Sunday, December 10, 2023

Zhou feared being trapped inside would set fire to an F1 car

SPIELBERG, Austria ( Associated Press) – Trapped upside down inside his confused car, Zhou Guanyue sensed something leaking. He wasn’t sure what it was, but the Formula One driver knew it potentially increased the risk of his car bursting into flames and being trapped inside.

“I didn’t know where I was because I was upside down, and the next thing I felt was something leaking. I wasn’t sure whether it was from my body or the car,” he said. That if there was a fire it would be difficult to get out, so I turned off my engine and then everything was fine.”

Zhou, a 23-year-old Chinese driver for Alfa Romeo, spoke on Thursday about his painful wait to be freed from his car after a horrific first-lap crash at last Sunday’s British Grand Prix. The car was trapped between the fence and the tire barrier at the first corner and rescuers were struggling to reach it in such an unusual condition.

With thoughts of fire racing through his mind, Zhou said that he, too, kept his head up to keep it from hitting the side, but that he knew nothing else about his condition.

accident at silverstone The race was immediately halted after the car flipped and slid down the gravel and into the retaining fence over the tire wall. The car was sliding on the halo, a frontal cockpit safety device, with Zhou’s helmet frighteningly close to the track surface. Then it became airborne.

Zhou still can’t explain how he got away with a minor injury.

“I was hurt a little but after a day everything was fine. I don’t know how I went with such little impact on my body,” Zhou said ahead of the Austrian GP this weekend in Spielberg. “It’s nice to be back here and especially not that long. So you don’t think about what happened, with questions you go straight into preparation… If you had summer vacation right after that, this Terrible, you will be thinking about the accident over and over again.

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He processed the event remarkably fast with his mind.

“I was mentally happy to have just one day off and then went back to check on my physical condition. For me it was not a matter of concern,” he said. “Of course there are times you do something and you need a little mental help, but this time I didn’t think it was needed.”

Zhou was looking forward to Friday’s sprint race qualifying at the Red Bull Ring.

“No fear. Apart from not looking at the pictures much I was able to take it quite calmly, because that car was in bad shape,” he said. “What I remember is that I was hit and flipped a lot. was traveling at a very constant speed, quite fast in the gravel… It was only when I was looking down that I realized I was going over an obstacle.”

Remarkably, Zhou was still clear enough to analyze how to keep himself safe: “I tried to let go of the steering wheel myself and then fell into a very low position. Make sure I I’m pretty solid inside myself, waiting for the final effect.”

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Zhou again praised the Halo protective device, which was added to F1 cars in 2018.

“I feel very fortunate to look back,” he said. “I don’t know how I survived, but then looking back I saw the halo saved me for it.”

The race was won by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. Was quickly red flagged. George Russell ran from his Mercedes to the tire barrier to check on Zhou.

“It was really his game. Shows great respect for the drivers,” Zhou said. “Even though that wasn’t the cause of the incident. He called me later.”

Russell, who was initially hit from behind and was knocked into Zhou, recalled his first glimpse of Zhou.

“He was stuck there, literally not able to get out of the car,” Russell said Thursday. “When you’ve got a tire wall effectively mounted above your head, blocking your exhaust, hanging upside down, it’s just a terrible situation.”

Russell thinks improvements can be made to ensure that the driver is removed from the car more quickly.

“With every disaster there is an opportunity to improve as a sport, or whatever,” he said. “Obviously things could have been laid out a little differently so he could get out.”

Race rules prevented Russell from restarting as his car was pulled back, harsh as he stepped out to check on Zhou. He said Mercedes understood his “natural reaction” to a “terrible incident”.

IndyCar driver Callum Ilot, who praised Russell’s actions, Recalls when he helped her during a kart accident. Russell told how he was helped in a similar way.

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“I rolled my car in 2008. I was stuck at the bottom,” he said. “I was actually burning my hand because the exhaust got stuck on me. This other driver stopped to lift the car over me and help me get out of there.

hello device On cars was once very divisive in F1. While four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel was an early vocal supporter of it, seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton was among its critics.

Not anymore, not after last Sunday and last September, when Max Verstappen’s Red Bull car ran over him at the Italian GP.

“The (governing body) FIA has done an incredible job improving safety. I also want to acknowledge the late, great (race director) Charlie (Whiteing), who was really fundamental in getting us this halo, Hamilton said. “It saved my life last year, it saved the lives of many drivers. Although we didn’t always support it in the beginning because of what it looked like, I remember (Whiteing) telling us it was a 17% improvement in security, and we couldn’t ignore it. ,

Williams’ Alex Albon was thrown into a pit wall last Sunday after being hit from behind by Vettel as drivers tried to avoid an incident involving Zhou. Williams was taken to hospital by helicopter and discharged the same evening.

“I feel good, a little sore on Monday,” Albon said on Thursday. “It all happened very quickly. I felt like I was hitting the wall and then it was like a pinball reaction.”


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