The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) president Rubens Barrichello has thrown his support behind efforts to improve driver safety at the Curva do Cafe corner at Interlagos, the long-time home of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Brazilian tin-top racer Gustavo Sondermann died in a tragic accident at the corner last weekend in an accident that was scarily reminiscent of the one that took the life of Rafael Sperafico in 2007, who was killed when he ran off the circuit and ricocheted back onto the racing line to be T-boned by another competitor.
This weekend, Sondermann’s compatriot, Felipe Massa, is wearing a tribute sticker on his helmet in his honour.
“If [track officials] need the (F1) drivers to talk with the FIA to change the corner, we will,” he told reporters in Malaysia.
“We have to improve that corner,” added Massa, in a quote attributed to him by the S.Paulo newspaper.
Even non-Brazilian drivers are expressing support behind the move, with Mark Webber – who was fortunate to escape a huge accident at the same corner during the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix – believing the corner is dangerous.
“The problem is that whoever is coming along can only see what’s going on ahead when he’s almost there,” he said. “It’s curved, uphill and in the cockpit we’re right on the ground. We go through there in fifth, sixth gear at 220km/h.”
The FIA’s safety delegate Charlie Whiting has stated he will not comment until he received a report about Sondermann’s accident from Brazil’s national racing federation.