Anthoine Hubert, Arden, Spa, 2019

F1 safety changes considered for 2020 in response to “massive” Hubert crash impact

2020 F1 season

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Formula 1 could make safety changes to its cars as early as next year in response to the Spa Formula 2 crash which claimed the life of Anthoine Hubert.

The FIA’s formal investigation into the crash between Hubert and Juan Manuel Correa, who was taken out of an induced coma this week, is ongoing. However technical directors from F1 teams have been shown data from the collision.

“The teams have been asked to do some analysis work on the current chassis design to understand where the current regulations sit as far as chassis strength,” said Racing Point technical director Andrew Green. “I’m sure that there’ll be discussion in the next TWG [Technical Working Group] to look at next steps.”

While modifications are likely for the 2021 technical regulations, which are under discussion at present, Green believes teams are likely to agree changes to improve safety next year, despite having already begun work on their 2020 designs.

“All the teams, we don’t argue about this sort of thing, we just get on and do it,” he said. “I think at the moment in the back of everyone’s mind is what we can do for 2020.”

Green revealed current chassis are not capable of withstanding the severity of impact which occurred between Hubert and Correa’s cars.

“It was a massive impact, that’s the bottom line,” he said. “The energy involved was absolutely huge and the current chassis design, whether it be F2 or F1, there’s no way what the current chassis can survive that sort of impact. It’s not out by a little bit, it’s not like we’re a few percent out – [it’s] a long way out.”

“You’ve got to do a certain amount of [energy] absorbing in the nose,” he explained. “The nose worked as expected, but the energy absorbed was a small fraction of what was required.

“So we’re looking at increasing that for future and I’m sure increasing the strength inside the chassis as well. Steps in that direction.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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9 comments on “F1 safety changes considered for 2020 in response to “massive” Hubert crash impact”

  1. Well, that’s good. It will probably make the cars heavier, but, if anything makes that worth it, seems like these changes would be it.

    1. Heavier cars mean greater forces in an accident so I don’t see where is the worth in it. The problem is that when a car crashes at Raidillon, the run off area is such that it is like it encourages other cars to get involved and cause even more carnage than what has already just occurred. It might make it more interesting but it is certainly more dangerous so it really needs to be reviewed about the severe lack of space between the race track and the crash barriers at the super quick turns like Raidillon because it shouldn’t really be accepted that other cars can so easily get caught up in someone else’s accident like what happened in the Formula 2 race.

  2. Good to see they are prompt and proactive about this. And even better that it is not being dismissed as a freak “one in a million” event.

  3. I appreciate the candor as from our point of view it was very clear that both chassis failed, now everyone knows why, and that even the stringest safety rules of f1 would not suffice.

  4. I can’t believe the fact that Hubert’s car being bounced out like a ball on a pinball table is being ignored.
    The energy wasn’t absorbed by the barriers, it was stored then released. This was the cause of Henry Surtees’ death as car and debris was bounced out into his path again by rubber pinball barriers.

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      21st September 2019, 18:19

      Agree. Corner design is strangely absent. I’m still waiting for news regarding a whole new run-off area in Raidillon.

    2. @bigjoe There might not be any conclusions of that yet that a F1 team’s supercomputers would be useful for solving. Whereas F1 teams routinely use their supercomputers to work on material resistance properties in the context of maximising the efficiency with which they withstand crashes.

  5. Jean Todt’s ultimate plan for bigger noses for everybody finally revealed!

  6. Maybe Eau rouge and Raidillon need some change…

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