GP3 rollhoops recalled after Silverstone crash investigation
|By Charles Bradley||Thursday, July 10th 2014, 08:57 GMT|
Dallara is to recall all GP3 rollhoops for reinforcement before the next round in Germany following an investigation after Mitch Gilbert's crash at Silverstone.
In wet weather conditions during qualifying, Gilbert's car was travelling at 230km/h when it struck the much slower car of fellow series debutant Sebastian Balthasar from behind on the Hangar Straight, causing his car to backflip.
When it landed, the rollhoop was torn away from the monocoque.
Having also shed its right-front wheel, Gilbert's car slid upside down for a long period without its rollhoop, finally coming to rest in the gravel trap on the outside of Stowe Corner.
He required stitches in his right hand, but was otherwise unhurt.
"There was a car going slowly on the straight and with so much spray, I couldn't see him," said Gilbert. "The car rolled and stayed upside down for a long time."
Alex Lynn, who was right behind the crash and veered onto the grass to avoid it, said: "It was like a plane crash - the car backflipped and then slid a long way."
Series' technical director Didier Perrin told AUTOSPORT that a lack of TV footage of the crash had hindered the investigation.
However, the conclusion was that the unusual nature of the high-speed, rearwards-action impact against the track surface following the backflip was what caused the rollhoop to be pulled away.
"It's a very rare and unexpected case, and our action is purely as a precaution against another one-chance-in-a-million incident happening again," said Perrin.
"The rollhoop was pulled off the monocoque in this rearwards motion; we don't know at what speed it impacted the ground, but this is very unusual.
"So we decided to reinforce all the GP3 rollhoops before Hockenheim as a matter of precaution to prevent something like that happening again."
FIA MONITORING THE SITUATION
The sport's governing body, the FIA, has requested that it is kept informed of the findings of the investigation.
"We have asked Dallara for a full report because they need to understand exactly what has happened," said an FIA spokesman. "We will work together to learn from the failure.
"It goes without saying that the design had passed the necessary structure tests, but clearly the loads in the accident were massive at such high speeds. So this is a situation that concerns us."
AUTOSPORT has also learned that Gilbert's helmet was impounded by the FIA at Silverstone, due to the damage it sustained as he slid upside down for such a long time.
"We have taken the helmet, and this is something we have done many times over the years," added the FIA spokesman.
"We think it will be helpful to carefully examine the damage for our studies, and also involve the helmet manufacturer to try to understand what lessons can be learned."