Carlos Sainz Jnr, Toro Rosso, Sochi Autodrom, 2015

Practice abandoned after Sainz crash

2015 Russian Grand Prix

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The final practice session for the Russian Grand Prix was abandoned following a serious crash for Carlos Sainz Jnr.

Sainz was transferred to an ambulance following the crash and was shown giving a thumbs-up to onlookers. He was later taken to hospital where he was found to have no injuries, but was kept in overnight for observation, which his team described as standard procedure.

The Toro Rosso driver went into the barriers at turn 13 which follows one of the fastest parts of the Sochi Autodrom circuit. Footage of the crash showed Sainz initially hit the wall on the inside of turn 12.

Marshals and medical crew were swiftly at the scene of the accident where TecPro barriers had folded around and on top of the chassis.

Max Verstappen, the driver of the team’s other car, was heard on the radio asking about Sainz’s condition. “It looks like a big one,” he said. “We lost power on the car, we don’t know.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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Posted on Categories 2015 F1 season, 2015 Russian Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz Jnr

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  • 39 comments on “Practice abandoned after Sainz crash”

    1. Hope he is ok. i missed it on tv but by the looks of the barrier, it seems to be a huge crash.

      1. they did not show it on TV live before they had extracted him and had a first look at Carlos. Only then did they show the replays of the accident.

    2. Hope he is fine !! thoughts with him.. looks like a big big shunt

    3. 3rd session in a row with trouble for F1, and a crash in GP3 too yesterday. Let us just hope from now on everything is going fine without any further issues.

      And off course it leaves the teams very much in the dark about the tyres etc.

      1. Yeah, this is starting to feel like that weekend in Imola when things just kept going wrong.

    4. Two things need to be addressed here.

      1) How did the accident occur? We will obviously find out in time once the data and footage is available.

      2) Have the energy-absorbing barriers done their job of protecting Sainz from the energy of a very high speed front impact, or has the way that the car ‘submarined’ under the barriers, trapping Sainz inside the car with the barriers covering his helmet caused more danger to him than it has prevented? If so, we really need to urgently question whether these types of barriers are fit for purpose.

      1. Furthermore, are the low noses really safer than high noses?

        1. I was thinking that after several flips since they were introduced, not forgetting Kimi and Fernando in Austria.

          I think now we’ve had enough proof that these noses are much less safe that the high front chassis noses.

          Those marshals seemed to take an eternity to get to him too… I don’t like this circuit one bit.

          1. after several flips since they were introduced

            What were these several flips?

        2. Not sure there was much of the nose left by the time he actually arrived at the barriers @mike-dee. But I agree that the FIA will have to have a good look at installation of these kind of barriers because Verstappen’s car got under them too in Monaco, so it seems there might be some scope for improvement there.

          Also, I would think that this is another good argument of why some kind of cockpit enclosure can be a good idea.

          1. But if they get stuck under something, wouldn’t a cockpit enclosure just be in the way during extraction?

        3. Not as if we never saw cars under barriers when we had the higher noses.

        4. Well, Formula E still uses high noses, and in Monaco there was a relatively low speed crash where one car went up over the other. The 2012 low noses weren’t doing their job in F1, as we saw in the crashes of Spa 2012 and Rosberg’s in Abu Dhabi.
          But in the first race of 2014, Massa crashed into the back of Kobayashi, which lifted up the back of Kobayashi’s car. Plus, low noses reduce the flow of air to the underbody.

      2. My view on your second point is – the car did not submarine under the barriers – the barriers were thrown into the air, where they rolled onto the car. Now, tentitively I think we can say that they did their job in terms of energy absorption, but, they should not have been thrown up like that. I believe that the barriers were installed incorrectly, having the end of the barriers so close to the accident – three sections away – reduced the ridgidity and inertia of the barriers at that spot. I have been trying to contact Tecpro but have not been able to, but I can’t believe that this type of installation was correct for that spot on the track, with the potential for such a high speed crash. I believe that barrier should have extended a significant distance down the track to allow the three internal straps to give the barrier at that spot enough resistance to collapse at that spot.

        1. Thrown up the air by what? The low nose?

          1. No, not the low nose, I can’t say what caused the upwards momentum, but from my view, the nose struck the barrier, it did not scoop underneath, so I don’t believe that the height of the nose played any part in the upwards force

    5. Thumbs up from Carlos Sainz, thank goodness, I was starting to feel really sick before that

    6. Good news from the FIA then that Sainz is not unconcious, he is reacting to the doctors and relatively fine apperently from first examinations at the accident scene and in the ambulance.

