Wurz calls for safety work on roll hoops and sausage kerbs after Silverstone crashes

2022 British Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Grand Prix Drivers Association chairman Alexander Wurz says the FIA must look into safety concerns raised by Zhou Guanyu and Roy Nissany’s crashes on Sunday at Silvertone.

The Formula 1 and Formula 2 drivers emerged unscathed from a pair of shocking crashes. Many were quicker to praise The role played by the halo head protection system in protecting both was widely praised, but Wurz sees further areas for improvement.

Wurz compared Zhou’s crash to Pedro Diniz’s at the Nurburgring in 1999, when the roll hoop was badly damaged on his Sauber.

“Last time as far as I remember an F1 roll hub collapsing was with Pedro Diniz, Nurburgring ’99 – jumping over me,” said Wurz on social media. “This led to stricter crash tests, requested by GPDA, swiftly executed [and] implemented by the FIA.”

“Dear mister president [please] check your inbox, we got more work to do,” he added.

Wurz also raised concerns over the sausage kerb at Vale corner which launched Dennis Hauger’s car onto the cockpit of Nissany’s in their collision during Sunday’s Formula 2 feature race. The high kerbs have been blamed for a series of incidents in which cars were launched into the air.

“[I] struggle to hold back on speaking out publicly about matter of sausage kerbs,” said Wurz. “Why [do] we [still] have them and why nothing seems to be done.

“Fact: they are, and have always been an ill-born concept. How many more shunts, how much more injuries we have to witness? This goes for sausage kerbs at apex, as well as baguette [or] banana kerbs on exits.”

He said Rubens Barrichello’s crash at Imola in 1994 shows why F1 was correct to reduce the height of kerbs many years earlier.

“A generalisation process delivered ‘flat kerbs’. Good but not thought [through] at the time. After we all shouted about track limits. After we brought sausage Kerbs and guess what? We fly again. We can do better.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2022 British Grand Prix

Browse all 2022 British Grand Prix articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

38 comments on “Wurz calls for safety work on roll hoops and sausage kerbs after Silverstone crashes”

  1. Sadly, the only real alternatives to raised kerbs are either a solution such as witches hats or flexible/sprung posts that inevitably damage cars that touch them – or nothing at all, which isn’t a solution.

    Whatever they use needs to be a deterrent to going there, or else they’ll just cut the corner. And we know how the FIA turns to jelly when the track limit is nothing but a strip of paint.

    1. I mean… gravel?

      1. You want a SC so it can be cleaned up every 5 laps?

        It’s the same reason grass isn’t an option – it just gets displaced and puts debris everywhere.

        1. Just penalise drivers for cutting the corner for heavens sake. There’s no excuse for the regulators to not apply the rules properly. If they consistently penalise for not following track limits then the drivers will have to try harder to follow the rules

          1. Even if we get some penalties it’s better than the penalty of serious injury or death from having those dangerous sausage kerbs. Thinking of what the Hauger-Nissany crash would have been like before the halo makes me cringe

          2. I totally agree with the theory – I’m a huge supporter of strict rules enforcement.
            However, I live in the real world, and I know that the FIA and F1 are scared of applying their own rules.
            Track limits have been defined clearly in the sporting regs for a very long time, and they’ve been ignored for exactly that same amount of time.

          3. @3dom
            Penalising drivers for their cars being a metre too far to the left or 20cm too far to the right is just plain silly. It’s the worst possible solution that makes car racing an artificial farse.

            The “curbs” should be flat and offer little traction. That’s the way to do it. Make it real and tangible, not something that is impossed virtually.

        2. I’d prefer gravel. Drivers should pay an actual penalty for running off the course. Gravel on track has never been a huge deal either.

          1. That’s probably because it’s never been installed on the apex of a corner.

            I remember multiple times (in various series) where SC’s have been called to clear gravel off the circuit.

