Sausage kerbs – How safe are they?

Tuesday 17th September 2019

The debate continues into the use of Sausage Kerbs as a safety measure in motorsport. A recent crash involving Formula 3 driver Alex Peroni has put the controversial safety device back under the microscope. 

These sausage kerbs sit off the track on fast corners and can look like little ramps or speed bumps. They have been in place across motorsport for some time, but are a relatively new introduction into Formula 1. The objective of them is to discourage drivers from running wide to reduce the number of collisions into barriers and potential damage to cars going off-road.

The FIA has responded by saying it is not planning to remove them from Formula 1 circuits but it still crucial that this conversation takes place. The main issue in race series like F1 where the car is low to the ground is that these kerbs can act like a launch ramp which ca potentially have catastrophic consequences for drivers who are propelled through the air.

Alex Peroni was lucky to escape with his life in what could have been a second fatal crash in two weeks for motorsport following the death of Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert. The F3 driver looked to speed around the Parabolica corner at the Monza track for their Italian Grand Prix when his car was catapulted high into the air and came down hard and upside down on the safety barrier. After reporting minor back pain following the incident, medical officials confirmed that Peroni sustained a fractured vertebra.

Unfortunately, it seems extremely hard to physically slow down open-wheel racecars without also risking causing a serious incident. Gravel pits and sausage kerbs have both contributed to flipping cars, so it’s hard to see what to try next if you still want to slow down cars that run off course. However, whilst there are lives at stake, it is important that we continue to have this discussion and lobby for further research that could lead to a viable and safer alternative.

The Sean Edwards Foundation (SEF) has amassed a wealth of support from world-class racers including Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo, as well as a growing team of ambassadors who are integral to the success of the foundation; raising awareness and amplifying the message to improve safety in motorsports worldwide and on every level.

Collaborators include the FIA, SRO Motorsports Group and the British Motorsports Marshals Club.

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