Anthoine Hubert, Arden, Spa, 2019

FIA announces major safety changes following serious and fatal crashes

2020 F1 season

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The FIA has announced a series of safety changes, including major improvements to the designs of F1 and other single-seater cars, following investigations of “28 serious and fatal accidents” at circuits during 2019.

Among those incidents was the serious crash at Spa-Francorchamps last year which claimed the life of Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert and left rival Juan Manuel Correa with serious leg injuries.

As RaceFans revealed in February, the changes will require F1 cars to pass significantly tougher crash tests in which their impact absorbing structures will be subjected to higher loads. As well as being introduced to F1, F4 and Formula E chassis, these will be adopted for F2 and F3 cars in “the next car update”, the FIA says.

As well as upgrading the front impact structure and incorporating the front anti-intrusion panel, a new design of side-impact structure is being researched. The FIA will also pay close attention to how the two interaction in a car-on-car collision to ensure compatibility between the two.

Scott Dixon, Ganassi, IndyCar Aeroscreen test, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 2019
IndyCar already uses tethers for wings as well as wheels
Tethers, which are already used to keep wheels attached to cars in crashes, will also be used to prevent large pieces of debris detaching, adopting a practice which has already been in use in IndyCar racing for several years. New constructions and materials are being investigated to reduce the possibility of smaller pieces of debris being ejected.

Changes to the design of front wings and how they attach to cars are also being considered. One area of research is examining the possibility of design wings which experience ‘controlled failure’ in the event of sustaining damage, to reduce the chance of an unpredictable and dangerous failure occuring.

Potential improvements to headrest design for single-seater cars are also being examined. For closed-cockpit cars, a new standard of competition seat with increased lateral protection is being designed.

The safety improvements will not stop with the cars. Track design, particularly run-off areas and barrier construction, will also be addressed.

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New barriers designed for improved performance when struck at angles between 0 to 20 degrees are being introduced. Run-off areas will incorporate more anti-skid and high-friction surfaces, and new procedures governing how drivers may rejoin the track after running wide are planned.

The FIA is also looking into how it can alert drivers more quickly and consistently to potential dangers ahead. This will involved the introduction of an accident notification system to ensure drivers see yellow flag warnings as quickly as possible.

More advanced changes are under consideration for future introduction, such as using cars’ rear lights to display yellow flag and other warning signals. The possibility of deploying yellow flag warnings automatically is also being examined as well as the use of car-to-car notifications in the event a driver is stationary in a dangerous position. “The coordinated power reduction or redirection of cars following an incident” is a further possibility, the FIA added.

Warning systems will also be added to Formula 2 and Formula 3 cars this year to alert drivers to potential loss of tyre pressure.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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43 comments on “FIA announces major safety changes following serious and fatal crashes”

  1. “Run-off areas will incorporate more anti-skid and high-friction surfaces, and new procedures governing how drivers may rejoin the track after running wide are planned.” oh joy

    1. don’t think it makes any sense either. Anyway FIA is addressing the issues.

  2. “new procedures governing how drivers may rejoin the track after running wide are planned.”
    I wonder if that is that to prevent people keeping the pedal to the medal after going off track? Ie in response to what Correa did at Spa. Or is it more about rejoining after a spin like Vettel and Stroll at Monza hitting oncoming traffic.

      1. @peartree Look at the video?

        1. @f1osaurus I am only aware of 3 videos. Tv cut, and 2 fan videos, none suggest what you state. Even if he did what you say he did, one does not establish the other, as for instances a crashed car should have not ended up there, and slowing down might have caused a worse pile up. There are many angles. This was a russian roulette situation, something was going to happen, doesn’t matter who pulled the trigger.

          1. @peartree All of them show Correa keeping his foot down. Maybe you should atcully try to watch and understand the video’s rather than being a dumb troll? Or bugger off with your daft nonsense altogether. take your pick.

          2. @f1osaurus

            I’m not saying he drove into the other car full throttle, but that he was going full throttle UNTIL he saw Hubert’s car spinning back into his path. That gave him only a very small space to slow down.

            And I am the troll?! So he was driving like everyone else.

            It’s cleat he had enough track left for an F2 car to come to a full stop, Or at the very least stlow down to a non lethal speed. Instead he only slowed down a few kilometers to 218km/h

            Super clear as is…

            All of them show Correa keeping his foot down. Maybe you should atcully try to watch and understand the video’s rather than being a dumb troll? Or bugger off with your daft nonsense altogether. take your pick.