      2. Warheart, it sounds like you think the gravel trap made the accident worse. I’m not sure that is the case. Once the car flipped and started rolling, it was actually dissipating a lot more energy than when it was skidding along the road. When it bounced off the tyre barrier and flipped up to hit the catch fence, that also dissipated more energy than just hitting the tyre barrier. Without the gravel trap, it would have ploughed into the tyre barrier at high speed, and I think that would have been a lot worse for Zhou.

    2. Just raise the ground behind the sausage kerb. Keep it level with the sausage kerb so that cars coming from behind wont be launched into the air, they will just fall to the track.

    3. Maybe a trench would be a good alternative for a curb. The trench with no sharp edges, about as wide as the car wheel and slightly deeper than the car ride height.
      It would unlikely to launch the car into the air, but may make enough damage to the car, so they would avoid riding over it at all cost.

  2. Sausage, baguette, and banana kerbs should never exist. Smoke beef kerb might be enough.

    Jokes aside, yes, I agree they should never exist.

  3. I do worry that in the desire to cut weight, teams are pushing the safety limits. Clearly the roll hoop structure should not under any circumstances fail as easily as it did for Zhou. Either the crash tests are not suitable for the crash hoops or there is a serious design flaw in the Alfa Romeo current chassis. By the hoop collapsing it effectively stopped the car from flipping back to it’s wheels which is where the car should have naturally tried to right itself in that sort of accident.

    The sausage kerbs just seem stupid to me. Putting stuff on the race track that can damage cars and induce serious accidents seems complete counter intuitive to safety. You have stewards so just enforce track limits with penalties if required.

    1. Teams will always find weight gains where they can, but the collapsing roll hoop is still homologated and improved by the FIA. Surely improving the rules will lead to safer roll hoops and less risk of collapsing. We learn and adapt from earlier incidents, then we learn from these. Nissany definitely only survived thanks to the halo, Zhou probably has it to thank as well.

      1. Sorry. “homologated and APPROVED” it should read!

        1. @chrischrill, Chris, I assumed the roll bar structure was a standardised piece of kit, the same way the halo is standardised and the only choice you get is what colour you paint it. I hadn’t realised that each team designs its own structure and tries to find ways to use it to aerodynamic effect. It only has to pass the FIA force tests and provide the correct amount of clearance.

      2. Well hopefully there will be some lessons learned from the accident because it’s pretty terrifying to see the roll hoop collapse on a car. That hoop is key to allowing a gap for the driver to exit the car when it’s inverted. As I alluded to earlier it also can help the car settle and top it sliding on it’s top side by encouraging a car to flip back to it’s wheels.

    2. At what point did the roll hoop fail? Was it when the car first went upside down or when it hit the gravel? I thought it was the latter. The roll hoops are specified as needing to withstand forces of 60 kN laterally, and higher forces in the other two axes, so that’s pretty substantial, even with the heavier cars. From what I read, the roll hoop was ripped off which suggests a defect in the mounting design rather than a failure in the hoop itself, so it might be specific to that car.

      1. Take a look at the article picture as it will answer your question.

  4. Lewisham Milton
    6th July 2022, 12:09

    Reading about the different kinds of kerbs made me hungry, but made me think: they could recycle all the sausage kerbs by putting them on top of the cars.

  5. Once again, sausage curbs haven’t been problematic literally everywhere, far from such a scenario, & they’ve generally only got placed at slow-speed corner exits & apexes where the risk is considerably lower than on high-speed stuff anyway, so people should stop overreacting for ‘isolated’ incidents.
    The one on Vale’s inside had never caused any issues before & that’s been in place for quite a while, so hardly an issue, since going off track towards Vale & losing control like Hauger is extremely unlikely, given the driving angle.

  6. The roll hoop failed, we have seen some old safety measures fail because of the increased demand from the heavier cars, the design of the roll hoop has been neglected. kerbs can be raised but sausage kerbs have no reason to exist.

    1. Renan Andrade Martinuzzo
      7th July 2022, 12:43


      The media was all over how impressive the Halo was, but neglected the fact that the safety item designed to protect the driver in a roll-over actually failed catastrophically.

      The roll-over hoop should have been sufficient.

