One cannot always draw comparisons between accidents in different formulae but there are always lessons to be learned and the death on Sunday of Brazilian stock car driver Gustavo Sondermann at Interlagos is likely to be one that will be looked at closely by the safety authorities. The crash happened in very wet conditions during a round of the Copa Chevrolet Montana, which supports the main championship. Sondermann lost control of his car in the high-speed left-handers that lead on to the pit straight and hit the wall on the outside of the circuit. The car then bounced back onto the racing line and was hit by a following driver. Sondermann suffered head injuries that proved to be fatal. The worrying thing is that accident was very similar to that which killed Rafael Sperafico in 2007. His car went off at a similar place on the circuit – where there was a big accident in F1 involving Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso in 2004 – and bounced off the tyre barriers into the path of the oncoming cars and it was then hit by Renato Russo, who had no way to avoid the impact.
This second accident will revive questions about the safety of the track which cannot be altered at this point because there is little space behind the existing barriers because the land on which the circuit is built runs alongside the main Avenida Interlagos and the track cannot be reprofiled on the inside of the corner because the land drops away to the hairpin below. The only way to alter that would be to move or remove the hairpin and then create a new area on the inside of the track, which would involve substantial earth-moving, allowing the corner to be reprofiled to create more run-off area.