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Silverstone modifies Turn 1 run-off in response to scary Zhou F1 crash

Silverstone circuit has been modified in response to the dramatic crash for Alfa Romeo Formula 1 driver Zhou Guanyu on the opening lap of the 2022 British Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, leads as a crash involving George Russell, Mercedes W13, Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C42, Alex Albon, Williams FW44, Esteban Ocon, Alpine A522, and Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03, unfolds

A slow launch from George Russell to trigger contact with the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly sent the Mercedes spinning into Zhou on the approach to the Turn 1 right-hander.

The collision with rookie Zhou was enough to flip his car, which then skated on its roll hoop across the asphalt before digging in through the gravel trap.

The Alfa then became airborne to clear the tyre barrier until it was stopped by the catch fencing, although the car then dropped between the two safety devices to leave Zhou temporarily stuck in the cockpit.

While Zhou escaped without injury, for this season, the FIA has increased the stringency of crash testing for the roll hoop to reduce the likelihood of it digging in.

This has been carried out via reducing the height at which a revised homologation test will be applied. Further tweaks to the structure are expected for 2024.

Meanwhile, Silverstone has modified the first-corner run-off by removing the gravel bed (approximately 45 metres deep) to be replaced by a larger section of asphalt.

Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle told Motorsport.com: “We've done a load of work this winter. There's a big piece of asphalt out the front rather than the gravel.

“This is to stop them digging in. It's the digging in bit that was the real issue there.”

New asphalt run-off at Turn 1

New asphalt run-off at Turn 1

Photo by: Mick Walker

London F1 race plans in Docklands makes “no sense”

A redevelopment proposal for the London Docklands that is headlined by a Formula 1 race is “cobblers” and makes “no sense", reckons the boss of Silverstone.

There have been several pitches for an F1 race in the English capital, including former series boss Bernie Ecclestone targeting a city-centre circuit featuring famous landmarks in the 2010s.

When Silverstone signed its new contract with Liberty Media in 2019, provisions were included to protect the historic venue should a London race ever come to fruition.

But the latest Docklands proposal has been treated with scepticism, with its backers LDN Collective and DAR so far yet to make contact with championship organisers.

Royal Docks grand prix CGI

Royal Docks grand prix CGI

Photo by: Uncredited

Meanwhile, Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle doubts such plans would ever gain sufficient financial backing to brand the concept as making “no sense”.

Speaking to Autosport about the renders for the Docklands race, which feature floating grandstands and an elevated pitlane running through the first floor of the ExCeL, Pringle said: “[It] Looks like another property developer trying to get their property deal away to me.

“Who's paying for it? I can tell you it costs an eyewatering sum of money to put it on at a permanent facility.

“Our costs of delivery are about as low as you can get. Formula 1 aren't going to do it for free.

“So. who is paying for it? Nobody seems to answer that question. It makes no sense.

“We used to say 10 years ago even then it was $50 million to put on a street race. It's just cobblers.” 

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