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Newey concerned about driver safety

Wednesday 29-January-2014 09:00

Red Bull technical chief Adrian Newey is concerned that the new Formula One regulations might make the sport more dangerous for drivers.

Newey is particularly concerned about the low noses on the cars, which means the drivers' heads are more exposed during certain kinds of crashes.

"The regulation was introduced after some research by the International Automobile Federation that suggests the lower nose height reduces the chances of the car being launched, such as the accident Mark (Webber) had when he hit the back of (Heikki) Kovalainen. I must admit I am concerned the opposite may happen - that cars submarine effectively," Newey said at the start of the season's first testing session in Jerez.

"If you hit the back of the car square on, then you go underneath it and you end up with the rear crash structure in your face which is a much worse scenario.

"For me, it's introduced more dangers than it's cured."

In the mentioned incident at Valencia in 2010, Webber's car clipped Kovalainen's car's rear wheels and took off at an almost 90-degree angle before flipping over. Amazingly, the Australian emerged unscathed from the accident.

Newey also voiced his concern about the positioning of the batteries that power the new Energy Recovery System (ERS), which have been placed under the fuel tank in front of the engine.

"It was done on safety grounds but I'm not quite sure why putting a battery under the fuel tank is safer than putting it behind the engine but that's where we are," Newey added.

"These batteries can suffer thermal runaway through impacts, through causes which are difficult to predict. Once they go into such a big battery pack then it's very difficult to control that fire.

"Frankly, put it in the pits lane and watch it burn."

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