Scuderia Ferrari Spanish driver Carlos Sainz was involved in a big crash in the second free practice session for the 2021 Italian Grand Prix: Carlos spun in to the wall at the Ascari Chicane which resulted in a pretty hefty impact.
Onboard videos of the moment pointed out how huge the impact was, with Carlos Sainz being thrown quite far forwards towards his SF21 steering wheel.
Scuderia Ferrari is currently conducting its own investigation into the accident using the mandatory FIA high-speed cockpit cameras, as well as other telemetry data, to be able to have a full picture of the incident and its aftermath.
For the moment it is not clear whether or not Carlos Sainz’s helmet made contact with the steering wheel, but this should become clear from any analysis that Ferrari and the FIA conduct.
The manner in which Carlos Sainz was thrown forward in the crash caused some alarm from observers, because it seemed so unusual. Yet he FIA says that it is normal for seatbelts to give a little in impacts as that is safer for the human body than then being entirely rigid.
Formula 1 race director Michael Masi said:
“I think the belts are made to stretch. You’ve got a human body in there, so there’s got to be some give. You can’t just keep everyone completely tied in because there has to be a bit of give in things. So we will look the belt stretch, as we do with any major incident, or significant incident like that, and see what we can learn from it. You know, can it be improved? Let’s have a look?” – he explained.
Asked if there was an element of the belts perhaps stretching too much in Carlos Sainz’s case, Michael Masi added: “Possibly. And let’s try and learn from it.”
While some had suggested Carlos Sainz’s HANS has come loose in the crash, the Spaniard himself was clear that was not the case. Photos after the incident also showed his HANS straps in place.
“No it didn’t,” said Sainz at suggestions that HANS straps had snapped. “It was just that the impact was so heavy that my head went forward a lot and I took a bit of the belts with me, but not the HANS.”
The FIA says investigating accidents after each F1 weekend was an essential process in helping drive forward further safety improvements.
Masi added: “I’m always encouraged by all of the safety features and the ever improvement with safety that we have. You look at Carlos’s incident in FP2. Although it didn’t look like much, it was quite a severe impact. Be it halo, be it equipment, be it car design, everything, there’s always that constant evolution of improving safety as a whole.” – the Formula 1 race director concluded.