F1 legend warns of more tragedy

SIR Jackie Stewart believes another serious accident could be imminent if F1 drivers continue to take too many risks.

Motorsport was left in mourning following the tragic death of F2 driver Anthoine Hubert at the Belgium Grand Prix when Juan-Manuel Correa tore through his car at 150mph in Saturday's race.

Charles Leclerc dedicated Sunday's win to the 22-year-old Frenchman while Australia's Daniel Ricciardo admitted he contemplated withdrawing from Sunday's race, while British teenager Lando Norris, 19, said he was left shaken by the fatal accident.

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It was the first driver death during a race weekend since Ayrton Senna died at Imola in 1994.

Stewart, who won three world titles, believes there have been far too many incidents over the last 24 months.

"In my view, there have been far too many incidents over the last 24 or 36 months because there has never been a penalty to the extent we saw this weekend," Stewart said.

"We have seen wings broken, cars going up in air. It even happened on Sunday when Max Verstappen collided with Kimi Raikkonen on the first lap.

Anthoine Hubert was tragically killed.
Anthoine Hubert was tragically killed.

 

"The drivers might now be prepared to recognise that they will have to take fewer liberties because you should never start thinking you are bulletproof.

"You cannot think you are going to get off with it all the time. This could be a wake-up call."

Stewart knows what he is talking about too, a former team boss at Stewart and Jaguar he survived arguably the most dangerous era in the sport's history and did it with a with a remarkable strike rate of 27 victories from 99 Grands Prix.

"The shock and grief that was very evident in Spa is something that is new to this generation," he added.

"Suddenly, everybody is aware that 'my God, if we do the wrong thing here, there is going to be a disaster'. There hadn't been a disaster for such a long time.

"It is not impossible for another one to happen. Sometimes they come along in threes. We have seen that with aircraft accidents. It shakes everybody up."

Former F1 champion Sir Jackie Stewart at the Australian GP.
Former F1 champion Sir Jackie Stewart at the Australian GP.
Stewart, who turned 80 earlier this year has been responsible in the past for the advancement of safety in the sport.

Stewart attended the weekend's race in Belgium and watched Saturday's tragedy unfold alongside Alain Prost.

The four-time world champion is Renault's non-executive director and oversaw Hubert's blossoming career.

Both Stewart and Prost were pallbearers at Senna's funeral.

"I was with Alain just after the crash," Stewart added.

"We spoke on the grid, too, and we were both very sad. It felt like 'play it again, Sam', and that we were turning back the clock.

"Things have moved on extremely well from my day where death was part and parcel of the business. If you didn't want to do it, if the kitchen was too hot, then you'd better get out.

"The number of drivers you see walk away from huge crashes are now ten-a-penny, and that is fantastic. But every now and then, the wrong accident occurs, and that is what happened here."

News Corp Australia

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