FIA to act over brake dust concerns among drivers after carbon found in ex-racer’s lungs

The FIA is reportedly considering changes to the design of brake ducts on Formula 1 cars after concerns were raised over the risk to the health of drivers.

Brake dust has long been something that drivers have had to deal with, but the issue seems to have worsened with the new design of the 2022 cars. It was highlighted at the Austrian Grand Prix, as Sebastian Vettel got out of his Aston Martin with black carbon spattered all over his face.

The German is leading the calls for the problem to be looked at over concerns about the long-term health of drivers. “To be honest with you, that is something they need to work on because the design of the brake ducts this year, with the front axle, it is blowing all the brake dust into our faces and it is not good,” he said.

“Breathing in carbon dust is something that is not really that healthy to breathe in. I hope the FIA looks into this very soon because it is pointless and something that is easy to change.”

In the wake of that issue being raised, reports that the FIA is willing to act if needed. The governing body plans to speak with the teams to get their opinions on whether or not the design of the brake ducts should be changed.

The topic has been raised in the past, with former racer Mika Salo telling a worrying story about his own health. The Finn revealed that a large amount of carbon dust had been found in his lungs when doctors operated on him after his retirement in 2002.

Doctors found black carbon dust in Mika Salo's lungs after the Finnish racer retired from F1 20 years ago

Doctors found black carbon dust in Mika Salo’s lungs after the Finnish racer retired from F1 20 years ago
Getty Images)

More recently, Valtteri Bottas spoke about it in 2019 when he was driving for Mercedes. He revealed that it is a regular thing for him to sneeze black dust after racing, such is the amount of carbon he breaths in.

“I don’t know if there is anything that can be done,” he admitted after raising the subject. “For sure there is some dust from your own brakes but that is minimal. It is the cars ahead, it is always going to be there.

“Any time after the race when you sneeze it is black, so year after year, I am not sure what it does to your body. No idea. I think no one ever looked into it. I would rather be breathing clean air but not sure what can be done.”

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