  7. Raised curbs can be replaced with sensors under the track combined with correctly placed high-speed high-definition cameras. Track limits would be easily enforced, only the will to do so would hinder the process.

    The collapse of the roll hoop is a catastrophic failure that needs to be addressed immediately, It’s possibly confined to one team, but all need to be tested and a review of the standards be carried out.

  8. Yeah, when the roll hoop failed I immediately thought of the Diniz incident.

    What a coincidence that Saubers keep flipping over, like Gutiérrez in Bahrain a few years ago… I’m guessing that one didn’t fail because of the low speed.

  9. Sausage kerbs? Seems to me the first thing to address is the huge gap to the fence that fell that the car fell into. If it weren’t for that, Zhou probably could have got out of the car on his own even upside down. Why does that gap exist?

    1. That gap existed because no one imagined a car landing there. Now we know better.

      1. The gap exists because it’s an access area for track workers.
        It also functions as an additional safety margin for incidents such as this.

        It does not exist because someone neglected to consider that a car might end up there.

  10. The cars are pretty safe. They are so safe that raised the confidence of the drivers for close racing. I am not saying we should disregard the rules. The front and side impact testing, the halo, not having the driver as exposed as thy were in the past, etc…All advancements we had and we’ll keep adding them. Now, we are talking about cars that can go over 300 km/h, so I will break the news here: no matter what you do, someone eventually will die.

    1. Motor racing is dangerous, F1 more so. It’s part of the sport. If all danger was removed your grandma might have a go.

  11. @mauromori, @greenflag, you got me thinking about all the safety features that are built into the rules of F1 and it is an impressive list. The things that spring to mind are:


    Flame retardent race suit, including head and face
    High-specification crash helmet
    Bulletproof visor
    Hans device for head and neck protection


    Roll bar
    Raised padding around shoulders and head
    Built in fire extinguisher
    Seat belts so tight they need to be fastened by mechanics
    Survival cell
    Wheel tethers
    Kevlar fuel tanks
    Crash test
    Driver required to be able to exit car unassisted


    Improved run offs, safety barriers, catch fences
    Marshalls with fire extinguishers
    Safety car procedures
    Dedicated medical team, medical car, on-site medical centre
    Helicopter on standby to nearest trauma centre

    There are probably lots of other things I’ve forgotten. It is an impressive list of things which go into making this a safer sport, and despite many crashes, most drivers walk manage to walk away. Probably the most glaring omission though is wheel covers, and the most dangerous accidents happen when you have wheel surface contact between cars. Perhaps future regs will one day put more bodywork around the rear wheels to guard against this.

  12. Really surprised I haven’t seen anybody discuss the possibility that the Merc sidepods shape contributed significantly to the flipping of Zhou’s car. If so, they are dangerous.

    1. That’s because they had no bearing on the accident at all as they never touched Zhou’s car.
      The overhead shows it best, the rear wheel under acceleration hit Russell’s front wheel and it climbed and launched the car. The sidepods had no bearing on the accident and furthermore they’re not dangerous.

      1. Fair enough, thanks for the reply.

  13. Hans van Voonebosch
    7th July 2022, 9:32

    How about that barrier that separated from the fence? Zhou was trapped between a barrier and a fence. If that car had caught fire he would have been cooked, since it would have been next to impossible to extract him quickly from the car from that position. I would have a serious look into that barrier situation.

    1. Hans, I’m not sure the “if the car had caught fire” factor is relevant with regards to the barrier fence gap. We’ve only seen one example of a bad fire in recent years, the Grosjean accident. The intensity of the flames meant that if Grosjean been knocked unconscious, they’d never have been able to get him out of the car, no matter which way up it was. At the start of the race, there is a lot of fuel in the car, and if the fuel tank ruptures and it ignites, all bets are off. So yes, I have concerns about the way Zhou’s car was trapped behind the barrier, but at the same time I know it was a freak combination of events and I cannot remember seeing any other F1 car ever come that close to clearing the catch fence, and hopefully never will again.

  14. So is it a coincidence that the roll hoop failed on a Sauber again?

Comments are closed.