Formula One: Journalists should be imprisoned, says Ecclestone

Jenson Button has expressed fears over the safety of the new Baku Street Circuit, and accused Formula One's governing body of going "backwards".

Having toured the track Button made it clear that he felt there were places where a vehicle failure could have serious consequences.

"I have been welcomed very well so I'm sure all in all it will be a great success", said the German.

"Turn seven has three Tecpro barriers and then a concrete barrier at the edge of the circuit. It is a shame really".

Described as being akin to a "high-speed Monaco" by Force India's Sergio Perez, the circuit proved challenging and contrasting in equal measure during Friday practice with the field striving to find a suitable set-up for a layout that contains several ultra-slow, single-file sections and also the longest straight in F1. There's not much you can really do because there's a building in the way.

"It is fine as long as no-one has a failure, we will go away all happy".

Ecclestone is apparently quite proud of the new course and the city itself, saying "we just left the greatest place in the world North America, and compared to here (Baku), it is a bit of a shit hole isn't it?"

"If I think as far as I know they do every test possible for safety and the run off areas that you need for each corner - they have done in the past and hopefully they do still do that".

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"The way we have gone with safety, pushed it, and some of the issues we have had in the past, you would think they would still do that, but it doesn't look like it from some corners. But as I said it will be a compromise with the low-speed corners that we're facing in the old town, so it will be very interesting and I hope entertaining".

Button, who is a director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, said: "Maybe the circuit was supposed to be the other way around".

"It's going to be quite a challenge for the engineering teams because you've got this requirement for huge straightline speed, it's a very low-efficiency circuit", said Williams performance chief Rob Smedley.

"I tell you what we ought to do".

'The problem is they can not do too much with those corners as there are buildings in the way so there is no point complaining now because we are going to race'.

"I trust the FIA (F1 governing body) to get the job done, they have all the calculations and simulations".

Ecclestone added: "The minute people tell me what human rights are then you can have a look at them and see how and when and where it applies".

"I'll go around [in practice], and that first lap is like you're taking pictures with your mind, and you're learning as you go around".

  • Sheila Mcguire