MIAMI – One name was missing from Saturday’s qualifying session: Esteban Ocon.
The Alpine driver had crashed into the concrete barrier at Turn 13 during practice earlier that day, suffering a 51G impact. Although the driver was okay, he had to be taken to the medical center due to the force triggering the impact warning light. His car ended up with a cracked chassis. Ocon had to miss qualifying because of it.
But, there may have been a way for the damage to be less.
A day earlier, Carlos Sainz crashed at the same location during another practice session, and Ocon revealed to Autosport that the Ferrari driver mentioned the matter during the driver’s briefing and asked why there was not a tecpro barrier in the turn.
“What is unacceptable really, it was 51G for what should have been such a big impact,” Ocon said, at Autosport. “To not have it and [for only] one car it has happened, but when Carlos has complained to the race director, we were all there listening to it, and nothing has been done.
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“There was a discussion last night. Carlos said the impact was way too big for what it should have been. Today it felt huge, the impact. It’s probably the biggest shunt of my career, to be fair.
“Yesterday Carlos got hurt. I got hurt today as well. The FIA should push harder for our safety. The important thing is that we’re able to race, and I will be able to race as well. “
These barriers help absorb the shock of a crash, and Ocon said he felt the repairs could have been made to his car in time for qualifying if the barrier was in place.
“When a professional driver to the caliber of Carlos, racing for Ferrari, is saying something like this yesterday, I think the minimum is that it should be taken into consideration, and do the best possible to make a change,” he said.
Sainz echoed similar thoughts when talking to Sky Sports following qualifying, where he finished P2 behind teammate Charles Leclerc.
“I’m sorry to be critical, but I told the FIA yesterday that my crash at second gear shouldn’t feel that hard, but today my neck was a bit in pain,” Sainz said. “I told them, let’s put tecpro there, because it’s a very hard concrete wall. Esteban crashed, and I’m sure he felt it too. And it’s one of those things that I will never understand. “