FIA analysis of Alonso’s epic Australian GP shunt

FIA analysis of Alonso's epic Australian GP shunt

Formula One‘s governing body has revealed findings of its forensic analysis of Fernando Alonso’s race ending crash at the Australian Grand Prix.

Following contact with the back of Esteban Gutierrez’s Haas, Alonso’s car skidded along the circuit before digging into the gravel trap at Turn 3.

According to the FIA’s analysis, the initial contact was made when Alonso was travelling at 305kph, having slowed from a peak speed of 313kph just prior to the incident.

“After the initial impact, Alonso’s front-right suspension was destroyed, and the car veered left towards the outside wall,” read the report.

“The wall collision was made with the front left corner of the car, resulting in a peak lateral deceleration of 45G, with high acceleration levels also recorded by the ear accelerometers, demonstrating the forces on the driver’s head.”

Alonso’s car “was heavily leaning laterally on its left side as it travelled over the grass. This left side dug into the gravel, which rolled the car and propelled it into the air, recording a lateral deceleration of 46G.

“The car travelled in the air, rotating approximately 540 degrees (1.5 times) and was airborne for 0.9 seconds. On landing it made its initial contact with the ground on its rear impact absorbing structure, experiencing a peak longitudinal acceleration of 20G.”

The analysis of Alonso’s crash was the first time the FIA has been able to go into such detail following an incident and comes following an intensive program of work to essentially install a black box data recorder into each car.

“Combined with the multiple camera angles from the cameras around the track, safety researchers have more information than ever before to determine what exactly happens at every millisecond of a crash,” the FIA said.

“We receive the data in real time as the car is running, so if it crashes the [Accident Data Recorder] is able to send us a signal to give us a rough idea of the magnitude of the accident,” said Laurent Mekies, Global Institute’s General Manager Research.

“What we want to understand is the exact dynamic of the head, neck and shoulders in a high-G crash and how they interact with the other parts of the cockpit environment – the padding, the HANS, belts and anything else that can be in the space of the driver.”

The system employs accelerators in the driver’s ears which is connected to the ADR’s control unit and high speed cameras capable of recording 400 frames a second, giving the governing body more insight than ever before.

Motorsport news courtesy of Velocity Magazine; Australia’s leading monthly motorsport magazine. Buy online at vmag.com.au

About the author

Mat Coch

Mat is a contributor and looks after the motorsport content for the website. Based in Sydney but widely travelled, Mat Coch began reporting on Formula One in the mid-2000s. In the last decade he has contributed to websites and magazines globally and in 2014 he founded Velocity, Australia’s only monthly motorsport magazine. Passionate about motorsport, Mat is an expert on Formula One.

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