    7. Although I don’t think he will race tomorrow, the fact that he was conscious and gave the crowd a thumbs up when being carried out is by far the best/most important news.

    8. I have to think a gravel trap would have helped. That car was not slowing at all once it lost the front end.

      1. @scalextric Cars can bounce over gravel traps without shedding speed. They can also dig in and flip, potentially making accidents worse.

        1. True. Seen that several times. Seems like the Safer barriers worked but that impact was scary.

          1. @scalextric Other disadvantages to gravel is it’s slower for marshals to run across, delaying recovery times, and it needs to be raked and replaced, making it more expensive for circuits than asphalt.

            1. Bjornar Simonsen
              10th October 2015, 11:55

              I’m with you on gravel vs asphalt, but money at least shouldn’t be an issue when it comes to safety. I’m thinking the low noses is what should be addressed.

            2. I’m thinking the low noses is what should be addressed.

              We had cars go under barriers when we had the higher noses so I don’t see that as an issue.

        2. Eddie Irvine has been suggesting gravel traps with a 5-10% pitch since the mid-90s and I still think it’s a great idea.

          1. @dh1996 I don’t think he’s considered the practicalities and costs involved in that. First of all the cost of the earthworks to bank every run-off area at every track. Then consider the barriers at the ends of those run-offs would all have to be raised. And then the spectator viewing areas as well. I really don’t think that’s realistic – and that’s before we even get into the drawbacks to gravel mentioned above.

      2. +1

        How exactly does an asphalt run off area help the driver regain control when the car has no wheels anymore?

        If Carlos is ok, and I hope he is, they should look at this set of circumstances and apply some thought to the other circuits with massive run offs.

        No wheels = no brakes.

        Low nose at high speed = “submarining”

        1. @andybantam

          How exactly does an asphalt run off area help the driver regain control when the car has no wheels any more?

          In that scenario, how does a gravel trap help the driver regain control?

          Remove a car’s wheels and (assuming it’s travelling forwards) the T-tray is at risk of digging into a soft or granular surface like a gravel trap. That isn’t the case with an asphalt surface.

          1. @keithcollantine

            You are totally correct.

            This was one of those posts that I immediately thought more deeply of and realised that more analyses was needed.

            To a point though…

            The point here is scrubbing the speed off a car that has lost total control before they make hard contact with a barrier that is (more or less) square with the angle of trajectory of a car that’s already impacted with a barrier that has taken the wheels off the car.

            Asphalt didn’t do that today.

            Not only that, but as as an indirect consequence of a safety regulation to protect a driver’s safety, the lower nose has led to a car ending up underneath a barrier, impeding extrication of a driver.

            It doesn’t matter if the barrier took the brunt of impact force. This won’t do. It’s far too unpredictable to have cars that end up underneath the barrier ‘cushion’. The next time that happens, they might not be so lucky.

            So, I think, even the flip risk of an out-of-control car, a gravel trap type thing would be better than a smooth asphalt run off to reduce the risk of danger to a driver’s health after losing the wheels to his wagon and trusting his/her fate to the chance of a barrier being installed correctly.

            We need to slow cars down after control has been lost entirely. Gravel traps do that better than smooth asphalt. Hence my point…

            Asphalt isn’t the answer, the same as gravel isn’t…

    9. I can’t help shake the feeling that Sainz’ is doing more “rookie mistakes” than his team-mate. It’s weird when you see how much more prepared Sainz was for F1.

      Glad he is OK, hopefully he will be able to race tomorrow.

      1. Well we don’t know what caused this so we can’t call it a mistake as of yet but it does seem that Sainz is feeling the pressure of having to compete with Verstappen and the press Verstappen is getting. His crash in Singapore qualy and him hitting the bollard on the entrance to the Suzuka pits last time out are, even for a rookie, unusual.

        1. Bollard thing was because Maldonado made it look like he was gonna pit. And his team had said to Sainz to do the opposite of whatever Maldonado does. But of course, no one has properly reported those events last race weekend.

          1. Still, it’s odd to hit a bollard like that.

      2. @paeschli – they didn’t even shown a proper footage of crash yet, and you feel it was Sainz’s “rookie mistake”? It could very well have been some sort of brake failture or something.

    10. Was very worried when they weren’t showing anything, it’s always a hard time knowing the reason they’re doing it. Relieved to see him concious but one must wonder if he has any leg injuries. Hopefully nothing serious.

    11. Seriously hoping he is ok. We really dont need another driver being heavily injured.

    12. This is probably going to be inevitable, but how would things change with a closed cockpit? In my view it would still require clearing the cockpit area to remove Sainz.

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