Tougher tests for F1 roll hoops in 2023 after Zhou’s Silverstone crash

2022 F1 season

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The FIA plans to introduce “more stringent measures” for testing roll hoops on Formula 1 cars following Zhou Guanyu‘s shocking British Grand Prix crash.

Zhou’s car was launched onto its roll hoop in a horrific crash at the start of the race at Silverstone. His Alfa Romeo rolled at around 230km/h after contact between George Russell and Pierre Gasly sent the Mercedes spinning into his car.

The roll hoop on Zhou’s car appeared to buckle when it struck the ground. The inverted car skidded along the asphalt with the halo supporting much of its weight, then rolled through the gravel trap and over a tyre barrier before coming to a stop.

Zhou was extracted from his car before being taken to the Silverstone medical centre for evaluation, but was later released having been deemed fit and well by medical staff. Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur later revealed that the force exerted on Zhou’s roll hoop was “two times more than the load of the crash test” that the FIA place on roll hoops during safety testing.

Following a meeting of the FIA’s Formula 1 Technical Advisory Committee, the governing body announced it will be increase the demands on roll hoops in crash tests in response to Zhou’s crash.

“The TAC discussed the serious incident involving Zhou Guanyu at Silverstone,” said the FIA in a statement received by RaceFans.

“The teams confirmed their availability to introduce more stringent measures on the roll hoops for 2023, and the FIA undertook to complete the relevant analyses, and to communicate to the teams new requirements for the safety of the roll hoop. The FIA welcomed the constructive approach of the teams during these discussions.”

The revised tests will accompany new regulation changes proposed for 2023 intended to reduce the phenomenon of porpoising experienced by many teams following the introduction of ground effect cars for the 2022 season.

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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14 comments on “Tougher tests for F1 roll hoops in 2023 after Zhou’s Silverstone crash”

  1. The roll hoop didn’t buckle. It sheared clean off the car and could be seen bouncing along the track. Until then I had assumed the roll structure was part of the monocoque not a piece of titanium bonded to the top of the tub.

    1. No, it’s always been a separate metal part, otherwise it would need to be carbon fiber…. perhaps making a piece this intricate (with air intake, cooling channels and so on) out of carbon would be either too difficult or too bulky compared to titanium.

      1. Carbon fiber is strong but brittle. They can’t make the roll hoop itself out of carbon, because it would shatter to dust on impact. It needs to be more flexible, to maybe deform a little, but still stay in one piece.

  2. And the minimum weight goes beyond 800 kg.

    1. Better that, without question, than a dead driver.

    2. But why change the minimum weight? Mandate for safety not weight!

      1. Raymond Pang
        16th July 2022, 13:48

        Because they are trying to avoid spiralling costs for teams to get down to a given weight. But then that’s what the cost cap is for I guess.

  3. As I understand it the titanium blade bonded atop the carbon fibre roll hoop failed, only then did the cabon fibre roll hoop fail, and maybe that’s not a bad thing.

    As in the above picture, by the degredation of the blade and roll hoop much of the energy was dissipated. With the loss of the blade and roll hoop this also prevented the car digging into the gravel at a higher speed.

    Maybe the thinking about the survival cell has to move forward and, with the introduction of the halo, the original intention of the roll hoop is now obsolete.

  4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    15th July 2022, 16:40

    Between Grosjean’s accident, Lewis’s accident at Monza, and Zhou Guanyu’s accident, it’s a miracle that no one has been hurt in F1 over the past 3 seasons.

    1. not to forget Max in silverstone

  5. How do you know, might have both buckled then sheered off.

  6. I’m sure the teams will also welcome the increased expediture to help them meet this new standard.

  7. Gavin Campbell
    15th July 2022, 22:19

    You add weight for safety which makes other parts fail so you add weight to them so they don’t fail which makes other parts fail……

    They have to point the finger back at some point right?

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