Ocon explains high number of crashes in Baku

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen FP3 crash Azerbaijan GP PA

Esteban Ocon suggests brake-dependent cars behind high number of crashes in Baku.

Esteban Ocon believes the high number of crashes across the Azerbaijan GP weekend can be attributed to the brake-dependent cars.

It has been a far from rare sight to see cars in the wall over the years at the Baku City Circuit, a high-speed street track where there is very little margin for error.

In 2021 though, crashes were going on all over the place from practice all the way through to the race. Among the most notable were Daniel Ricciardo’s Turn 3 shunt which brought an end to Q2, while Charles Leclerc was confirmed as pole-sitter when Carlos Sainz and Yuki Tsunoda crashed during Q3.

Lance Stroll and Antonio Giovinazzi’s qualifying efforts also come a cropper thanks to the walls.

But Ocon attempted to put some reasoning behind the incidents, claiming the current cars are very reliant on braking as late as possible and so accidents happen when drivers are on the limit like that.

“The cars have evolved enormously – all the time savings you can make are all the result of braking [as late as possible],” he is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com.

“Everyone looks for the boundaries at that point, but there was also a bit more wind in qualifying. A lot of drivers have gone over the limit and we haven’t seen that often in qualifying. It was very surprising that so many things happened in qualifying.

“It’s just a feature of how the cars are. I didn’t drive [in Baku] in 2019, but I did in 2018 and my feeling comes from that. I mean, the fastest way is to drive at the limit of the brakes and just make the turn.”

Lance Stroll Azerbaijan GP crash 2021
Lance Stroll Azerbaijan GP crash 2021

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Ex-Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle suggested the complexity of the braking systems, rather than the actions of the drivers, was more to blame for the incidents in his opinion.

“Appears to me there are too many clever controls and algorithms going on inside F1 braking systems which are not under the direct control of the drivers,” he stated in a social media post.

“So many world-class drivers having ‘amateur’ accidents in Baku, some of whom seemed unaware they were about to crash.”

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