F1 drivers voice safety concerns over Baku circuit


Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button have expressed safety concerns over the new Baku City Circuit, with the latter believing Formula One has "gone backwards". 

F1 will race in Azerbaijan for the first time this weekend, as the streets of Baku play host to the European Grand Prix.

The newly constructed track is the second longest on the calendar but it is touted as the fastest street circuit in the world, with lap times predicted to be around 110 seconds.

However, the lack of run-off areas in some parts of the track have drivers worried about the potential for accidents this weekend.

"A little bit of a concern for sure with those run-offs - two or three that are really not looking good," championship leader Rosberg said. 

"That's not great and we need to see how it goes - there's that corner, what is it, 14 or something, before going down the hill, where you've got a wall straight on. [And there's] turn three and then the pit entry as well. So that's, yeah not fantastic."

The Mercedes driver added:  "I really trust the FIA to get the job done, they have all the calculations and the simulations, they know exactly the speeds and everything - there's given rules that they have to make tracks.

"I hope that they stuck to them - I'm doubting it a little bit because, looking at those corners, but let's see. There's also a massive accident to be had. If you try and get a second, then you can have a big one."

McLaren driver Button echoed Rosberg's sentiments, saying it is a "shame" the track has so many areas that need to be addressed.

"It is like we have gone backwards in certain areas, I don't know why," the 2009 world champion said. "Maybe the circuit was supposed to be the other way around...

"It is a shame because a lot of the circuit is good. You look at the condition of everything and it looks good.

"I do like the layout, I think it is exciting in some places but there are just some things that look like they need to be addressed.

"I am sure [race director] Charlie [Whiting] will say to me 'why didn't you speak to me first?', but I haven't had the chance to do it and I can't see them changing anything anyway.

"Hopefully they have done their tests. Monaco has not got a lot of run-off, but this is a high speed street circuit. It is not like Monaco."