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Formula 1 | Zhou after horror accident: “Don’t know how I survived”

The investigation into Guanyu Zhou’s accident at Silverstone is still ongoing. In an initial conversation with the media on Thursday in Spielberg, however, the Chinese revealed the first details and spoke at length about the accident.

“The first impact, where the car landed on its roof, is still being investigated by the team, but I think that first impact was much harder than the safety tests test for,” reveals the Alfa Romeo driver. “That was a few times tougher than the numbers we use in this test.”

That, in turn, Zhou said, “probably led to the problem that arose immediately.” Because the roll bar on the C42 broke in the spectacular accident of the 23-year-old when the car overturned shortly after the start as a result of contact with George Russell’s Mercedes.

Zhou’s first reflex in the accident car

However, Zhou was protected by the halo, which escaped unscathed and saved the F1 rookie from serious injury as he slid across the track and into the gravel trap before being ejected over the tire barriers and snagging.

“Of course, the first thing I tried to do when the rollover happened was to take my hand off the wheel,” recalls the Alfa Romeo driver, trying to protect his arms. “It’s easy to break your wrist in a crash like this.”

“I knew I had to expect a massive impact because the car didn’t come to a stop,” Zhou continues. “And then I tried to get into as safe a position as possible and keep myself reasonably tense. Basically, I just waited for the last impact.”

“When I stopped I didn’t know where I was because I was upside down. The next thing I knew I had a leak. I wasn’t sure if it was from my body or the car .” He then tried to turn off the engine, which was still running, to prevent a fire.

At that point, Zhou didn’t know how the accident happened in the first place: “I didn’t know what had happened or who had hit me, because I was driving towards the first corner and then suddenly there was a massive bump.”

Zhou was able to quickly signal to one of the track attendants that he was fine before trying to get out of the car with his help. “He talked to me. He made sure I was conscious and okay. I remembered everything and felt good.”

Zhou: “The Halo saved me”

Getting him out of the car wasn’t easy as he got stuck in a gap between the tire stack and the safety fence. “I had to push myself out a bit. At least that way I had my leg, my feet a bit out and on top of the seat, and they could pull me out.”

“I didn’t realize I was between the barriers,” Zhou admits. “I thought I was next to the barrier. But I was actually between the barrier and the fence and I don’t know how I survived that. But of course, looking back, I saw that the Halo saved me.”

The 23-year-old was able to leave the track hospital a short time after the accident and made his way home – the most frustrating part of his day, as he says himself: “I was stopped in traffic. I chose the wrong street! I drove against Left at 5pm and arrived at 9pm.”

“It’s been a long, long day. You just want to go home and chill a little bit. Because I was still covered in dust. There was so much dust after the impact. I just wanted to go home, shower and relax.”

When asked if he needed support to get over the accident, he says: “I watched the race again on Sunday. I didn’t feel bad about it. I felt like I was digesting it all a bit could and was glad to have a day off.”

Already on Tuesday he started preparing again for the coming race weekend. “For me there was nothing to worry about. Of course there are times when you get active and need a little mental help. But this time I didn’t feel it was necessary,” assures the rookie.

Back on track in Spielberg

The best therapy for him seems to be to sit back in the cockpit right away. Shortly after the accident, Zhou’s eyes were on the next race. “Sunday night I texted all my engineers and asked if my seat was okay,” reveals the Alfa Romeo driver.

“Of course, the seat is very important for drivers. I feel comfortable with it, so I don’t want to change anything about it. But apart from that, I’m just happy that I can drive the back-to-back race in Spielberg,” he says happily about his quick comeback.

“Of course it would be terrible if you had the summer break right after that because then you would be under pressure and you would think about it. You would keep replaying the accident in your mind even if you are trying to avoid exactly that. So it’s good, direct to be there again.”

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