Sir Jackie Stewart explains difference in motorsport safety over the last 50 years

03-09-2019 16:05
by Matt Gretton
Sir Jackie Stewart explains difference in motorsport safety over the last 50 years

The motorsport world was shocked during the Belgium Grand Prix weekend after Anthoine Hubert passed away after a crash during Saturday's Formula 2 race. Thankfully, safety innovations and improvements have been made over the last 50 years so that we rarely see a shocking event like that. Sir Jackie Stewart remembers when the sad news was all too common. 

Stewart had experienced 57 driver deaths during his career, the last being his teammate at Tyrrell, François Cevert. The 80-year-old looks back to his own era 50 years ago when driver deaths were common. He says the current crop of drivers are new to this. 

"The modern generation of drivers does not know death. It is all the more shocking when something happens. The shock and sadness felt so strongly at Spa-Francorchamps is something new for these boys," the three-time Formula 1 world champion told the Press Association. 

"We have had numerous accidents over the past 24 or 36 months, accidents that have not been as severely punished as they are now. We saw broken wings, cars in the air."

Stewart believes the drivers in motorsport at the minute should use the weekend's crash as a wake-up call and be reminded that even in 2019, fatal accidents are still a possibility. 

"Perhaps the driver will become more aware again that they can not take all their liberties. Nobody should think he is bulletproof. There is no guarantee that such accidents will not happen again as on August 31st. That should be a wake-up call," he added. 

"When we went back then, death was one of them. Who did not accept that it had to stop. Fortunately, safety in racing has made tremendous progress. The tireless work for even more safety has meant that we have experienced very bad accidents, but the drivers have remained healthy. I am very happy about that. But we have to be aware of this."

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Read more about: Formula 1 Belgian GP

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