F1 fans capture astonishing first-hand videos of Zhou’s huge Silverstone crash

2022 British Grand Prix

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Formula 1 fans in the grandstands around Silverstone’s Abbey corner captured astonishing footage of the moment Zhou Guanyu’s car was launched over a tyre barrier at the start.

The Alfa Romeo struck a debris fence, the last barrier separating the track from the spectator enclosure, after being flipped upside-down within seconds of the British Grand Prix starting.

Zhou was unhurt after his car came to a rest between the debris fence and the tyre barrier it had cleared. The crash was triggered when Pierre Gasly and George Russell made contact, sending the Mercedes spinning into the side of Zhou’s car.

The footage shot by fans in the stands shows the stunned reaction as the car hurtled towards them and struck the fence.

After being released from the medical centre at Silverstone, Zhou thanked his followers on social media for their messages of support.

“I want to thank the marshals and the medical team at Silverstone, they were really fantastic,” he added. “I’m keener than ever to get back on track.”

His Alfa Romeo team added they were “massively thankful to the marshals, response team and doctors for all of their work yesterday.”

“Thanks to the FIA and Formula 1 for all the work they have done, and they keep doing, to improve the safety of our cars,” they added.

NB. Some videos contain explicit language

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Fans’ videos of Zhou’s crash


#silverstone #silverstonecrash

♬ original sound – Meagher Brian

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2022 British Grand Prix

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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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    34 comments on “F1 fans capture astonishing first-hand videos of Zhou’s huge Silverstone crash”

    1. Gravel run-offs are such a terrible idea.

      Stop this nonsense!

      1. without gravels it have been way worse

      2. What a horrible take. Without gravel, the car wouldn’t have slowed down at all.

        Gravel would’ve also saved a life in F2 not so long ago.

        1. Have you seen the videos?

          Thanks to the gravel, it didn’t slow down at all, flipped, and jumped over the tire barrier only to abruptly stop in the catch fencing, and then fall into a virtual ditch from which it could not be recovered in any timely manner.

          With a proper, paved run-off, the car would’ve continued to deplete some speed until hitting the tire barrier. And then the emergency personnel could have immediately started doing their job.

          1. Flipping and jumping means losing energy. A lot of energy dissipated at the point it flipped and jumped.

            1. Unfortunately, it jumped right over the tire barriers meant to slow the cars down at the end of the runoff and landed in the fence before disappearing into the void inexplicably left between them.

              Airborne cars are extremely dangerous and to be avoided at all costs.

            2. The tarmac completely broke and ground down the roll hoop and killed very little speed, the gravel helped dissipate much of the energy. Not a big impact in the end.

          2. @proesterchen – It flipped because of the piece of asfalt at the end of the gravel if it was total gravel it would be in the barrier.

            1. I can only suggest you re-watch the footage and compare what you seem to remember with what really happened.

          3. If it was tarmac it would have slowed down even less and could still have flipped. This was a bizarre accident that we may never see again. The gravel traps do the job they are designed for. It is not possible to design a track to be 100% safe in all possible outcomes. Perhaps the barriers need to be slightly higher to make this less likely but then you get all sorts of strange things happening and a car could potentially go far higher than that as was seen in the F3 race a few years ago to Sophia Floersch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPwhmjQt3vo

        2. @kuvemar
          Tarmac is almost twice more effective at slowing down cars than gravel, as per Charlie Whiting’s words on the 2017 Mexican GP weekend.

          1. Tarmac is almost twice more effective at slowing down cars than gravel

            Provided the car is on all 4 wheels, of course….
            However, when it isn’t – gravel will reduce inertia and energy much more efficiently.

            In this instance – had the gravel been right at the track limit (the white line) the car would have rolled a couple of times before it got anywhere near the tyre wall, kissed it gently, and never made it to the catch fence at all.

          2. Gavin Campbell
            4th July 2022, 15:27

            Only if the car is working and the brakes work. Hence why you have tarmac into gravel.

            If the car has an accident or is otherwise not working properly Tarmac isn’t very good at slowing a car down – hence why its used for the race track part of a circuit.

            The real issue here is that the roll hoop failed so the car stayed upside down. Therefore there was a tiny contact patch so it skipped over the gravel. Theres not a lot any surface could of done in that scenario.

