his tyres ready for him, during which Sergio Perez’s Red Bull drove over a Ferrari wheel gun that had been strewn to one side.
Having been involved in two separate incidents in Zandvoort’s narrow pit lane during the race, Sainz said that such tight confines were putting the safety of F1 mechanics at risk.
Sainz decries ‘too tight’ pit lanes
“Absolutely,” Sainz said in response to a question from RacingNews365.com over whether the pit lane at Zandvoort was too narrow.
“I think it’s something that is not talked about enough, that we go to pit lanes during the year that are definitely too tight.
“We need to improve safety for the mechanics, because we forget that those people wearing suits and helmets during the pitstops are in the middle of cars going in at 80km/h and they are literally centimetres apart from accidents and very dangerous situations.”
In addition to Zandvoort, Sainz also referenced Budapest and Singapore as circuits with pit lanes that are too cramped.
“Zandvoort is a great track, I want to go back there every year, but we need to think about the mechanics and how tight everything is in there, because it’s just too tight, and I think we need to improve the safety,” said Sainz.
“We talk a lot about car safety, circuit safety. But in the pit lane, I’m concerned that one day something would happen if we keep having these narrow pit lanes and so much going on, especially when there’s multiple pit stops going on at the same time.”