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Saturday, October 1, 2022

F1: Zhou’s warning and a terrifying question: Why did the anti-tip system fail?

The pilot, pending an FIA investigation, must face an issue about which nothing has been known since 1999.

Zhou’s Alfa Romeo upside down at Silverstone on Sunday.EFE

the story of guanyue zhou His accident at Silverstone last Sunday came as a shock to even those who thought they had seen it all. “I don’t know how I survived. Obviously, the halo saved me,” the Chinese driver concluded on Thursday amid the relief of coming out of something like this and the uncertainties of the future marked by an FIA investigation. For more than two decades, Formula 1’s anti-roll system had failed miserably. Zhou has managed to tell, but some questions remain in the air.

The most pressing was addressed by the Pilots Association (GPDA) this week. your president, Alex Wurjowrote a letter to Mohamed Ben Sulayem, President of the FIA, in which he reminded him of a horrific scene in which he himself had participated. It was at the Nürburgring on 26 September 1999, when Peter DiNizzo He crashed into his Sauber before turning upside down. Without the protection of the anti-roll bar, destroyed on first impact, the helmet hit the asphalt on several occasions and it was almost a miracle that the Brazilian was not harmed. “This led to stricter crash tests. We have more work ahead of us today,” the Austrian concluded.

How is it possible that, 23 years later, this structure failed again in Zhou’s car? This is the question the FIA ​​Security Commission has to address with its Director Tim Malion front. And to shed some light, it’s worth explaining some of the fundamentals of this system, essential for safety as it is unknown to the average fan.

“Can we change some of the constraints?”

First of all, it should be noted that the anti-roll bar, which is visible just above the pilot’s helmet, is not part of the monocoque, but is attached to it by means of a special resin. Despite this limitation, it is designed in such a way that it can support a weight of 105,000 kg vertically. About 10 times more resistance than that thought for the halo.

Unlike most teams that used the triangular structure, Zhou’s Alfa Romeo used a single pylon device, known in English as blade, This factor could have helped the car to stick to the asphalt in some way. From there, Halo Design saw the car slide for over 100 metres. And that, after an awkward carrom, he passed the safety of the tire before crashing into a metal fence. “Can we change something about the barriers so that no one gets trapped?” Zhou thought.

As Alfa Romeo admitted from the mouth of its pilot, the impact with the ground was much stronger than the figures they manage crash test, Therefore, it is worth asking whether the existing safety standards have been adapted to the increase in the weight of the cars. On the first lap, with the fuel tank on, Zhou’s C42 weighed over 900kg.


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