Irish racer Adam Fitzgerald has suffered a spinal injury over sausage kerbs at Imola, his FRECA team have confirmed.
Making his debut in the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine this season, Fitzgerald is racing for the Irish-owned Racing Performance Motorsport team.
Finishing 22nd in his first race, Fitzgerald has since been withdrawn from the remainder of the race weekend after suffering a back injury after driving over the high sausage kerbing that is used at various points around the Imola circuit.
While the team continue their weekend with their other two drivers, Fitzgerald is now ruled out of action after suffering three fractured vertebrae in an incident that has also destroyed his car.
“Adam has three fractured vertebrae,” a team spokesperson for RPM confirmed to PlanetF1.com.
“He lost the rear of the car in Turn 1, which subsequently launched him into the air backways, and all of the force came down on the chassis which managed to break his spine.
“The car is broken almost in half but, thankfully, he has no spinal cord injury.”
The team expect Fitzgerald to be out of action for at least a month, putting him in doubt to return for the next round of the FRECA Championship in Barcelona next month.
Taking to social media, RPM criticised the use of the sausage kerbs – Fitzgerald is merely the latest driver to suffer a back injury as a result of the high kerbing.
“Today these crazy yellow ramps on top of the kerbs known as ‘SAUSAGE KERBS’ or ‘BANANAS’ claimed the spine of another driver,” read their social media post.
“They launch the car into the air resulting in dangerous situations for the drivers. I don’t know what needs to happen next for the people to realise that these sausage kerbs have absolutely no place in Formula Motorsport.
“We wish Adam a very speedy recovery after the injuries he sustained from these kerbs today.”
In late 2021, Abbie Eaton suffered crushed vertebrae in her back following an impact with a sausage kerb during the W Series round at the Circuit of the Americas, while Oleksandr Partyshev also suffered a back injury by hitting kerbing at Misano in Italian F4 last year.
Mexican racing driver Santiago Ramos also suffered broken vertebrae at Misano in 2021, with Tim Tramnitz a casualty of high kerbing at Estoril in an F4 crash towards the end of 2021, and Formula 2 DAMS driver Sean Gelael suffering a back injury in Barcelona in 2020.
It was Australian driver Alex Peroni who suffered the most high-profile accident caused by sausage kerbing in recent years, with the Campos racer flipping into the sky in a terrifying crash at the final corner at Monza during the Formula 3 round in 2019. He incurred fractured vertebra and concussion as a result of the crash.
“We need to stop with these things because they are so dangerous,” an RPM spokesperson told PlanetF1.com.
“There are loads of other solutions…”
Last year, Lando Norris wrote an article in the Daily Telegraph communicating his fears about sausage kerbing, following a terrifying crash in Formula 2 at Silverstone as Dennis Hauger’s car was thrown into the air and into Roy Nissany’s car – the Halo helping protect the DAMS driver from injury.
“I have been critical of raised kerbs in the past, but I think it is time we acted on these warnings and removed them from our sport,” Norris wrote.
“With F1 cars running lower to the ground than ever, and stiffer than ever, we need to act because when these cars hit these kerbs, you do not ride them.
“You can be launched into the air. Cars can pop up, do big wheelies and then slam back down again, which can be very painful on the back.”