Sophia Floersch – Big Formula 3 Crash

As we have said so many times before, motorsport is dangerous. From time to time, there is a big crash. Thanks to years of research and untold millions spent, most of these crashes look worse than they are, and last weekend saw a very serious crash in Formula 3 that, while still serious, could have been a lot worse.

Sophia Floersch is 17 years old and already a very highly regarded driver, one of a number of strong female drivers coming up through the ranks to hopefully one day join the F1 grid. The German driver races for Van Amersfoort Racing and is currently in Formula 3.

The details of the crash are not very easy to isolate but the footage circulating the internet shows a static corner shot when Floersch comes in at full speed, clearly out of control. She clips the car of fellow racer Sho Tsuboi and takes off. Sophie clears the barrier in the air and smashes into an advertising billboard above a photographer bunker at high speed. It is certainly a spectacular crash!

Injured

As you might expect, Sophia was injured but she was conscious after the crash and was immediately taken to hospital. Along with Sophia, two photographers, a marshal and Tsuboi were also taken to hospital. The initial reports suggest she has a fracture in her spine but was conscious and able to tweet:

 “Just wanted to let everybody know that I am fine but will be going into Surgery tomorow [sic] morning. Thanks to the @fia and @hwaag_official @MercedesAMGF1 who are taking great care of me. Thanks to everybody for the Supporting messages. Update soon.”

As far as high speed crashes go, you don’t get much faster than a Formula 3 car. The incident was over before anyone could work out what was happening. It was certainly a crash that, had it happened 20 years ago, would have had a very different outcome indeed!

Safety in motorsport is very close to our heart. At FEV, we provide a number of racing teams with fire suppression systems. If you would like to find out more about our systems for your team or your own personal track or race car, then get in touch.

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Billy Monger on the BBC

For some time now, we have followed the recovery and progress of the British driver Billy Monger. Billy had a massive crash at Donnington back in 2017 and after a mad dash to hospital in the helicopter and a lot of amazing work by doctors, he unfortunately lost both his legs below the knee. Did this stop Billy “the whizz”? No, it did not! Now you can watch his story on the BBC!

Initial Recovery

After being put into a coma by doctors, Billy came round to face the knowledge his body had been changed forever by the crash. No-one would ever have blamed him if he never raced again but the 17-year-old almost immediately started planning his comeback. During his hospitalisation drivers from all disciplines pulled together and raised over £500,000 to help set up Billy’s home to make it suitable for him as well as many of the other essentials for anyone learning to walk again on prosthetic legs.

Adaptations

Billy was very soon back in the car again, but with some changes to allow him to use his hands to brake and use the clutch. It wasn’t long before he was racing again. 18 months on, he is racing in the Formula 3 British Championships. So far in his first season he gained four podium finishes and ended the season 6th overall. He is now looking for sponsors for his next season.

The BBC

On 18th November, the BBC aired a programme telling the Billy Monger story which no doubt will inspire thousands of people who perhaps feel that a disability is holding them back. Just as his idol, Lewis Hamilton, kept Billy going he will no doubt hope he can pay it forward to other people. The programme is called “Driven – the Billy Monger Story” and is available on BBC iPlayer here if you missed it! It is certainly well worth watching for all motorsport fans and drivers! We hope Billy continues to excel and maybe one day we might even see him in Formula 1!

If you would like any information about our fire extinguishers for racing cars, track cars or historics and classics then get in touch today.

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Hamilton Wants to Shake Things Up!

Lewis Hamilton during European Grand Prix Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton has come out with some bold comments about making F1 more exciting. Maybe everyone should listen.

Falling Asleep

It may come as a surprise to many people, but Hamilton admitted to falling asleep when watching F1 races as a child. He suggested that many people do the same, perhaps setting an alarm so they can watch the end after drifting off when the first few laps have finished. It is certainly something we have heard people mention so he may well be on the money there.

Hamilton is calling for suggestions and ideas to how to make things more exciting, so people are on the edge of their seats for the whole race. He may be thinking more about audience enjoyment but there is no doubt sponsors would be behind anything that kept people’s eyes on their logos for a little longer!

Exciting Cars

Hamilton went on to say that the cars were the most exciting cars to drive for many years and all the drivers felt the same. Many of whom, he said, simply can’t understand why people are not enthralled from start to finish. It is a wise and mature Lewis Hamilton that is able to take a step outside of his position in everything and appreciate that the audience is important too!

Super Weekends?

The World Champ suggested that the same 4-day cycle 21 weekends in a year is dull and that we need some new ideas. He mentioned super weekends dotted throughout the season where the format changes and things get a little crazy. He even suggested reverse grids at some races. We have to say this would be spectacular to watch! Seeing the championship leaders having to grind their way from the back to get a win would be amazing to see. It would also benefit the smaller teams because their sponsors would get more coverage and this in turn would help the sport!

