Hermann Tilke has played down fears F1’s newest venue in Baku might not be safe enough.
As the sport’s travelling circus set up in the historic Azerbaijan capital this week, two respected journalists wondered whether F1 had compromised safety by green-lighting the fastest ever street circuit.
Roger Benoit, writing for Blick, said the sport is preparing for its “most dangerous weekend” with speeds set to match or perhaps even surpass those seen at Monza.
“At those speeds, with walls on both sides and run-off scarce, the risk of serious consequences is great,” agreed Livio Orrichio, writing for Brazil’s Globo.
And as the drivers and engineers did their customary pre-weekend ‘track walks’, one unnamed source told Spain’s El Confidencial: “The walls are everywhere. It is a very dangerous circuit.”
But circuit architect Hermann Tilke said safety has been taken seriously in Baku.
“The corners are fast but very smooth with soft walls, the same technology as is used on the American ovals,” he said.
As for the extremely high speeds and the lack of run-off areas, Tilke answered: “That’s up to the FIA.
“They sent their delegate (Charlie Whiting) here and worked hard to make it safe.”