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Wider spacing between fence posts: greater safety for drivers, better viewing and increased sustainability for circuits

FIA Approves Advanced Debris Fences for Grade 1 Circuits

1 March 2022

New technology enables wider spacing between fence posts to give greater safety for drivers, better viewing for spectators and increased sustainability for circuits.

The FIA has approved a new advanced debris fence system developed by Swiss company Geobrugg for use at Grade 1 circuits that host Formula 1 and other top-level championships. The new debris fence uses the latest technology to provide increased safety, whilst offering better views of the action for spectators and greater sustainability for racetracks.

All debris fences require steel posts to keep them fixed in place and currently there is a maximum of four meters between each post to ensure the catch fencing is strong enough. But achieving the required strength with fewer posts reduces the probability of a car making contact with one, which in turn enables the debris containment system to operate more effectively.

This new system allows spacing to be increased from four to six meters, whilst maintaining the safety requirements of FIA Standard 3502-2018 for debris fences at Grade 1 circuits. It utilizes a similar design to the 4 m steel post spacing, but with an increased cable diameter of 16mm in combination with high tensile helix spirals to connect the cable to the mesh. This debris fence was put through a series of tests, including a 780 kg sphere fired at it from a cannon at 60 kph and a full-size car impacting at 150 kph.

After successfully passing the tests, Geobrugg found that the 6 m post solution further increases the safety for open cockpit series and bike riders, by decreasing the likelihood of impact with a debris fence post.

The new system is also a major improvement on sustainability. Geobrugg is expecting to be able to put up to 600 m of debris fence in one 40 foot container, as opposed to 400 m, which will reduce shipping weight and transport emissions. Furthermore, the reduction of posts leads to less concrete foundations and faster installation rates, with a 25 per cent reduction across all areas.

Jochen Braunwarth, Geobrugg’s Director of Motorsport Solutions said: “We aimed for no less than a revolution in debris fences. A massive impact on sustainability whilst trying to improve safety and installation friendliness of the system was our goal. I believe we have achieved this and more. Circuits looking for a more sustainable solution and improved spectator experience shouldn’t look any further.”

For further info, contact: Jochen Braunwarth, motorsport@geobrugg.com

About Geobrugg
Geobrugg develops and manufactures protection systems made of high-tensile steel wire. These systems protect against natural hazards such as rockfall, landslides, debris flow, and avalanches. They ensure safety in mining and tunneling, and on motorsport circuits to stop impacts from falling or flying objects. Geobrugg has 350 specialists worldwide, production facilities on five continents, as well as branches and partners in over 50 countries.

Video: Testing 6 m Debris Fence

Pictures for download