Giuliano Alesi, Trident, Formula 2, Spa, 2019

Debris suspected as cause of puncture which triggered fatal F2 crash

Formula 2

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Debris from a first-lap collision has emerged as the likely cause of the puncture which triggered last year’s Formula 2 crash at Spa, which claimed the life of Anthonie Hubert.

[f1tv2020testa]A summary of the FIA’s investigation into the crash published earlier this month concluded the accident began when Giuliano Alesi lost control of his car due to “a loss of internal pressure of the right rear tyre”, but did not indicate what caused the loss of pressure.

Formula 2’s official tyre supplier Pirelli told RaceFans they believe Alesi’s tyre began to deflate after he ran over debris.

The company’s head of Formula 1 and car racing Mario Isola said their investigation indicated they “can exclude” the possibility that a structural failure of the tyre could have been responsible.

“We made [an] investigation, we checked the tyres or parts of the tyres and so on,” Isola told RaceFans. “And there is nothing that can be wrong on the tyres. The tyres were OK.”

The crash, which also left Juan Manuel Correa with serious leg injuries, began on the second lap of the race when Alesi’s car spun into a barrier at Raidillon. One theory considered by Pirelli is that shortly before Alesi’s tyre deflated he ran over debris from a first-lap collision involving Nicholas Latifi and Mick Schumacher.

Latifi and Schumacher collided at turn one
Latifi and Schumacher collided at turn one
“[It could] be a puncture because in turn one there was contact, some debris. We know how sharp carbon fibre is and it’s easy to cut the tyre.

“If you have a slow puncture you lose air and obviously it was turn three – Eau Rouge/Raidillon. [Going] downhill you lose the pressure and then obviously you have this cut on tyre can generate a spin or something like that.”

Isola said Pirelli’s inspection of tyres from other cars lent further weight to the theory as some also showed signs of damage due to debris. “I think it’s highly probable or almost sure that it was a puncture because we found some sign of small cuts also in other tyres,” he explained. “Sometime you have a puncture, you have a loss of air. Sometimes you have just a marking on the tread.”

The FIA’s summary stated the investigation “found no evidence that any driver failed to react appropriately in response to the yellow flag signal or to the circumstances on track” and that “the reaction of marshals and race control in deploying signaling and rescue services in relation to the accident is considered timely and good.”

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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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    8 comments on “Debris suspected as cause of puncture which triggered fatal F2 crash”

    1. So maybe the FIA needs to be more cautious in letting a race go on unhindered after collisions that caused damage? Not sure what to say.

    2. This is not an easy one. For a future point of view I can’t see bringing out Safety car everytime there’s some debris on the track. It would kill the race (or the other hand make it more of a gamble and a show). But if FIA wants to improve safety they could go all out Nascar and wave yellow at everything.

      In the end unfortunately motorsport has taken many lives and will do that in the future but the limit between safety and sense of danger is wavering but both are important elements within the sport.

    3. Pirelli ALWAYS claim debris as the reason their garbage has a problem. Load of trash.

      1. Yeah because no one ever got a puncture before Pirelli came along. You do make me laugh 😂

      2. I have to agree. Pirelli always jump straight to the defensive “Its not our tyres fault”. I appreciate they’ve got a brand to protect, but its getting old…

    4. I guess they dont have the pressure sensors in the tyres in F2 as if they did then surely a loss of pressure would be shown in the data?

    5. I’m afraid that the reason for the fatal crash was, in fact, the abscene of a gravel trap outside the track.

    6. Racing is dangerous at its core.. no new rules are needed imho.

      In American short corse, offroad racing, every piece of body work has to have the owner cars race number on the inside, and more importantly, the teams have to pay a penalty for each pound of body work they lose during a race… this massively encourages the teams to keep their body work attached and in whole, granted f1 cars don’t loose body work, but they do loose a lot of small carbon aero bits. Maybe start charging them for the debris they leave on track! It might start being attached more securly!

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