            “Because I can see on a bad video that someone is keeping their foot down, but isn’t, is only full when it goes through the corner… as any other car, but, then slows down, is not full throttle, when faced with another car, and because…”
            You’ve contradicted yourself a dozen times. You are definitely not stating any wrongdoing on Correa, just like the fia.

          3. @peartree

            And I am the troll?! So he was driving like everyone else.

            `
            YES YOU ARE A TROLL. He was driving like everyone else OFF THE TRACK!!!! Whichj is exactlu why Hubert is dead now.

            So yes it makes sense that FIA wants to stop that.

            You’ve contradicted yourself a dozen times.

            I haven’t contradicted myself once. You are a troll.

    1. I would imagine it would mean more detours like Sochi turns 2/3 or last chicane at Montreal.

    2. Correa did no such thing. Please read the FIA accident report, where it is clearly stated, that Correa did nothing wrong.

      1. @uzsjgb The FIA report said no such thing. Correa hit Hubert with a speed of 218 km/h. That clearly shows he started braking only after he saw Hubert veer back into his path again.

        1. @f1osaurus Since you are familiar with the report, please read it again. It clearly states that Correa lost control of the car, after hitting debris. This caused the car to veer off the track.

          In conclusion the report states:
          “The investigation found no evidence that any driver failed to react appropriately in response to the yellow flag signal or to the circumstances on track.”

          So, please refrain from saying that “people keeping the pedal to the medal after going off track”.

          1. @uzsjgb

            This caused the car to veer off the track.

            Yes that’s how he ended up on the runoff. That’s not the issue. The issue is that you can clearly see him keeping up with the cars still on the race track until he drives into Hubert.

            If Correa actually had reacted correctly he would not have been doing 218km/h.

          2. @uzsjgb f2 cars are going over 270 there so no he wasn’t full throttle if that matters for anything. @f1osaurus

          3. @peartree Seriously? Is it that hard to understand something this simple?

            I’m not saying he drove into the other car full throttle, but that he was going full throttle UNTIL he saw Hubert’s car spinning back into his path. That gave him only a very small space to slow down.

            It’s cleat he had enough track left for an F2 car to come to a full stop, Or at the very least stlow down to a non lethal speed. Instead he only slowed down a few kilometers to 218km/h

          4. @f1osaurus “It’s cleat he had enough track left for an F2 car to come to a full stop, Or at the very least stlow down to a non lethal speed. Instead he only slowed down a few kilometers to 218km/h”

            This is fun. What is your explanation for the FIA and Hubert’s family covering this up? Why do only you know of these wonderous capabilites of F2 cars, and nobody else?

          5. @uzsjgb You are seriously going to claim that F2 cars cannot slow down?

            Really that’s going to be your argument? You are not kidding me now are you? This is some “wonderous capabilites of F2 cars” that you have never heard of?

            All your trolling aside, it’s crystal clear that Correa did not slow down. Especially not enough to prevent a death.

            The only thing you could actually rightfully claim is that this is “standard practice” and that all drivers don’t slow down when they go off track. And you know what? Maybe, possibly, just maybe, possible, perhaps, maybe, the FIA wants drivers to stop that because it took a life. How about that? You know to actually learn a lesson from what happened instead from tragedy. But no, we

          6. @f1osaurus “Maybe, possibly, just maybe, possible, perhaps, maybe, the FIA wants drivers to stop that because it took a life. How about that? You know to actually learn a lesson from what happened instead from tragedy.”

            Well, why didn’t the FIA say that then? Why did the FIA instead say that no driver did anything wrong?

          7. @uzsjgb

            Well, why didn’t the FIA say that then?

            Are you friggin kidding me? The whole article on top of the page is about the FIA saying they want to learn lessons from these accidents and make changes to prevent them happening again. Going off track and rejoining are specifically mentioned.

            Which is exactly why I asked if it was Correa’s off track driving which prompted this part.

            So now you have trolled me full circle and I will ask again:

            “new procedures governing how drivers may rejoin the track after running wide are planned.”
            I wonder if that is that to prevent people keeping the pedal to the medal after going off track? Ie in response to what Correa did at Spa. Or is it more about rejoining after a spin like Vettel and Stroll at Monza hitting oncoming traffic.

