Report: IMS to examine SAFER wall expansion, but confident 99 percent is “covered”

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the birthplace of the SAFER barrier – it was first introduced to the world ahead of the 2002 Indianapolis 500, and the safety push has continued in the 13 years since.

However in the wake of Kyle Busch’s accident Saturday at Daytona, and Daytona track president Joie Chitwood III confirming shortly thereafter the track plans to install SAFER barriers “at every inch” of the track, the topic of whether IMS would expand its SAFER walls has come up.

IMS track president J. Douglas Boles told the Indianapolis Star it is something the track would consider, but left it right now as a “maybe.”

“We could add (barrier) if we need to, but we are really, really covered in places where 99 percent of the cars are going to hit with anything but a pancake hit,” Boles told the Star‘s Curt Cavin.

Any track alterations that would see further SAFER barriers installed could affect the racing line and available track space, particularly in the North and South Chutes of the 2.5-mile oval.

In terms of accident possibilities, IMS and Daytona are different beasts. The style of racing at Daytona lends itself to larger packs and often greater size accidents, although this year’s Daytona 500 was one of the cleaner ones in recent years.

IMS, meanwhile, tends to lend itself more to single file racing and rarely has more than a two or three-car accident at one time. While Busch’s accident was a single car veering into an unprotected wall, it occurred after a spin across a wider distance, over grass.

Spins off Turns 2 and 4 at IMS into the inside retaining wall would likely involve the most distance traveled in an accident there.

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
Clive Rose/Getty Images,
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SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was being investigated for a potential safety car infringement. It could mean a time penalty of five seconds, in which case the Mexican driver’s lead over Leclerc covered him.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.