Are F1 cars designed to split in half? Ask Mark

F1 befuddlement? Our GP editor is here to help this month with questions on F1 cars splitting in two after crashes, and the data that teams receive

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Hi Mark. Are modern F1 cars designed to break in half in heavy crashes as seen with Mick Schumacher’s crash at Monaco and earlier in Saudi? If so what are the safety gains?
Pete Brewis, via email

Hi Pete – yes, to an extent they are. For this year’s regulations the engine mount to the chassis must break away at a much lower load than before. When the engine/gearbox breaks away cleanly from the tub like this, the survival tub in which the driver is sitting is subject to far lower loads. It’s the loads which can cause serious injury or worse. Also the way the fuel tank attaches to the tub has to be in a way that doesn’t take the filler chute with it as the tub and engine separate. It was the fuel in that filler as it broke away which caused the Grosjean fire in 2020. 


We hear the engineers on the radio relaying tyre temperatures and other information to the driver. Just how many channels of car data is streamed back and forwards? Is it 50 readouts? A hundred? More? Are they allowed to alter anything from pitside now? Do the guys in the pits see the same information as the people back at base, or do the HQ people see even more? Can rival teams see any of this information, or even tap into it? Just glad I don’t pay their data charges.
Rob Langthorne, Chepstow

Hi Rob – there are over 300 channels of data. No, nothing can be changed from pits to car. That was banned over a decade ago. The guys in the pits are generally way too busy to deal with the full depth of data, hence the ops rooms back at the team bases. And no, rival teams do not have access to the live data from the car. 

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