Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher has said that F1 teams informed him of things like old nails being found on the Baku racetrack.
This past weekend, Baku was host to a wild and chaotic race, but also a very dangerous one. Two major crashes meant this race wouldn’t challenge for safety awards anytime soon.
With Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen suffering race-ending failures to their tyres, the race finished with less than 20 drivers. The crashes the drivers suffered in the wake of said failures left debris all over the track. It is widely speculated that both drivers were lucky to escape more serious accidents.
Debris is suspected to be the cause of the crashes, and investigations are taking place to confirm the same. The theory has gained more credibility after Ralf revealed the kind of debris found on track.
Speaking about Pirelli’s decision to increase tyre pressures after Friday’s practice session, Ralf said, “Pirelli must have had a bad feeling on Friday, otherwise the air pressure would not have been increased.
“However, I would be careful when classifying the cause. I’ve heard from teams that the track was extremely dirty. Some old nails and other things lay next to the guardrails. A lot of objects flew around.”
Same tyre, different issue
Ralf pointed out that such a nasty piece of debris must have caused the puncture Stroll suffered from. His tyre blasted on lap 30, effectively ending his race. When it comes to Verstappen, Ralf got more critical, saying Pirelli needs to address it.
“I suspect with Stroll that something like that was his undoing, because at that point there hadn’t been an accident where he could have caught carbon parts from other cars,” he said. “I’m not sure about Verstappen. The analysis from Pirelli will reveal the cause.”
Verstappen’s crash heartbreakingly came shortly before the end of the race. For a while, everyone thought he had surrendered his WDC lead to Lewis Hamilton. But then, he also spectacularly veered off-track due to a brake issue. This meant both leaders of the standings failed to take points from Baku.