Formula One’s governing body defended its safety stance on Saturday after Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon said their concerns were ignored after heavy crashes in Miami Grand Prix practice.
The track around the Hard Rock Stadium is making its race debut and both drivers had argued that an impact-absorbing Tecpro barrier should replace an unforgiving concrete wall at turn 14.
“I’m sorry to be critical but I told the FIA yesterday that my crash in second gear shouldn’t feel that hard, but today my neck was a bit in pain,” Spaniard Sainz, who qualified on the front row, told Sky Sports television.
“I told them ‘Let’s put Tecpro there’ because it’s a very hard concrete wall.”
Sainz said he had brought the matter up in Friday’s drivers’ briefing but nothing had changed.
Ocon’s crash cracked his car’s chassis and meant he could not take part in qualifying, although he was cleared to race on Sunday.
“The impact has been so hard in comparison to what it should have been. We’ve discussed it with Carlos yesterday, with the race directors, to say that we should probably put a Tecpro barrier there and it hasn’t been listened,” he added.
“That is not acceptable, and the FIA should push harder for our safety.”
A spokesman for the governing FIA said the drivers’ concerns had been taken on board and officials inspected the area of impact but decided no changes were necessary from a safety perspective.
“There was damage to the cars but that’s not why we put in Tecpro,” he added.