Monday, March 21, 2016

Alonso's F1 crash in Melbourne highlights how safe F1 cars are.

Call it a racing incident, call it distracted driving (Gutierrez was preoccupied trying to reprogram something on his steering wheel), call it bad braking - Alonso's crash in Melbourne this sunday was horrific whichever way you look at it.

What the video above doesn't show is that Alonso managed to get himself out of the wreckage unassisted and walked away. He was later checked out by the medical crew and found to have no serious injuries (although he is now limping).
F1 is a great sports and it's inherently dangerous. But the safety innovations in the design of the cars have come on in leaps and bounds as the years go by and only 10 years ago, this would likely have been a fatal crash. For Alonso to be able to have such tremendous forces applied to the car during this crash and be able to get out and walk away is a testament to the skill and engineering involved in creating modern F1 cars. If you watch the footage after the crash, where the crane is lifting the wreckage over the catch barrier, you'll see the cockpit of the car was completely intact - the safety cell was undamaged by the impact.
It does call into question the use of gravel traps again though. Most F1 circuits have asphalt run-off areas now and it could be argued that had that corner not been gravel, Alonso's car would not have flipped over. I'm surprised to still see grass and gravel run-off areas in modern F1 circuits.
In other news, hopefully the FIA can do something about the abominable new qualifying rules before the next race.