Silverstone’s Managing Director, Stuart Pringle, recently announced that significant changes have been made in response to the alarming accident involving Zhou Guanyu during the 2022 British Grand Prix.
Last year’s British Grand Prix witnessed a shocking moment when Zhou Guanyu of Alfa Romeo had his car overturned after colliding with George Russell from Mercedes and Pierre Gasly of AlphaTauri. Following this, Silverstone Circuit, along with the FIA, embarked on a mission to reinforce driver safety protocols for future races.
During the unfortunate incident, Guanyu’s car ended up flipping over after making contact with Russell’s Mercedes on the first turn, then it slid over the asphalt before ending up stuck in the gravel trap. This caused the Alfa Romeo to become airborne, vaulting over the tyre barrier and momentarily getting wedged between the barrier and the catch fencing.
Though Guanyu thankfully emerged from the crash unharmed, the FIA has ramped up crash testing for the roll hoop in this season to prevent it from getting stuck in the surface. They achieved this by revising the homologation test, lowering the application height. More structural improvements are expected by 2024.
Substantial modifications have also been made to the Silverstone Circuit, specifically in the area of the first corner run-off to stop cars from getting stuck. The previous gravel bed, roughly 45 meters deep, has been replaced with a larger section of asphalt.
Regarding these safety improvements on the track, Pringle said:
“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.”
The 2023 British Grand Prix is slated to be held from 7th to 9th July.