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Last Updated: Monday, 5 June 2006, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Montoya warns of British GP risks
British GP, 11 June, 1200 BST

Juan Pablo Montoya in his McLaren-Mercedes
Montoya believes speeds have outstripped safety at Silverstone
Silverstone is too dangerous and needs to be revised to improve safety after an increase in speeds this year, says McLaren star Juan Pablo Montoya.

The Colombian wants the run-off areas improved at Copse and Becketts corners, both entered at more than 170mph.

"Copse is the bravest and fastest corner, and it's quite a challenge. It's so dangerous, because if something steps out or fails..." Montoya said.

"It's great. They shouldn't change the circuit, just the safety."

Montoya, who won the British Grand Prix last year, said drivers were subjected to forces of 5.2G at Copse, the right-hander at the end of the start-finish straight - and that, at 285km/h (177mph), the cars were 12mph faster there than last year.

The corner was particularly dangerous, he said in an interview with Autosport magazine, because although it can be taken flat-out in seventh gear in a good car on new tyres, it is more unpredictable when the tyres start to wear.

With so many high-speed corners, and quite a bumpy track surface, Silverstone is difficult for the drivers to cope with

Fernando Alonso
"The car has more grip, the tyres are a bit softer than last year," Montoya said.

"You go in, and when the balance is nice, you just floor it through there.

"Two laps on new tyres, if the balance is good, you can still go flat through there. If you can make it, then you can make a bit of time."

Montoya added that the swerves of Becketts were equally dangerous, especially when following another car, which robs the car behind of grip because of the aerodynamic turbulence experienced.

"It's really quick. You go flat (for the first left-hander), and then the next one you turn in flat, go down two gears and go flat again," he said.

"When you're testing you always try to stay away from people. You run most of the time by yourself, so it's really hard to judge it. But if the car steps out when you're following someone, there's not enough run-off area.

"At Becketts, when you go right, you're going head on towards a wall doing maybe 300 clicks (186mph). I crashed there and the gravel doesn't do too much. Actually, the gravel just lifted me up and threw me into the tyres."

World champion Fernando Alonso said that the increased cornering speeds made Silverstone physically much tougher for the drivers.

"We have a lot of high-speed corners at Silverstone, and even though this year's cars have less power, there is more grip thanks to the softer tyres," the Renault driver said.

"That means we are much quicker in the corners, and a lot of the first part of the lap is now nearly flat out.

"It makes the circuit tougher physically - with so many high-speed corners, and quite a bumpy track surface, Silverstone is difficult for the drivers to cope with.

"Then, of course, it is a question of fun. It is always a nice feeling to be attacking high-speed corners and be right on the limit."



SEE ALSO
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