Scars of Zhou’s monster crash revealed; Aussie rising star gets first win: F1 Pit Talk

Describing Zhou Guanyu as lucky to have walked away from his monster smash at Silverstone undersells the time and effort that goes into beefing up safety in Formula 1.

But on the other hand, when you look at the wreckage and the damage done at the scene of impact, it’s difficult not to thank the Chinese driver’s lucky stars that the sport got away from the first-lap pileup with little more than a couple of bruised drivers.

The forces involved in the crash can’t be understated, and as if the footage wasn’t enough to emphasise as much, new photos have emerged showing just how much energy the car was carrying as it was flipped upside and down and set on its course to destruction.

Watch every practice, qualifying and race of the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship™ live on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14 days free now >

In happier news elsewhere in the paddock, Australia returned to the top step of the podium, albeit in Formula 2 rather than the premier class, with Jack Doohan’s first F2 win. It’s a timely marker of progress in his maiden campaign in the category and a sign that his sudden change of plans this year are paying dividends.

And the broader Antipodes have become better represented on the F1 periphery this week, with Red Bull Racing announcing a Kiwi as its new reserve driver to replace the ousted Juri Vips for the rest of the year.


Zhou Guanyu’s frightening cartwheel crash into the catch fencing at the first turn of the British Grand Prix stole headlines, but it’s only in the aftermath of the carnage that the forces involved are better appreciated.

Aside from several fan-captured videos demonstrated the energy of the crash, Sky Sports reporter Craig Slater has posted a photo of the damage to the track surface itself caused by the impact of Zhou’s car landing on its head and grinding into the gravel.

Whether the damage was caused by the halo or by the Alfa Romeo’s roll hoop, which appeared to fail in the crash, is unclear.

The team and the FIA will conduct standard post-incident inquiries into the accident to identify what worked well and what safety measures need to be bolstered. The car’s roll hoop will undoubtedly be a key area of interest, although it’s worth noting that the halo is rated to withstand a greater vertical impact than the roll hoop, which might go part of the way to explaining why one withstood the crash and not the other.

George Russell’s instinctive rush to the scene of the accident has also been cast in new light by former rival Callum Ilott.

Russell was seen helping the marshal co-ordination efforts as the volunteers attempted to extricate Zhou from the wreckage wedged between the tyre wall and the fence.

Illott, who karted with Russell and spent two years in Formula 3 racing against his countryman, said the Mercedes’s driver impulse to try to help was very much in keeping with his behaviour as he rose through the ranks.

Russell’s selflessness cost him a spot at the race restart, however, with marshals collecting his car while it was parked by the track, at which point the regulations dictated that he be classified as a non-finisher.


Aussie Jack Doohan has taken the first victory of his Formula 2 career after a charging wet-weather drive at the British Grand Prix.

Doohan started the sprint race fourth but made short work of Juri Vips, Enzo Fittipaldi and then Jehan Daruvala to take the lead in treacherously wet conditions. The Virtuosi driver was in his element in the rain, aggressively poking and prodding the defences of his rivals until they bent to his will.

He easily established a lead early in the race, though as the track dried he was reeled back in by DAMS F2 rookie Ayumu Iwasa, whose wet-weather tyres were in better shape at the end of the no-stop race. The gap shrunk to less than a second on the final lap, but the Japanese driver ran out of laps to attempt a pass, and Doohan ground out a memorable first victory in the F1 feeder category.

He could manage only ninth in the feature race after his contrastrategy had him start on the hard tyre, which dropped him places off the line, and a slow pit stop cost him a shot at a better finish.

The weekend in total was a strong rebound after a pointless round in Baku and regenerates some of the momentum he built in Spain and Monaco, including his first podium in the series in Barcelona.


‘POLITELY LEGGING IT’: Tom Cruise joins grid walk list of celeb snubs

‘TOTALLY STUPID’: Hamilton supports F1 protesters but slams track invasion at Silverstone

‘THAT’S SOMETHING ELSE’: Russell’s stunning sacrifice after ‘absolutely horrific’ smash

The quality of his drive in the wet — typically conditions in which the naturally talented drivers shine — won’t have gone unnoticed and underlines the 19-year-old’s progress through his rookie F2 campaign after finishing second in the F3 championship last year.

It’s also justification for his switch of development academies from Red Bull to Alpine this year, a move the Aussie said would help him grow more fulsomely as a driver, a fact borne out in his results.

“This is everything that wanted to make me join,” he told the In the Fast Lane podcast earlier this year. “The time at the factory, the race sim support but also the 2023 car development and just being able to feel a lot more involved within the team than I have in previous years elsewhere.

“I’m really creating a good relationship between the different people in the Formula 1 team and throughout the academy and really just trying to extract the best potential that I can have to make sure that I perform on track.

“You win and then it’s not just obviously one of Formula 1 team; you’ll be on the eyes of everyone.”

Doohan is eighth in the standings but the highest placed series rookie behind the Williams-backed only Logan Sargeant. A few more podiums this year would cement his status as a rising star with F1 potential.

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images


Red Bull Racing has picked 20-year-old Kiwi rising star Liam Lawson as its next test and reserve drive after axing Juri Vips from its junior program in the wake of the Estonian’s racism controversy.

Lawson is currently campaigning in his second season of Formula 2, having switched from Hitech to Carlin this year, and is currently fifth in the drivers standings.

The New Zealander has been part of the illustrious Red Bull Junior Team since 2019 and has a well-decorated junior career, with championships in the Toyota Racing Series and New Zealand F1600 series as well as runner-up finishes in Australian and German Formula 4 and Formula 3-equivalent Euroformula Open.

He also raced in DTM last season for the first time alongside teammate Alex Albon, where he finished an agonising three points off a rookie title to veteran touring car driver Maximilian Götz.

Photo by Peter Fox/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Lawson was already set to make at least one practice appearance with AlphaTauri this season as part of each team’s requirement to devote two practice hours to rookies. Vips already made his practice debut with Red Bull Racing in Spain.

The promotion by definition makes Lawson the most senior driver among Red Bull’s junior talent roster despite being one place and 21 points behind India’s Jehan Daruvala. However Daruvala’s test with McLaren last week would suggest his prospects for an F1 promotion with the energy drinks giant are limited.

Norway’s Dennis Hauger is also highly rated internally. Since 2018 he’s won the Italian F4 championship and the F3 title as a Red Bull junior, and after a slow start to his rookie F2 campaign this season he’s picked up two wins from the last three rounds.

Lawson is also the best-place Antipodean racer on the F1 ladder, leading fellow Kiwi Marcus Armstrong in sixth and Australian’s Jack Doohan and Calan Williams in eighth and 19th respectively.

Vips has retained his contract with Hitech to see out this year’s F2 campaign despite losing his Red Bull backing after using a racial slur while streaming on Twitch. The Estonian, who so far this year has claimed three podium finishes, is currently seventh in the standings.