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Eaton reveals extent of injuries after W Series COTA kerb incident

W Series driver Abbie Eaton has revealed she suffered two fractured vertebrae after making contact with one of the Circuit of the Americas’ sausage kerbs.

Abbie Eaton

Eaton ran over one of the sausage kerbs at Turn 15 during race one in Austin at the double-header season finale and was launched into the air.

She was initially diagnosed with a fracture in her T4 vertebra from the impact, but said on social media today she has since been diagnosed with a second fracture in her T5 vertebra.

Posting an update on Twitter, the Grand Tour test driver wrote: “Bad news: Results from MRI are that I actually have two fractures in T4 & T5.

“Good news: Fractures are currently stable, brace stays on for the 3 months, but I can START PHYSICAL REHAB!

“So excited to feel like I can actually start making steps in the right direction!”

American F4 driver Christian Weir suffered a similar injury in an almost identical incident during the COTA support race, while fellow driver Fabienne Wohlwend was also launched by one of the kerbs at Turn 1 on the opening lap of race two.

After the incident, Eaton said it was “ridiculous” and there was “no need” for the kerbs to be situated at the bounds of the circuit.

Abbie Eaton

Abbie Eaton

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The incidents prompted concern from Grand Prix Drivers Association director Sebastian Vettel, who said: “I think the thing is that we have to take these sausage kerbs off, because we had two injuries that were unnecessary.

“And I'd rather have an endless conversation about track limits, and maybe one time you're unhappy, another time you're happy.

“I think we can find solutions to that. But the main thing is that we find a solution to broken backs, which is taking off these sausage kerbs.”

Although sausage kerbs are often implemented to stop drivers from going off-track, they have been responsible for a number of airborne incidents in recent years.

Former F3 driver Alex Peroni was sent flying into the air at Monza in 2019, and the Australian came to a stop in the catch fencing at the Parabolica.

He too was diagnosed with a fractured vertebra, and the former Campos driver had to sit out the season finale at Sochi as a result.

Sean Gelael suffered a similar injury at Barcelona at 2020 during his final F2 season, striking a kerb while battling with Jack Aitken and going airborne.

The Indonesian also suffered a compression fracture as a result, missing four rounds - as Juri Vips deputised for him at the DAMS squad.

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