            Seriously! People like you make me so incredibly sad.

          8. @f1osaurus “Which is exactly why I asked if it was Correa’s off track driving which prompted this part.”

            You have been told multiple times by multiple posters that it wasn’t. You have been told multiple times by multiple posters to read the FIA report. You have been told multiple times by multiple posters the FIA report says no driver did anything wrong and that includes Correa.

            I can only deduce that you either have an irrational hate for Correa, which hinders you from seeing the facts or you are simply trolling.

            In either case it is fruitless discussing with you, because facts do not interest you.

          9. @uzsjgb I have told you multiple times that the FIA does see something wrong with driver behavior BECAUSE THEY ARE TRYING TO FIX IT.

            The FIA wants to fix something and you say nothing is wrong. Who is the one neglecting facts here?

        2. The FIA investigation didn’t put any blame on Correa. If what you say is true surely they would have?

          The investigation found no evidence that any driver failed to react appropriately in response to the yellow flag signal or to the circumstances on track.

          1. They did now by saying that the Spa incident prompted them to look into off track driving and rejoining as one of the lessons learned from how Spa became such a tragedy.

          2. @f1osaurus The report is based on the analysis of 28 incidents including the Spa incident. No element of the Spa incident involved anyone rejoining the track dangerously. This is all from what the FIA have said in their reports. Correa did nothing wrong. His car was damaged and he lost control. It was a tragic accident.

        3. @f1osaurus you have 0 proof of what you claim. Why do you want to blame correa?
          You can only contradict yourself, your theory is unsubstantiated.
          You just want to hate.
          Childish.

          1. @peartree Do you see him slow down? Let alone slow down to a safe speed ready to stop?

            What more proof do you need?

            How can you not see that this is behavior that the FIA would likely be trying to root out?

            Stop trolling!

  3. Great. So f1 tries to cut costs and the fia come along to bring them back up… good job.

  4. Very nice to see this interim report, and that the FIA is looking at the situation holistically.

    Changes to the design of front wings and how they attach to cars are also being considered. One area of research is examining the possibility of design wings which experience ‘controlled failure’ in the event of sustaining damage, to reduce the chance of an unpredictable and dangerous failure occuring.

    I don’t think it was part of his remit, but did Ross Brawn (and his team) consider this when they were speccing out the 2022 regs? If they didn’t, that’s fine, they had their hands full with cleaning up dirty air, but if they did, it’d be nice to see what design considerations were made.

    “The coordinated power reduction or redirection of cars following an incident” is a further possibility, the FIA added.

    Good – I have long been of the opinion that under cautionary conditions, it is risky to entrust the drivers to do the right thing, especially when they are balancing off the need to drive cautiously against driving to a delta, keeping the tyres warm, etc.

    New constructions and materials are being investigated to reduce the possibility of smaller pieces of debris being ejected.

    Sometimes we also need a process solution and not just a technological solution. Quite often, a source of carbon fiber and tyre debris is when a driver drags a damaged car to the pits, shedding debris along the way (e.g. a rear tyre blowout, and the tyre carcass shreds the floor as well).

    Unlike a racing incident which is localized to an area that marshals can survey and clean up quickly, a trail of debris like this is harder to clean up. Maybe the sporting regs ought to tighten up on this? Maybe quickly enact a maximum speed limit for visibly damaged cars? Or just get stricter with the black and orange flag?

  5. The possibility of deploying yellow flag warnings automatically is also being examined as well as the use of car-to-car notifications in the event a driver is stationary in a dangerous position.

    I like this idea, or at least the concept of it. Something like this should have been deployed long ago.
    I’m not sure if a computer can decide whether or not a car that is stationary is in a dangerous position or not, maybe it would be better to believe that once a car is stationary right then and there it is in a dangerous position unless it is an obvious safe place, e.g. in the team’s “pit box” in front of the garage, waiting on the starting grid for the race to start, etc. Also, if the car has received a substantial impact that should immediately be deemed as dangerous even if the car hasn’t stopped.

  6. F1 returns, milder than ever.

  7. the changes will require F1 cars to pass significantly tougher crash tests

    Even the sturdiest of materials have a breaking point.

