Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has criticised the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, insisting that changes need to be implemented in the wake of Mick Schumacher’s horrible crash during qualifying.
Alterations were made to the track after two red flags at last year’s inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, when Schumacher slammed into the barrier at Turn 22, before a pile-up between Turns Two and Four made for uncomfortable viewing.
As a result, some apexes, including Turn Six, Turn 10, Turn 22 and Turn 27 were widened to make for clearer visibility and reduce the risk of unpleasant crashes.
However, Theo Pourchaire, Logan Sargeant, Cem Bolukbasi and Amaury Cordeel all crashed on Friday and Saturday in Formula 2, with the Turkish driver missing Saturday’s sprint race due to concussion after crashing at Turn 11.
The raised kerb at the flat-out turn also precipitated near-misses for Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon and Alex Albon over the weekend, and Schumacher lost control of his Haas in the same area.
He slammed into the wall at 170mph, and Verstappen is confounded as to why that particular sequence of corners is not straighter to make for a safer run as the cars hurtle down to Turn 13.
“In some places it’s very dangerous if you lose the car like it happened with Mick and go full throttle into the wall. Many straights are a little twisty and blind. I don’t understand how it was designed that way,” Verstappen said after qualifying.
“When it’s full throttle, just make it a real straight. That is safer for everyone.”
The 23-year-old was thankfully unharmed after his crash, and Haas confirmed that, due to the magnitude of the damage done to the chassis and gearbox, the German will be unable to participate in Sunday’s main event.
“In light of today’s qualifying incident, Mick Schumacher will not participate in tomorrow’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix,” they tweeted.
As a result, Kevin Magnussen, who will start tenth, will race as the sole Haas runner in the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.