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Zhou: Roll hoop impact at Silverstone was beyond safe limits

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 03: Guanyu Zhou of Alfa Romeo and China and George Russell of Mercedes and Great Britain during the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 03, 2022 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images).

Guanyu Zhou believes that the impact that destroyed the roll hoop of his Alfa Romeo C42 car exceeded the numbers indicated by the FIA safety tests.

Zhou was involved in a lap 1 accident at Silverstone last Sunday. The Alfa Romeo driver had a contact with George Russell, which made his car go upside-down and hit a catch fence. Zhou was not hurt in the crash and was cleared to compete.

In the course of the shunt, the roll hoop of Zhou’s car was destroyed. He assumed that it suffered an impact that was beyond the limits specified by the FIA.

“With that first impact, where it landed on the first flip, the team is still doing an investigation, but I think the first hit was much harder than what they test for the safety test,” Zhou said.

“This was like a few times harder than the actual numbers we want in that. So obviously, that’s probably created the problem that came up straightaway.”

Zhou also revealed that he was taking measures to avoid arm or wrist injuries.

“Obviously when the flip happened the first thing I was trying to do was trying to release my hand off the steering wheel.

“Because you never know, you can break your wrist very easily with a crash like that.

“And then the next thing I tried to do, while I was just rolling on the ground, I knew I’ll be facing a massive impact coming up, because the car wasn’t stopping. And then I tried to lock myself in a position that is the safest possible, just waiting for that last impact.

“It’s not like I was just holding the hand backwards, but keeping it reasonably in tension, so it doesn’t get flying around when you have that last impact.

“Basically, I was just waiting for the last stop hit. And once I was basically stopped, I didn’t know where I was, because I was upside-down.

“The next thing I felt was basically there was leaking. I wasn’t sure if it was from my body, or from the car. So I just tried to switch the engine off, because the engine was still on by then. Because I knew if a fire starts, it will be difficult to get out.

“I didn’t know what happened, who hit me, because I was going straight next to the white line before turn 1, and then suddenly there was a massive shunt.”

After the crash, Zhou showed a marshal that he was fine.

“He [a marshal] was obviously making a conversation with me. He was making sure I was conscious and everything was okay, remembering what happened. So I remembered everything, and I felt okay.

“I had to kind of slide myself a little bit out. So at least to have my leg, my feet already kind of out and on the top of the seat. And they were able to pull me out.

“I didn’t realize I was between the barriers. I was thinking I was next to the barriers. But I was actually between the barrier and the fence, which I don’t know how I survived.

“But then looking back then obviously I saw the halo saved me for that.”

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