    1. And if you make the car stronger there will be higher impact forces on the drivers. A car shedding bits is dissipating kinetic energy; crushable structures to absorb energy while limiting maximum g loading are critical. It’s been a while since I read the crash test regulations, but if memory serves the chassis is rigged to record g and there is a maximum load over a time.

  8. IndyCar has been down this road long ago. All especially important with the insane average speeds of the super speedways. I wonder how long before we see Aeroscreens on F1 cars?

    From IndyCar’s website;

    NTT INDYCAR SERIES car safety initiatives have included side intrusion panels that go beyond FIA standards; attenuators that lessen G forces in impacts; continued development of car safety, including helmet, seat and head surrounds to lessen G forces in impacts. Child-seat manufacturer Dorel utilizes the same technology found in INDYCAR race seats in its child car seats. with the addition of the intrusion panels, significant upgrades to impact absorption materials around the divers seat.

    Suspension Wheel/Wing Energy Management System (SWEMS) restraints are attached at multiple points to a car’s chassis, suspension and wings to minimize the possibility of parts becoming detached during high-speed accidents.
    Located on each wheel assembly, the rear wing and nose cone, each restraint, with their high-tensile Zylon material and wound construction, has a break load of 100 kilonewtons (kN), which equals 22,480 pound-force. INDYCAR introduced SWEMS in 1999. “We have several on each wheel and two on each wing, so a single failure does not mean it is detrimental to the retention system,” said Jeff Horton, INDYCAR Director of Engineering. Visual inspection of the restraints is part of the initial safety inspection on event weekends. If any of the four corners sustain an impact, the rulebook mandates changing the SWEMS on the affected corner.

    1. Look no further than Bourdais 2017 Indy 500 qualifying crash, or Dixon’s flight during the race to see how strong an IndyCar is. They take some truly insane impacts, and generally protect the drivers very well.

  9. All but runoff part is brilliant and needed. I support this initiative.

  10. If there is one thing this sport needs, it’s more regulation.

  11. New barriers and stronger cars are good, but other than that… More regulations and complicated information systems are not what motorsport needs, they don’t help when humans are trying to react quickly without losing time. Yellow flags alert of a danger, but drivers lift a fraction then plough on anyway. Perhaps the only good solution suggested is the coordinated power reduction of cars. With drive-by-wire you could reduce the throttle input to, say, 20%, and have the cars crawl past while the accident is cleared.

    Also, I’m interested to know, how does tethering carbon fibre work? The stuff shatters everywhere, it doesn’t normally fall off in one or two big pieces like a wheel

    1. In fact, I have just had an idea… For example, let’s say there’s a crash at the top of Raidillon. The yellow panels immediately flash from the exit of the previous slow corner (in this case, La Source), and the yellows end just after the accident.

      Any cars already within the yellow zone automatically lose most of their power. This prevents them from ignoring the yellows. They now have to carefully slow down to below 100 km/h (preferably coasting as this is usually safer than applying the brakes). Once they are below 100 km/h a speed limiter is automatically enabled. The limit on power/torque would prevent wheelspin.

      The same would apply to any cars entering the yellow zone, but with the benefit that they will already be going quite slowly. Once the cars are back in the green, the restrictions automatically stop and drivers carry on.

      1. Great idea. So here is a driver, flat through a high speed corner, and some system, without driver input, just totally backs off the throttle at 150 mph in the middle of the corner. What could go wrong?

  12. It is a true testament to the F1 fan that you are all complaining about making the sport safer. Show an F1 fan a change and they will show you a million reason why it is wrong.

    Time to grow up guys, we are talking about human life here.

  13. I always find it baffling that the ‘new safety discoveries’ are obvious stuff that should have been in place years and years ago, although the “coordinated power reduction or redirection of cars following an incident” is a good one.

  14. Perhaps Formula One will perfect the closed canopy safety system and do it right. Solve the problem it’s built for that takes F1 into the future by finally creating a design that solves covered canopy roll overs. Build it like a Hydroplane who use two exits to get out of the closed canopy.
    When flipped over Into the water during racing the bottom of the cockpit opens outward to remove a driver needing aid. Tweak it a bit and it brings possibility of solution for a future generation of F1racecar. Any time you have an open cockpit it could collect damaged parts that cause injury.

    So maybe it’s still a while out there.

    Sadly only injury to drivers will accelerate this date or pressure from the sponsors, fans and the racing community.

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