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Investigation shows Alonso’s Australia crash impact peaked at 46G


An investigation into Fernando Alonso’s crash during the Australian Grand Prix carried out by the FIA has discovered that the Spaniard suffered an impact of 46G.

Alonso crashed into the back of Haas driver Esteban Gutierrez’s car on the straight leading to Turn 3 at Albert Park, causing his McLaren to smash into the wall and then flip after hitting the gravel.

Alonso was able to walk away from the incident, although he did suffer a fractured rib that forced him to sit out the next race in Bahrain.

The findings of an investigation into the accident were published earlier this week in the FIA’s in-house magazine Auto.

The investigation found that Alonso was travelling at 305 km/h (189 mph) when he hit Gutierrez, causing the suspension on the front of his McLaren car to break.

Alonso’s in-ear accelerometers and the on-board cameras recorded a lateral impact of 45G with the wall on the left-hand side of the track.

A second impact of 46G was then recorded during the barrel roll after hitting the gravel, where Alonso’s car rolled 540 degrees and was in the air for 0.9 seconds.

“What we want to understand is the exact dynamic of the head, neck and shoulders in a high-G crash and how they interact with the other parts of the cockpit environment – the padding, the HANS, belts and anything else that can be in the space of the driver,” FIA Global Institute’s general manager research Laurent Mekies said.

“This camera allows us to better understand the exact forces on the head to a given displacement, the elongation of the neck, how it engages with the headrests, how the headrests perform and what we need to do to produce the next generation cockpit environment.

“It is something that will never stop as much as safety research will never stop and we will continue to push the boundaries to gain a deeper understanding.”

Relive the 1911 Indy 500 in living color

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Race fans and historians will have an opportunity to relive the 1911 Indy 500 in color this Sunday, November 25 at 8 p.m. ET.

Airing on the Smithsonian Channel as part of their America in Color series, a colorized version of the first Indy 500 highlights a race that began a tradition more than 100 years old.

The Indy 500 helped establish the auto racing industry and part of the episode deals with the lives of the Ford, Firestone and Edison families.

On board mechanics were a fixture of racing at the time – in part because they also served as spotters. On Lap 90 Joe Jagersberger (running three laps down at the time) broke a steering mount and his rider tumbled onto the track, causing Harry Knight to careen into the pits – which had no wall separating it from the track. Remarkably, no one was killed.

The documentary describes how Ray Harroun likely won because of his use of a rear view mirror that allowed him to drive without an on board mechanic. Innovation in that inaugural race set the tone for racing today.

Harroun beat Ralph Mumford by a margin of 103 seconds in a race that took six hours, 42 minutes to run.