Formula 1 sporting chief Ross Brawn believes Daniel Ricciardo was “a passenger” in his accident with Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen because of the aerodynamic rules currently in place.
Ricciardo ran into the back of Verstappen under braking for the first corner in Baku, with Red Bull scorning both drivers for their roles in the collision, and the FIA giving both a reprimand.
Brawn, speaking in his post-weekend debrief released by F1, stopped short of apportioning blame for the crash.
“I don’t want to comment on who might be held responsible or how a team should manage these issues during a race, but I do think the stewards’ decision to reprimand both drivers was the right course of action,” said Brawn.
“But I would like to highlight a technical point. Once Daniel had settled for his line, and Max had changed direction blocking that line, the Australian became a passenger.
“The downforce loss experienced by Ricciardo in the wake of Verstappen’s car would have made it unstoppable.
“We often think of downforce in cornering, but the impact the extra grip has in braking is huge.
“Take away that grip in braking and what happened on Sunday was inevitable.”
Brawn said the incident was timely, as it highlighted the aerodynamic problems his team is trying to tackle with changes for 2021, but also the measures pushed through for next year by the F1 Commission this week.
“While this was a very severe example, it did highlight once more the need of finding a way to develop the rules to make the cars more raceable in these conditions,” he said.
“The decision of the Strategy Group and the F1 Commission, sanctioned by the FIA World Motorsport Council, to approve a number of aerodynamic modifications, aimed at promoting closer racing and more overtaking for the 2019 season is definitely an important step.
“It’s also important to note that the decision has been taken after an intense period of research into the FIA’s proposals, which were made with the support of Formula 1 and conducted by a majority of the teams.
“It showed good spirit and a good way of working together for a better and more spectacular Formula 1, which is what the FIA, Formula 1, the teams, and most importantly, the fans want. Bravo.”