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More stringent rollhoop tests planned following Zhou's British GP crash

NEWS STORY
15/07/2022

F1 is to introduce "more stringent measures" following the failure of the rolehoop on Guanyu Zhou's Alfa Romeo in horrific crash at Silverstone.

While it was the Halo that rightly got the praise following the first lap crash which saw the Chinese driver's Alfa Romeo flipped over and skid along the track over the gravel trap that followed and finally barrel-rolling over the barriers into the catch fencing, it was the failure of the car's rollhoop that caused serious concern.

"It's still under investigation," admitted team boss, Fredric Vasseur in Austria last weekend. "The first conclusion is that the crash was something like two times more than the load of the crash test. It means that... I don't know if you had a look on the tarmac, but we dig a groove into the tarmac for something like four or five centimetres deep.

"It means that at one stage, doesn't matter the level of the crash test, you can always find something a bit bigger and for sure, we'll have to take action," he admitted. "On our side and with the FIA, to see how we can improve the safety.

Yesterday (Thursday), saw the Technical Advisory Committee meeting to discuss a number of issues, not least the failure of that rollhoop.

In a brief statement following the meeting the FIA confirmed that the teams had "discussed the serious incident involving Zhou Guanyu at Silverstone", adding that: "The teams confirmed their availability to introduce more stringent measures on the rollhoops for 2023, and the FIA undertook to complete the relevant analyses, and to communicate to the teams new requirements for the safety of the rollhoop."

The regulations state that cars must feature two roll structures, one of these being the Halo. With the Alfa's rollhoop failing from the outset, all that protected Zhou from then on was the Halo.

Alfa Romeo is alone in being the only team to run a 'spike' (triangular) rollhoop design, the Swiss team doing this for aerodynamic reasons, and it remains to be seen whether, following the investigation into the failure, such designs are banned.

"The principal structure must pass a static load test details of which may be found in Article 13.3.1," state the 2022 regulations. "Furthermore, each team must supply detailed calculations, which clearly show that it is capable of withstanding the same load when the longitudinal component is applied in a forward direction."

The crash test for the rollhoop applies "a load equivalent to 60kN laterally, 70kN longitudinally in a rearward direction and 105kN vertically", allowing only 25mm deformation along the loaded axis, with "any structural failure limited to 100mm below the top of the roll structure when measured vertically".

"The last time I was involved in a project that ran a roll hoop like that, I think it was 2011," said AlphaTauri technical director, Jody Egginton in Austria, his team, like the majority opting for a double concept. "I remember the reasons for it, and they were specific.

"Obviously, we are all subjected to and pass the same test, that's a requirement," he added. "But I guess these are the topics which are going to be raised in the TAC, to see how we go forward and what the FIA view is."

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