Schumacher’s chassis-splitting crash shows effects of rising car weight – Alonso

2022 Monaco Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers expect the sport to learn from Mick Schumacher’s heavy Monaco Grand Prix crash which split the rear from his Haas car.

Schumacher was taken to the circuit medical centre following the 22G impact but was uninjured.

“I was glad that he’s fine because that was a scary one,” said Esteban Ocon.

His team mate Fernando Alonso called Schumacher’s crash, which occured at the swimming pool chicane “massive”, and likened it to the same driver’s previous shunt during qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

“I remember also seeing the Jeddah accident and then again the car split in two,” said Alonso. “The gearbox was not in the chassis and again [in Monaco].

“So luckily he’s okay but it’s a big, big accident. Hopefully we can learn something from today as well.”

Alonso suspects the car broke up the way it did because of the increased weight of the 2022 machines. The latest regulations stipulate a minimum weight of 798 kilograms before any fuel is added.

“I don’t think I see it as a car issue, just how how hard you hit with these cars,” he said. “They are very heavy, more than 800 kilos so the inertia when they go into the walls, it’s a lot higher than the past.

“So as I said, probably we will learn something from today as well.”

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Mick Schumacher, Haas, Monaco, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Monaco Grand Prix in pictures
The way that the Haas car had split in two “reminds you how big the energies that we have,” said Alexander Albon.

“I’m glad that he’s okay,” he added. “Obviously for it to split in half is pretty scary. So we need to figured out, see what happened there.”

Valtteri Bottas agreed “it’s always weird when you see a car in two halves. It’s not how it’s supposed to look but the main thing is he’s okay.”

The wreckage left by Schumacher’s crash also surprised Pierre Gasly. “It was bad,” he said. “I was worried because when I saw the gearbox completely out, it was quite, quite shocking.”

Gasly expressed surprise the Virtual Safety Car was used at first rather than a standard Safety Car. The FIA clarified this was in order to allow the Safety Car to immediately pick up the race leader and not spend time having to wave other cars past, which would have delayed the recovery effort.

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2022 Monaco Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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17 comments on “Schumacher’s chassis-splitting crash shows effects of rising car weight – Alonso”

  1. Schumacher’s car breaking apart is supposed to be a feature because of the regulation changes after Grosjean’s crash, specifically to protect the driver from the big impact forces.

    So is there a discrepancy between Alonso’s knowledge of this rule change and the crash or not?

  2. Correct me if I’m wrong but the Technical regulations were changed to make the car come apart like this after Grojeans crash.

    1. Your right there are 4 breakpoints so the gearbox breaks off the chasis when certain requirements are met.

  3. There may be some truth to what Fernando has said, but the cars are also meant to break apart, dissipate energy and protect the driver, which is exactly what happened with Mick Schumacher’s car.
    Had Fernando’s big crash at Albert Park in 2016 been at a different angle I’m sure his tub and engine would’ve also split apart as designed.
    In 1996 we saw Martin Brundle’s car split in half at the same corner after launching off the back of another car. This was back when F1’s minimum weight was a full 200 kg lighter than 2022 cars, though I suspect Martin’s car may have been quite weak and split apart too easily. These days the FIA crash tests are much more stringent.

    1. He has a point tho. Raising weight limits increases the energy that needs to be dissipated in a crash. But then agan, a lighter car is faster, and energy increases much more rapidly the faster you go compared to an increase in weight.

      As always it’s a balance. But judging by how hard teams are working to even reach the weight limit, I don’t think there’s much to be done with this regulations other than just wait development. Maybe then they can start decreasing the weight limit, maybe with the new engine regulations in a couple of years time.

      1. but the current cars are actually faster.

  4. Gasly may have been surprised about the initial VSC, but I was surprised about doing a few laps behind SC, only for an eventual race suspension. Red should’ve come out immediately or not at all.
    I was also surprised that lapped drivers didn’t get to unlap themselves during the stoppage as has been the standard approach for a long time if not always.
    This way, they would’ve already been on the lead lap when everyone left the pit lane simultaneously & thus no subsequent juggling & catching up, so I don’t get the rationale behind going against this tradition.

    1. RandomMallard
      1st June 2022, 12:17

      @jerejj My only thinking about why they may not have let the lapped runners unlap themselves in the “normal” procedure (before the restart) would be because of the pitlane at Monaco being so tight, and perhaps not being able to get all the lapped runners through (we saw that weird moment in the F2 race under the SC with the cars trying to come out the pits being blocked by Marshalls moving another car)? But I don’t know anything for certain.

    2. @jerejj I think maybe they had to wait for the cars to be rolling before allowing the lapped cars to drive around due to how narrow the Monaco pit lane is (Especially towards the end) not allowing the lapped cars to be wheeled to the front of the queue to drive around.

      I think Brundle said during commentary that they have been putting out the VSC before throwing a full SC in order to immediately neutralise the field & allow for the leader to make it around so the SC can pick him up immediately.

      I also think I saw it said elsewhere after the Gasly/Norris collision in Miami that in some instances they want to call a VSC quickly to neutralise the field & then allow them a bit of additional time to assess the incident scene to see if it can be cleared under a VSC or if a full SC will be required. And then if they feel the need for a full SC they will wait for the leader to come around so the SC can pick him up immediately.

      As to the red flag. I guess maybe it was felt that Mick’s car would be recovered quickly and that the barriers could also be sorted out quickly but that once Mick’s car was moved they found the barrier was more damaged and/or harder to put back than was expected.

  5. There is no question that it is better to hit the wall in a 2022 car than a significantly lighter car from 2008. That is due to better safety technology and design and some of that adds weight.

    Haas can’t be in a good financial position having written off two chassis already. That has to sting.

    1. There was a note put out by the Haas Team after the Jeddah “incident” and indicating that they were able to reuse the chassis (aka, Tub). Assuming some repairs were required, but that is impressive in itself.
      From video I saw of the Monaco accident, it looked like the left rear wheel snagged or got caught up in the barrier and that contributed to separating the rear from the front of the car.

    2. @dmw 07 Canada would be fatal today.

      1. What makes you think that?

  6. They don’t seem to understand energy dissipation.

    Valtteri Bottas: “it’s always weird when you see a car in two halves. It’s not how it’s supposed to look.”
    – It’s exactly how it’s supposed to look, you silly!

    1. to be pedantic, it depends how and where the two halves are distributed, you don’t want it to snap in half where your knees are but I get it

    2. Heavier cars have more energy to dissipate

  7. Prashanth Ramadas
    5th June 2022, 6:30

    I hope we have a clean year in terms of races. These are risky sports.

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