Formula 1: Baku track will be fine for European GP, say officials

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer in Baku, Azerbaijan
F1 bosses assess the kerbs in Baku

Formula 1 officials are confident they can solve the safety problem that threatened the running of second practice at the European Grand Prix.

Several kerbs on the new Baku street track came loose in first practice, cutting the tyres of most cars.

Officials found a temporary solution for the second session, but issues remained around at least one corner.

Track architect Hermann Tilke told BBC Sport: "We will have a look at it later. We have all night to solve it."

Tilke said he was planning to tour the track with Charlie Whiting later in the evening after the FIA F1 director had completed the drivers' briefing, during which the kerb problem and other safety issues were discussed.

Tyres were being cut because the temporary metal kerbs are made out of sections that were separating as the cars went over them.

The bolts that fix the kerbs into the concrete under the asphalt track surface were also coming loose.

Tilke said the sections of the kerbs were welded together and an epoxy adhesive injected into bolt holes to secure them in place so the session could be completed.

The kerb at Turn Six, which failed during the second session, will be removed and replaced with paint, Tilke added.

Tilke said he was unsure why the problems had occurred because the kerbs were the same design as those used at the Singapore and Mexico tracks, where no issues arose.

Cuts in tyres are a major safety issue at all times, but especially on a street track with concrete walls, limited run-off, and the longest straight on the calendar that sees cars approach speeds of 220mph.

Some drivers - including Mercedes' Nico Rosberg and McLaren's Jenson Button - have also expressed concerns about the lack of run-off areas at certain corners - particularly Turns Three, Seven and 15 - as well as the pit-lane entry, which the FIA has agreed to amend before Saturday's third practice session.

Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso in practice at Baku

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