'I don't know how I survived' - Zhou recounts horrifying Silverstone crash ahead of Austrian GP

By Sports Desk July 07, 2022

Zhou Guanyu acknowledged he is lucky to be alive following his horrific crash at Silverstone last weekend.

The British Grand Prix was red-flagged on the opening lap following Alfa Romeo driver Zhou's terrifying shunt at turn one.

After George Russell's Mercedes careered into Zhou following contact with Pierre Gasly of AlphaTauri, the Chinese driver's car flipped over and subsequently shot across the gravel, over the barrier and into the catch fence protecting spectators.

There was a worrying wait at Silverstone before it was confirmed the 23-year-old was not seriously hurt.

And Zhou, who is the first Chinese driver to compete in Formula One, reflected on the incident ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend, for which he received an all-clear to compete on Thursday.

"I had a massive hit and flipped over, going at a very constant speed but quite fast into the gravel and I realise that I'm not getting stopped," he remembered.

"So, I tried to release myself from the steering wheel and into a very locked position, making sure I'm solid inside myself waiting for the final impact. That's what causes injury and is the big issue.

"Once I stopped, I didn't know where I was because I was upside down. Then there was some leaking, but I didn't know from where. I wasn't sure if it was my body or if it was the car!

"So, I just tried to switch the engine off. I knew if the fire started it would be difficult to get out. I don't know how I survived. But looking back, obviously the halo saved me there.

"It did not hurt, but it was very cold on my left-hand side, so I didn't know if it was blood or if I had no feeling on my left-hand side."

Zhou also paid tribute to Russell.

He did not know at the time, but the Mercedes driver stopped his car before running over to check on his counterpart, sacrificing his part in the rest of the race as a result.

"One man made conversation with me, making sure I was OK," Zhou continued.

"Looking at the pictures, seeing George jump out of the car, calling the marshals, it was very respectful and sportsmanlike. Very nice to see people like him trying to make sure everyone is safe."

Related items

  • F1 cancels 2023 Chinese Grand Prix due to 'ongoing difficulties' around COVID-19 F1 cancels 2023 Chinese Grand Prix due to 'ongoing difficulties' around COVID-19

    Formula One's 2023 season will not feature the Chinese Grand Prix after the race was scrapped due to "ongoing difficulties" surrounding the country's COVID-19 situation.

    F1 was due to return to the Shanghai International Circuit in 2023, having last raced there in 2019.

    The 2020 race, like most originally scheduled for that season, was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic and the 2021 race fell the same way. F1 could not honour its contract to race in China last season because of travel restrictions related to COVID-19.

    There will now be no race in the country for the fourth successive campaign after F1 confirmed the 2023 grand prix scheduled for April had been cancelled.

    "Formula 1 can confirm, following dialogue with the promoter and relevant authorities, that the 2023 Chinese Grand Prix will not take place due to the ongoing difficulties presented by the COVID-19 situation," a short statement read.

    "Formula 1 is assessing alternative options to replace the slot on the 2023 calendar and will provide an update on this in due course."

    China continues to operate a 'zero-COVID' policy, with strict local lockdowns enforced if even one person tests positive for the virus.

    Those who test positive are taken to a designated COVID hospital for centralised care and remain there until they have tested negative for COVID-19 multiple times, a process that can take numerous weeks.

    Reports prior to F1 confirming the cancellation indicated it was not prepared to ask teams to travel to the country amid the risk its drivers and staff could be quarantined for weeks if they caught the virus.

    F1 staff would reportedly not be given exemptions if they contracted COVID-19.

    If it does not replace the grand prix with an alternative in another country, F1 will stage a 23-race calendar in 2023 that would feature a four-week gap between the Australian Grand Prix on April 2 and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on April 30 because of the cancellation.

    The new season is due to start on March 5 with the Bahrain Grand Prix.

  • Former IndyCar champion Palou steps up to reserve role with McLaren Former IndyCar champion Palou steps up to reserve role with McLaren

    Alex Palou, the 2021 IndyCar champion, has been named as one of McLaren's reserve drivers for the 2023 Formula One season.

    The 25-year-old, who ran in testing with the outfit across the 2022 season, is set to balance his time in the cockpit with his schedule in IndyCar.

    Earlier this year, Palou was involved in a dispute over his future, with McLaren and then-current team Ganassi both suggesting he was under contract for next year with them.

    After the latter initially filed a lawsuit against the racer, it was settled for him to test, though now the Spaniard makes the step up inside McLaren's team structure.

    "I'm excited to be part of the McLaren team as one of their reserve drivers in 2023," Palou said in a statement. 

    "I can't wait for the involvement with next year's car.

    "I look forward to continuing my development as a driver and I appreciate the trust McLaren have in me with this new role next year."

    McLaren were involved in a dispute over new driver Oscar Piastri too, after the latter left Alpine amid a bitter fallout over his future.

    The Australian will succeed Daniel Ricciardo for the team on a contract through 2024, and will partner Lando Norris, with McLaren yet to confirm the remainder of their reserve driver pool.

  • Ferrari principal Binotto to leave at end of year Ferrari principal Binotto to leave at end of year

    Ferrari have confirmed the departure of team principal Mattia Binotto, ending a professional relationship that extends all the way back to 1995.

    The 53-year-old, who originally joined almost three decades ago as a member of their engine department, succeeded Maurizio Arrivabene in 2019 in charge of the Scuderia.

    But his departure has been widely expected following a Formula One season that saw Ferrari rival Red Bull in the early stages before dropping away amid a series of technical errors and operational failures.

    Binotto will officially depart at the end of the year, on December 31, with the team adding a search for his successor is already underway.

    "With the regret that this entails, I have decided to conclude my collaboration with Ferrari," he confirmed in a statement.

    "I am leaving a company that I love with the serenity that comes from the conviction that I have made every effort to achieve the objectives set.

    "I leave a united and growing team. I think it is right to take this step at this time, as hard as this decision has been for me."

    Ferrari chief executive officer Benedetto Vigna paid tribute to Binotto, and added he leaves the team in a prime place to continue to compete at the top of the sport.

    "I would like to thank Mattia for his many great contributions over 28 years with Ferrari and particularly for leading the team back to a position of competitiveness during this past year," he stated.

    "As a result, we are in a strong position to renew our challenge, above all for our amazing fans around the world, to win the ultimate prize in motorsport.

    "Everyone here at the Scuderia and in the wider Ferrari community wishes Mattia well for the future."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.