“Halo saved my life,” Guanyu Zhou introduced on Twitter on July 3, 2022, after his horrific crash at Silverstone. In the opening phases, the Alfa Romeo driver collided with the Mercedes of George Russell, which triggered the Chinese to overturn. With nearly no braking, Zhou’s automotive skidded off the gravel pavement and flipped over onto the tarmac earlier than crashing right into a guard rail. Miraculously, neither drivers, spectators, nor marshals had been injured.
But the actual significance of the scenario grew to become identified to the world of Formula 1 solely after the accident. Although the secondary crash construction, referred to as the halo, survived the stresses, the first crash construction (with the curler) crumbled to mud. Photos of the automotive later confirmed that there have been only some centimeters between Zhou’s head and the asphalt.
Alfa Romeo: Technical director requires rule change
“We have been working with the FIA because the day of the accident to reconstruct the accident and assess it as a lot as doable,” mentioned Jan Monchaux, Alfa-Sauber’s technical director. “It’s not a simple activity for the forces concerned.”
Unlike another groups, Alfa Romeo didn’t share the G-forces affecting their new drivers throughout affect. “Also, the FIA has requested all different groups for suggestions on varied comparable instances of curler downforce with a purpose to discover room for enchancment,” mentioned the French-German.
Even earlier than the FIA’s evaluation was full, one factor was clear to Monchaux: new security requirements had been wanted within the premier class. “Without going into an excessive amount of element, the forces that match the principles – you have got a sure vectoring, it’s a must to apply power to the entrance and rear of the wheel – should not essentially applicable for accidents like this the place the automotive skids. The forces are considerably flat there, it is not likely a vertical impact. There could also be adjustments sooner or later,” the Alfa Romeo man defined.
FIA: The roundabout should cross this take a look at
The FIA has already introduced that it intends to sharpen the curler in early 2023. But what hundreds does the present technology of rollers have to face up to with a purpose to get the FIA’s blessing? The reply to this query may be present in Article 13.3 of the technical laws of Formula 1. In the variations, the winding strip, referred to as “Main winding construction”, should cross a collection of static resistance checks.
When the roll bar is bolted to the survival cell, the construction should face up to a lateral power of 60 kilonewtons, 70 kilonewtons longitudinally, and 105 kilonewtons vertically for ten seconds. 105 kilonewtons corresponds to about 10.7 tons! The construction shouldn’t be deformed greater than 25 millimeters. In addition, there ought to be no structural injury beneath 100 millimeters from the roof.
In addition, groups should present detailed calculations to show that the roll bar can face up to the identical longitudinal hundreds because it strikes ahead.
But because the Zhou catastrophe reveals, even these extraordinary stress checks should not sufficient. “We’ll get a brand new, further aspect stress take a look at or one thing like that that we’ll need to undergo in 2023,” McLaren man James Key suspects. Time is of the essence, and groups need readability forward of the summer season shutdown this week.