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Safety formula

Geobrugg’s Debris Fence made its first appearance in Formula 1 after being installed at the Sepang Circuit

by Jochen Braunwarth, Geobrugg


Right before the start of the 2012 Formula 1 season, Geobrugg Security Engineering completed installation of its first Debris Fence at a Formula 1 circuit, at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. 

This Debris Fence installation is intended to set a new safety standard among Formula 1 circuits by providing the best spectator and marshal protection, while also increasing visibility for spectators to the track.

Geobrugg Security Engineering was awarded a full turnkey contract in late 2011 to provide the design, material production, delivery, and installation of the new Debris Fence. A key element of the project was addressing the proper layout around the radius of Turn 1. Care must be taken to properly design the stabilization fields to account for both proper load transfer during an impact and also adherence to FIA standards. Geobrugg’s engineering team designed the fence to address these issues and insure optimum performance and acceptance by FIA.

Installation started in early March 2012 with the removal of the old debris fence in Turn 1. After marking the new foundation locations, the foundations were excavated and the new posts and stabilization fields were put in place. The use of Geobrugg’s high-tensile ROMBO mesh and special mesh attachment technology enables an FIA-approved wider spacing of the reinforcing ropes, which minimizes the number of ropes required. Within just two days, all the reinforcing ropes and mesh panels were installed on the 80m stretch of new Debris Fence, which is the first of many sections to come at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia.

In tandem with the installation works at the Sepang International Circuit, the Swiss company is working on the design for the new Geobrugg Debris Fence at the Circuit of the Americas, which is currently under construction in Austin, Texas, USA. The Circuit of the Americas will be the first race circuit in the world to have the new state-of-the-art Geobrugg Debris Fence installed along its entire track.

Geobrugg Security Engineering is proud to have been selected by the project team and the installing contractor (The Global Fence, based in Dallas, Texas) for the design as well as the complete material supply for the Circuit of the Americas project.

The Geobrugg Debris Fence consists of four main elements. The ROMBO G80/4 high-tensile wire mesh is three- to four-times stronger than conventional chainlink mesh. One single 4mm wire can lift up to 2.2 tons! ROMBO mesh combines high strength with flexibility to enable it to absorb and transfer high loads to the reinforcing ropes. Furthermore, the ROMBO G80/4 mesh has an improved corrosion protection called Geobrugg Supercoating, which leads to a longer usable life for the system.

Fast and easy connection of the ROMBO mesh to the reinforcing ropes is achieved using the Geobrugg HELIX springs, which are made with the same high-tensile material as the mesh. Only a couple of minutes is needed to attach each mesh panel to the top and bottom ropes. Adjacent mesh panels are also connected with the HELIX springs. Complicated attachments within the mesh field are not required.

Specially designed steel posts make the installation of stabilization fields very easy. The factory-installed attachment points on the posts eliminate the need for welding on-site and increase corrosion protection and speed during installation. Additionally, specially designed rope connection points allow for easy and fast connection of the reinforcing ropes.

The reinforcing ropes are fully designed and prefabricated according to the lengths required for each fence section. On one end of the rope, a swage eye makes for quick attachment to the pre-installed connectors on the steel posts. The other end of the rope can be adjusted to the final length on-site. Provided with all required hardware such as turnbuckles, shackles, and wire rope clips in the proper quantities, the Geobrugg reinforcing ropes ensure an easy and fast installation.

The Geobrugg Debris Fence is the only debris fence with an FIA-approved 50cm reinforcing rope spacing; this is due to the use of high-strength ROMBO mesh and HELIX spring attachment to the ropes.


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