The debate around sausage kerbs in F1 and its support series was re-ignited by the F2 accident at Silverstone – but what actually are sausage kerbs? Why are they used and why are they dangerous?
The job of a racing driver is pretty simple – make the track as straight as possible.
Going around corners slows you down, so drivers will always try to go in a straight line for as long as possible.
Sometimes, this puts drivers at odds with the track limits of the circuit – often crossing over the white line – and technically out of bounds.
One solution the FIA came up with for F1, F2, and F3 was the introduction of sausage kerbs.
What actually are they – and why are sausage kerbs so dangerous in F1?
What sausage kerbs are in F1?
Essentially, sausage kerbs in F1 sit on the outside – or inside – of corners and are there to prevent drivers from running wide or cutting the corner to gain an advantage.
They are given the name due to the fact they look like sausages, and aren’t placed at every corner, just the ones that corner cutting or breaking track limits are common crimes.
While they are not uncommon in motorsport, the FIA decided to introduce them to F1 and its support series in a bid to come up with a solution of drivers failing to stay within track limits.
The general idea is that if you hit the sausage kerb, it would slow you down and ensure you would take the same line through the corner on the next lap to avoid further time loss or damage.
Opponents of sausage kerbs in F1 claim that they have a tendency to launch cars – which is always dangerous for drivers, fans and marshals.
Why they are dangerous?
Due to the nature of sausage kerbs in F1 – they are actually quite dangerous.
In Formula 3 in 2019 at Monza, driver Alex Peroni ran into a sausage kerb on the exit of the Parabolica before the pit-straight.
The Australian was launched in a series of flips – coming to rest upside down on top of the tyre barrier, escaping with only broken vertebrae in his back.
During the F2 round at Silverstone in 2022, in Sunday’s Feature race, Dennis Hauger was squeezed wide on the approach to Club corner by Roy Nissany.
Hauger ran across the grass and was then launched by the sausage kerb into Nissany – the halo saving Nissany’s life by preventing Hauger’s tyres from hitting his helmet.
And a sausage kerb in F1 was also responsible for an iconic crash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Emerging from the pits in 2021, Hamilton tried to close the door on Verstappen at Turn 2 – while the Red Bull driver tried to kick it open.
Verstappen was then launched by the inside sausage kerb, landing on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes – Hamilton’s halo breaking the suspension of the Red Bull as it landed on top of his helmet.