Atlas F1 News Service, a Reuters report

Coulthard Warns of Pit Exit Danger

Saturday July 1st, 2000

Briton David Coulthard expressed concern on Saturday about the safety of the pit lane exit at the French Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver had to brake hard to avoid hitting Ralf Schumacher in Saturday's qualifying session after the Williams came out in front of Coulthard as he was on a flying lap.

The Scot, who qualified second behind the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher, said the poor visibility for cars leaving the pit lane into the first turn posed a problem.

"I don't know whether Ralf came out particularly slowly or what was the situation but I met him right in the middle of turn one, which you obviously don't want to do," he said.

"Apart from screwing up the lap, it is quite dangerous."

Coulthard said that the drivers had discussed the safety aspects at their briefing before the qualifying session.

"It is difficult here to see whether another car is coming with the angles that we have on our mirrors," he said. "It's something that we need to look at for next year. The marshalls are there supposedly to help that."

FIA race director Charlie Whiting issued a statement after Saturday's first free practice about the dangers of drivers practising starts at the pit lane exit.

"Having now had the chance to closely observe the pit exit during the two practice sessions today we feel that practice starts anywhere at the pit exit can result in a dangerous situation at the first corner," he wrote.

"Consequently, with immediate effect, no more practice starts will be permitted."

During Sunday's race, drivers will be leaving the pit lane at faster speeds and Michael Schumacher said he did not think it would be a major problem then.

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