            1. You have very little understanding of what a roll hoop is supposed to do…

          3. When it has 4 tires in contact, which often isn’t the case in a big accident

      3. The car was upside down, so there was little friction to stop the car. Whether there was gravel or asphalt runoff, it had little effect. However, it is very striking how little the car slowed down between the moment it flipped and the moment it hit the fence.

        1. With little friction I mean: in order to slow down you must have a big contact patch to scrub off speed. With a car upside down, it has a very small portion of the car touching the ground.

          1. That’s the problem with using tarmac, @matthijs.
            A hard surface (such as the top of a car, or the floor if the wheels are off) will skid across the tarmac without converting much of that energy into heat. It will just keep on going.

      4. Having looked at the third video it immediately strikes me that if the car were going full speed down the straight, not just from a standing start, it could have easily cleared the fence. With obviously horrific results. F1 needs to think about this hard. Get rid of the gravel, raise the fence, push back the grandstands, whatever. This is a second chance.

      5. On sphalt his helmet would’ve rubbing on the asphalt. Also, his head/spine would take some of the weight of the car. The gravel was a blessing.

        1. The driver’s head (incl helmet) is below the line from the top of the Halo to the top of the tub.

          You can see Zhou’s car sliding on these two points without his head taking any loads in the video published on F1’s Youtube channel.


    2. I was one of those who thought the halo was a silly idea that just made cars look ugly.

      I’m more than happy to admit that I was completely wrong and now the idea of an F1 car without some such device makes me feel sick! Easily one of the best safety features ever introduced to motorsport.

      1. The halo is still ugly – you weren’t wrong.
        But it’s a case of function over form. Hopefully, we all accept that one is more important than the other.

      2. @geekracer2000 yep, I think it’s very healthy to admit when you were wrong, and I don’t think anyone was excited when they first saw the halo, myself very much included. But twice this weekend we saw its effectiveness. When it was said, “you wont notice after a while”, I didn’t think so. But now I don’t. And two people didn’t get seriously hurt.

    3. Those stones who went into the public that none was wounded….

    4. Russell was right, the gap between the fence and the tyre barrier should be investigated. It should be either bigger so that the driver can get out of the car, or smaller so that the car doesn’t get stuck behind the tyre barrier in the first place. It must have been a scare few minutes for Zhou before he was extracted from the car.

    5. The first two videos are the best.

    6. Its astonishing how much energy the car had left after sliding across the road and gravel for so long. Remember they had only started for a few seconds so that was all the acceleration in play.

      When you see a gp in person, to me, besides the braking, the most shocking part of the performance is how fast the cars starting at the back of the grid are going when they get to the start line. It doesn’t seem physically possible. The TV direction just kills all of that sense if speed. It’s like they set out to make the cars look slow.

    7. When will we get the first serious injury from ground effect cars? The circuits and the cars with halos are much safer than in the 80 where the ground effect had some terrible consequences. But under last year’s formula would the Alpha have taken to the air and flipped over from a side impact? Unlikely but not impossible.


      1. It flipped because Zho’s rear tire rode over Russels front tire. If it was a less oblique angle Zho could have been visiting the ISS. This is a built in danger if open wheel cars, unless you try to put farings around the rear wheels or something. Don’t disagree that ground effects cars historically have a trait of getting airborne in a high speed spin.

      2. Don’t forget a very similar impact from Maldonado to Gutierrez sent him upside down too.

        What should be properly investigated is why the roll hoop (which supposedly is as strong as the halo) vanished from Zhou’s car.

    8. In my 30 years of watching Formula 1, IndyCar, F3000, F3 etc. it’s been no more than 5 times that I saw the roll-hoop getting destroyed!!! And this mild flip-over was even more so not a reason for that to happen!
      I hope they make a very thorough investigation as to why that happend, because this should not happen EVER.

      1. To me this is the biggest issue in this crash. If the roll hoop was fine, the risk would have been minimal to Zhou. Sure the gap between tyres and the wall was not idea, leading him to end up trapped in a risky situation but the roll hoop is something that should not fail in this manner. Roll hoop has to be able to survive an impact like this.

        Other stuff like tyre barriers, gaps and so on can be investigated and fixed on per track basis but the roll hoop is the critical thing.

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