GPDA to push for larger run-off area

The Grand Prix Drivers Association (GPDA) looks set to request that, in light of Heikki Kovalainen s spectacular crash over the weekend, the FIA extend the run-off area at Turn 9 on the Barcelona track.

Kovalainen crashed into the tyre barrier after a mechanical failure on his car. It is estimated that he was travelling around 130km/h when he hit the barrier and experienced around 27G of deceleration forces. Luckily for the Finnish driver he escaped shaken but unhurt and is expected to race in the Turkish Grand Prix in a fortnight.

Talking to Autosport, current GPDA director Mark Webber has explained that they will be pushing for changes to be made to the corner ahead of next season s race at the track.

“We need to make the run-off there a bit bigger,” he explained. “Bourdais also had a crash there in testing and we need to look at it. The run-off on the exit of the corner is good, but not so on the entry. If you have a problem on the way in, there is not enough run off. But we will learn from the accident and we’ll move the barriers back next year I am sure.”

Meanwhile, the FIA are investigating why it took doctors so long to reach Kovalainen after the crash. The Finn was trapped underneath the tyre barriers, unconscious, and it took the doctors several minutes before they arrived on scene.

Dr. Stephen Olvey, a member of the FIA safety division, has said that delays of only a few minutes can prove the different between whether the driver survives the accident or not.

“If you are unconscious and perhaps not breathing, you don t have more than two or three minutes before you get some kin of significant damage, so that s going to have to be looked into,” he explained to the Associated Press.

A spokesperson for the FIA confirmed they are looking into the incident. “It is too early to comment on the incident other than to confirm the FIA s safety experts have already begun a very detailed analysis of the accident data.”