At the Baku City Circuit, FIA officials went out and made changes to the Castle Corner’s narrow kerb by shortening the raised kerb and opening up the corner on the other side by realigning the track edge. It’s good to know at least some things can be fixed in Azerbaijan.
Baku’s city circuit is characterized by both tricky corners and high speeds, being the second longest road course in the F1 calendar. It’s the infamous castle corner at Turn 8 that’s seen two crashes during free practice this weekend and thus has prompted FIA officials to come up with a compromise before race day.
Just yesterday, both Force India’s Sergio Perez and Renault’s Jolyon Palmer crashed quite dramatically at Turn 8 during practice. The force of Perez’s crash damaged suspension pieces on the right hand side of his car prompting Perez to blame the width of the track for his mishap.
“The kerb is quite difficult, and it’s not so easy to ride that for us,” said Perez. “It’s quite narrow and we asked Charlie to try to have a look to see if we can change it because we all feel that it’s quite narrow and very easy to make a mistake.”
Palmer, on the other hand, attributed sensitive brakes with his Renault hitting the outside wall.
As a result, Autosport reports, the high plastic kerb has been replaced with a shorter version.
Despite these changes, a late Formula 2 pileup ended driver Sean Gelael’s day and proved that the corner may still prove as difficult under race conditions—difficult as criticizing the government when you’re an Azerbaijani citizen, you might say.
F1's qualifying proved to be a bit better with the only crash during Q3 occurring at Turn 6 with Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull spoiling a potentially faster lap from Hamilton. Hamilton would later recover and win pole anyway.
We’ll see how the changes to that corner play out during the race as multiple F1 cars negotiate the circuit. Race time is set for 8:30 a.m. ET.
Everything should be good and fine in this country after that.
Correction: This post originally said the race was set for 11 a.m. ET. That has since been updated to 8:30 a.m. ET.