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FIA Accident Research (1): The data of the largest crashes

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FIA accident research (1)
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W ow often we ask ourselves this question: How about this or that accident ended earlier? 10, 20 or even 40 years ago. The best example is Max Verstappen, at the Grand Prix Monaco 2015, in the 63rd round. The memory is still fresh there. Crime scene Ste. Dévote curve. TV viewers see live from the cockpit perspective what Verstappen also sees.

The Toro Rosso hits the right rear wheel of Romain Grosjean's Lotus at 268 km /h. Partly deprived of its braking effect, the tricycle slides head-on into the barrier at 120 km /h. Verstappen gets out, shakes himself off, as if he had just parked. 22 g delay, free.

The four-layer Tecpro barrier, 85 centimeters of carbon mass in the nose of the Toro Rosso and the HANS neck protector did a good job. And 40 years ago? Verstappen would have spent the rest of the year on crutches. If at all.

The initial spark was Imola 1994

The FIA ​​introduced crash tests as early as 1984, but a real one Rethinking did not begin until the Imola accidents in 1994. Death in a racing car was no longer suitable for minors. Motorsport was pilloried for weeks. The then FIA President Max Mosley and Formula 1 doctor Sid Watkins fled to the front. Security had to be more than just lip service. Jean Todt continues this work today. The world association's efforts to improve safety have never been greater than today.

And so accident researcher Andy Mellor came into play. At that time he worked for the English TÜV. 'Sid wanted to know from me which findings from accidents with road cars can be transferred to racing. First of all, the two disciplines seem far apart. On the street you can hit a lamppost at 50 km /h and be dead. In a racing car you get on after a 300 km /h crash. '

' The same thing is that there is a threshold above which the occupant is injured. The aim is to minimize the acceleration on the driver so that that he survives them. To do this, the energy has to be diverted into the structures of the vehicle or into the obstacle. I told Sid that it was important to know what really happened for relevant accident research. '

The ADR has been collecting crash data since 1996

The accident database was born. In the past, accidents often remainedMystery. They happened away from the TV cameras. Examples? Luigi Musso in Reims in 1958. Jim Clark 1968 in Hockenheim. Francois Cevert 1973 in Watkins-Glen. Sometimes photos didn't even exist. No data. The wrecks disappeared in the team's evidence chamber or were never to be seen again.

One had to rely on eyewitnesses. Who contradicted each other often enough. In times of complete surveillance, there are no more secrets. The racetracks are fully equipped with cameras. If the television does not record the sequence, the track cameras or viewers with cell phone videos deliver the film. As with Jules Bianchi in Suzuka.

An Accident Data Recorder has been on board in Formula 1 since 1996. Today around 300 racing cars around the world have a black box. It makes the misfortune transparent. Within hours, the experts know exactly what happened between loss of control and impact, what was the trigger, what forces acted on the car and driver.

Peter Wright, Head of the Safety Commission explains: 'The ADR records everyone An accident lasts a few 100 milliseconds. The most interesting moment for us is the first 100 milliseconds after the first impact. '

The general rule is:' The shorter an accident, the worse it is. We today we know exactly to the millisecond what the car did after the driver lost control. If a driver is injured, we know when and why the injury occurred. '

One accident is three accidents

The ADR records the movements of the car in all three axes from the moment the driver loses control. The last five minutes are saved. 'Sometimes the lap before is also interesting to see what he did differently in the accident,' explains Wright.

'But the most important thing is the movements of the vehicle after losing control and especially after the first impact Then, of course, you want to know the deceleration values. They explain when the structure of the vehicle or the barriers to the route broke. You want to know where the forces are coming from. '

Wright gives a simple example:' With one Head-on collision with a Formula 1 car, there is a series of different delays. First you hit the stack of tires. It's soft. Then the nose dissolves and finally the monocoque hits the obstacle behind the stack of tires. There you see the highest G Values. We want to understand which part hit where, when and what was the first to break. '

' Then the person comes. That is a second accident because it moves relative to the car st the car has an accident against the barrier, then the driver against the car. And finally, his organs have an accident with his skeleton. And you want to know where in this process andwhy injuries occurred. '

Kubica accident shows: the lesson has been learned

With Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger, the accidents had to be laboriously recreated in the laboratory. There was no specially generated accident data, but telemetry and TV images were recorded.

Despite the difficult analysis of how the fatal head injuries came about, have The accident researchers drew the right lessons from the results, as Andy Mellor reveals: 'The 2007 Robert Kubica accident in Montreal was a copy of the Imola tragedies. He was almost unharmed. That shows that we had learned our lesson well. '

Formula 1 is the smallest problem child in accident research. As a pioneer, it has long since taken many of the necessary steps. As Kimi Räikkönen at the GP England 2014 in the When the first lap hit an unprotected guardrail at 172 km /h at a 20 degree angle, the chassis broke. This immediately led to new chassis regulations.

Nevertheless, there is still some catching up to do, especially outside of Formula 1 As of this year, Formula 1 survival cells have been protected all around with Zylon to prevent foreign parts from entering. In other formula classes, only a plank is used at critical points. Which is not enough, like this year's Indy accident for James Hinchcliffe showed that the Canadian was seriously injured because a steel wishbone on the front axle pierced both legs.

G-sensor in the grain of rice -Format

Since 199 4, Andy Mellor has cataloged over 200 accidents in detail. 'The first like Senna and Ratzenberger's by means of readjustments in the laboratory. After the introduction of the black box, we knew how the accident had happened, but the data did not tell us why the driver was injured. We therefore continued to simulate the impact , tries to depict a similar damage pattern and equips the dummies with sensors. We are currently investigating Alan Simonsen's death in Le Mans. '

This database includes around 10 Formula 1 accidents every year. 'Also because that's where we have most of the information,' admits Mellor. 'The most modern ADR, data from the team, video recordings from the accident. The statistics will then help us to categorize the accidents. That way we can better see in which direction we have to research.'

That is also soon past. In Formula 1, drivers have had g-sensors in their earplugs since 2014. 'The chip we use is in most smartphones. It's the size of half a grain of rice and only costs 10 euros,' reveals Mellor.

Toyota is currently programming a mathematical model for the driver in the Automobile. It should be so far in 3 years. 'Then we can use the data from the ADR to replay every accident on the computer and find out how it happenedInjuries occurred, 'said Mellor.

How the FIA ​​records an accident

What exactly the FIA ​​records in an accident is shown by means of a copy of the data recording from Mark Webber's accident Porsche 919 at the WEC final in Interlagos in 2014. We show the data sheet in our picture gallery.

Webber hit the wall at 185 km /h. 98 g deceleration are a silent testimony to the force of the impact. The black box recorded the acceleration in three dimensions in every thousandth of a second at the center of gravity of the car. In Formula 1 it was also measured at the front chassis bulkhead.

We have already filtered out the core data for you in all other accidents in our picture gallery, what happened in the accidents of Max Verstappen (Monte Carlo 2015), Jules Bianchi (Suzuka 2014), Kimi Räikkönen (Silverstone 2014), Allan Simonsen (Le Mans 2013), Sergio Perez (Monte Carlo 2011), Felipe Massa (Budapest 2009), Robert Kubica ( Montreal 2007), Jenson Button (Monte Carlo 2003), Takuma Sato (A1-Ring 2002) and Luciano Burti (Spa 2001) exactly.

On the second page of this article you will find the detailed interview with FIA accident researcher Andy Mellor.

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