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Alfa Romeo roll hoop likely focus of Zhou F1 crash investigation

Zhou Guanyu’s horror accident at the start of Formula 1’s British Grand Prix will, like every crash, be investigated in depth by the FIA.

As part of the never-ending quest for improved safety, motor racing’s governing body pores over the details of each major accident to better understand the factors that worked as planned to help the driver, and areas where perhaps improvement can be made.

One of the aspects of the Zhou incident that will likely be looked at especially closely will be what happened to the C42’s roll hoop, with images of the car in the aftermath showing it had been ripped clean off.

Still pictures and video footage of Zhou indicate the roll hoop didn’t survive the initial roll, and that it was the halo and other surrounding safety structures that prevented the driver’s head from hitting the ground thereafter.

The accident involving Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C42 at the start of the race
Photographer:Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

What the FIA will want to better understand is what forces were at play and the scale and number of impacts the roll hoop took during the sequences of the crash.

One factor that stands out is that Alfa Romeo is unique in the F1 grid in 2022 in running a blade-style roll structure (seen below) – the concept of which has fallen in and out of favour over the years.

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