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GP Week : Issue 56
Rubens: F1 needs to wake up RUBENS Barrichello has said that the combination of the accidents which befell compatriot Felipe Massa at the Hungarian Grand Prix, and which took the life of Henry Surtees at an F2 race the week before, should not be dealt with as mere coincidence. The Brazilian, who himself was involved in an horrific accident at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix the day before Roland Ratzenberger was killed during qualifying and 48 hours before the accident which took the life of his friend and mentor Ayrton Senna, told journalists in Hungary that the accidents of the last two weeks were a message that changes needed to be made to increase safety in the sport. “I honestly don’t believe in coincidence in life,” he said. “Things happen for a reason and I think this is the second message. Imola [San Marino GP 1994] was a message. The cars were improved. Unfortunately we lost a boy [Surtees] which is tremendously sad. It is not a coincidence that something happened right now. In the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association we talked quite a lot about it yesterday and something needs to be done. “We need to sit down and have a look at it. I think the cars are a hell of a lot safer, really a lot safer. But there is no coincidence on this fact that something that needs to be looked at.” Barrichello’s team boss Ross Brawn said that improved driver protection would now be the top priority of debate, but that the sport should guard against making kneejerk decisions. “You really are into the area of structures, windscreens and canopies, and anything is possible. We just need to digest what has happened, and understand it properly. “In the history of F1 it is a fairly rare occurrence – the sides are quite high now and we have the headrests around the drivers. So that is why we will have to take a balanced view.”