British Grand Prix: George Russell says Formula 1 needs to learn from Zhou Guanyu crash

The wreckage of Zhou Guanyu's car is lifted away
The race was red flagged after Zhou’s Alfa Romeo vaulted the barriers at the first corner

George Russell says Formula 1 needs to learn lessons from the crash in which Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo vaulted a barrier at Silverstone.

Zhou was stuck in the car for some time after the accident as rescue crews struggled to reach him in such an unusual position.

Russell called the crash “an incredibly scary incident” and added “it was horrible” for the fans close by.

“We need think to avoid a car being stuck in such a fine gap,” he added.

“The space between the barriers and the metal fence and he was just stuck in there, nowhere to go. Yeah, something to learn,” said Russell, who is a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association.

Zhou came to rest on the far side of a barrier, resting on its side against some catch fencing protecting a grandstand after a multi-car first-lap pile-up.

The Chinese driver’s crash was caused by a collision between Russell and Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly, which tipped the Mercedes into a spin and into the Alfa Romeo at close to 200mph.

Zhou’s car flipped and skidded through the gravel trap upside down, before being thrown into the air by the impact-absorbing barrier and flopping down on its far side.

Zhou, who was taken to the medical centre but later released having been declared uninjured, said he believed he had become the latest in a series of drivers to be saved by the halo head-protection device, which has been fitted to F1 cars since 2018.

“It was a big crash and I’m glad I’m OK,” he said. “The marshals and the medical team at the track were fantastic with their quick response, and I also owe my thanks to the FIA and Formula 1 for all the work they have done, and they keep doing, to improve the safety of our cars.

“The halo saved me, and it goes to show that every step we take in improving our cars has real, valuable results.”

Governing body the FIA investigates all serious accidents in an attempt to learn lessons from them. A spokesman said the FIA could not comment until this process was complete.

Williams driver Alex Albon also received medical attention after a separate accident at the first corner, in which he was catapulted into the pit wall after being rammed by Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin.

The British-Thai driver was helicoptered to Coventry hospital but released later on Sunday evening.

Albon said: “I’m very glad that everyone else involved in the first-lap incident is OK.

“Thank you to the medical staff at the track and Coventry hospital.

“It’s a shame the race ended before it began today but we are already fully focused on Austria [this coming weekend]. Bring on the next one.”

British GP
Following a huge crash at the start Zhou ended up stuck between the catch-fencing and the barrier – he was declared uninjured by medics

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