Norris escapes a big one at Eau Rouge
The other talking point of an unsettling F1 weekend was the uncomfortable spotlight that fell on Eau Rouge and Raidillon, perhaps the most celebrated piece of race track in the world. Lando Norris was the latest to escape a heavy accident at the swooping uphill sequence on Saturday, just after Sebastian Vettel had warned that conditions were lethal. The four-time world champion had been on the radio to FIA race director Michael Masi to warn of the safety threat and reacted with understandable anger when Norris’s McLaren hit the barrier. Vettel slowed his Aston Martin to check Norris was OK – not the first time this year the German has shown his class as a decent human being.
Norris was shaken by the impact, but happily escaped serious injury and was ready to take his place on the grid for Sunday. His accident followed a day after six drivers in the F1 supporting W Series experienced a terrifying pile-up at the same section of track as sudden rain caught them out. The dull whump of cars slamming into each other, then the sight of Beitske Visser extracting herself from her inverted Tatuus, limping to the side of the track and then collapsing in pain from a leg injury that fortunately turned out not to serious made for deeply uncomfortable viewing. Big sighs of relief all round.
We all love Eau Rouge and no one wants to dilute one of the world’s great pieces of race track, least of all the drivers who take it on. But many of them are demanding an improvement on safety and have been for some time, especially since the death of Anthoine Hubert in a Formula 2 crash in 2019. It would be scandalous to ignore them before another tragedy plays out.
Images courtesy of Motorsport Images.