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Bruno Senna hopeful of Brazilian Formula E race in the future

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Bruno Senna hopes that Brazil can take advantage of the success of its drivers in Formula E by hosting an ePrix in the future.

Senna is one of three Brazilian drivers on the grid in Formula E, racing alongside Nelson Piquet Jr. and Lucas di Grassi.

Piquet won the inaugural Formula E championship last year, while di Grassi is fighting for this year’s title and finished third in the season one standings.

Brazil had been due to host a race in Rio de Janeiro in November 2014, only for the race to be cancelled seven months earlier.

Senna said that he would love to see Formula E head to his home country, but is aware that financial problems could prevent this from happening.

“We have three Brazilian drivers. One of them right now is fighting for the championship, one of them won the championship last year so Brazil is doing really well in this championship,” Senna told NBC Sports.

“I think it’s a shame if we don’t go there and maximize on this great performance that we’re having. It’s very difficult, Brazil is in difficult financial conditions right now.

“I just hope that we can get the right people convinced.”

Formula E returns next Saturday with the first Mexico City ePrix, taking place on part of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez that hosted last November’s Formula 1 race.

“Mexico is a very different animal. It’s a dedicated track, extremely smooth compared to what we race, so I think we’re going to have to see a very different setup on the car there to maximize the circuit,” Senna said.

“I’m curious to see what is going to happen there. Hopefully we’ll be on top. We’re going to have to review the last two races and we have some things that we need to work on. Then hopefully we can come out in the top five next time out.”

New study surveys drivers’ opinions on crashes, concussions, more

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Auto racing safety has continued to improve through the decades, but the sport remains inherently dangerous, according to a new survey.

At the close of 2018, a new organization called Racing Safety United emerged with the intention of reducing drivers’ risk of being harmed.

RSU is made up of more than 30 members including former NASCAR Cup Series competitor Jerry Nadeau, two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Randy LaJoie, NHRA team owner Don Schumacher and motorsports journalist Dick Berggren.

One of RSU’s first initiatives was to determine what current drivers thought of racing safety. The organization developed a 14-question survey and promoted it on select motorsports websites and forums. 

Participants were given the opportunity to disclose their identity or remain anonymous, and those who provided contact information were entered to win a $500 prize (for anonymous participants, the prize funds would be donated to a motorsports charity). 

More than 140 individuals participated in the survey over the course of 12 months. Below are the results of the survey:

Driver status

The vast majority of survey participants (60%) were amateur racers, while 26% of the participants were classified as Semi-Pro/Professional racers. The remaining 14% consisted of other individuals involved in the sport such as team owners and crew chiefs. 

When asked how frequently they race, 58% of driver respondents averaged 10 or more times per year on track, while 42% averaged 10 times or less.

The top five tracks respondents said they raced most often: Road Atlanta (21 votes), Watkins Glen (17 votes), Virginia International Raceway (16 votes), Mid-Ohio (16 votes), and Road America (13 votes).

Vehicular damage, injuries common

Over a third of respondents said they had been injured while racing, and almost two-thirds sasid they had suffered severe vehicle damage while racing

Driver error was cited as the top cause of vehicle damage (42 mentions), followed by concrete walls (26 mentions), mechanical failures (24 mentions), and other drivers (19 mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for better driver training/coaching, energy absorbing walls, and more technical inspections.

Almost a quarter of drivers said they had experienced racing-related concussions, and nearly half the respondents said one or multiple concussions would affect their decision to race in the future. 

Drivers primarily influenced by peers 

Roughly half the drivers said they would consider adopting new safety equipment if influenced by another driver (51 total mentions) and/or if recommended by a sanctioning body (47 total mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for drivers to become safety advocates and educate other drivers and for sanctioning bodies to mandate safety equipment. 

Drivers concerned with concrete walls

Approximately three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said they believed certain race tracks were more dangerous than others. Nearly half the drivers surveyed believe that concrete walls were the primary cause of damage to drivers and vehicles. 

Drivers willing to help

Just more than three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said that they would be willing to join a safety alliance to advocate for safer tracks. Two-thirds of drivers said that they also would be willing to contribute to a motorsports safety fund.

Click here for the full results of RSU’s survey

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