There would, of course, be games played though! You can imagine a winning team having an “issue” during qualifying so they qualified last and then got on the front of the grid, so positions would perhaps have to be decided based on previous race results or something that could not be manipulated.

Bring it on

No one would ever suggest adding more action, more overtaking and more fun to F1 would be a bad thing so let’s listen to Lewis and support some changes that could make for some very exciting Sunday afternoons! We can always grab 40 winks when it finishes!

At FEV, we’re passionate about motorsport and all safety aspects that go with it. To find out more about our MSUK and FIA approved fire suppression systems, give us a call today.

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McLaren Speedtail Gets a Little Closer

It’s coming! The logical and emotional successor to the mighty F1 that came out in – wait for it – 1993! – is finally looking like a reality. It is not going to be a track monster, but it is going to be quick!

Power House

The stats being realised show the Speedtail will have a twin turbo V8 as a main power plant, but this will be augmented with an electric hybrid power unit that will bring the power output to a whopping 986bhp or maybe even more! Sadly, McLaren haven’t mentioned anything about 0-60 times but they are looking at a top speed of more than 243mph – enough to make everyone in and out of the industry sit up and take notice.

The Family Line

While the Speedtail is essentially the “F2”, it follows on perfectly from the P1 and the Senna hypercar. Massive cost, massive power and serious speed! However, there is a little difference with the Speedtail. The Surrey gang are very much suggesting this car will be a GT rather than a track focused rocket. This will come as a surprise to many but perhaps it is the right move. There is, of course, the usual argument that anything approaching that level of power is all but useless on the road but, as ever, that is missing the point. Having a car that can do those kinds of speeds but is also capable of carrying someone in reasonable comfort further than 15 miles is a big plus!

Central Seating

As with the F1 the Speedtail will have a central driver’s seat and will be paired with two passenger seats either side. It does mean the passengers have to get out before the driver can, so chivalrous door opening men may find this a challenge if they are escorting two ladies.

Big Behind

The teaser images show a rather long and pretty massive rear end to the car. It certainly looks nothing like the rest of the family and this, again, is probably a good thing. All the other models are stunning but that doesn’t mean McLaren should always make the same style of car.

Big Budget!

All 106 Speedtails that will be made have already been reserved and paid for at £1.75 million each, plus tax! If you were planning on buying a new one, it’s too late! Though a used one might pop up for double that about a year after its launch in 2019.

This car is going to be something special: high speed but not a car built for cornering, luxury, “comfort” and potentially iconic styling! We can’t wait.

If you own a super car, do get in touch about how we can help protect your investment and make sure you have the right fire suppression systems on board.

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Ferrari and the Mysterious Camera Cooler!

Ferrari and the mysterious camera cooler Image Credit: Racefans.net

You would be hard pushed to find any sport where competition runs higher and goes into more technical detail than F1. It’s one thing being a football team and watching other players’ videos for hours at a time. But when it comes to F1, the sheer number of people involved and the mind boggling array of technical changes and developments mean there is an almost endless stream of competitor data to be processed.

It seems our friends over at Maranello have decided to “play the game” a little more interestingly recently, with some mysterious objects.

The Onboard Camera

It is no secret that all the teams have access to all the other teams’ onboard cameras during qualifying and racing. This means they can see and try to work out all the settings being used from views of the steering wheel. Each team tends to run different buttons and dials on the wheels, so it can still be hard to work out what is going on.

It is less tricky when it comes to aero bits like front wings where they are out there for all to see but, even so, it can be hard to decipher what another designer has come up with. The onboard camera has become a normal part of the competition and a tool all teams use to a lesser or greater extent.

Camera Cooling?

Ferrari have recently started using a bag filled with dry ice to cover the air intake next to the camera during periods in the pits. They said this is to better cool the engine and camera equipment but it also just so happens to obscure the view of the steering wheel. The FIA have asked them to stop doing it and they naturally complied.

New Object

However, at Monza the team seems to have opted for a different cooling device. It’s an umbrella that also, carefully placed, appears to block the camera. Then, in Singapore, a new airbox cooler with some odd “sticky out bits” was spotted that – and guess what? It also happened to block the camera.

Playing the Game

While all this may seem a little underhand, there is a lot to support the fact that all the teams push the limits of the rules, and this is really quite good fun for F1 fans. It’s always interesting to see how far they go and what new levels of genius they will reach in order to grab 100th of a second over another team in any way they can. Sometimes, though, you do have to wonder if it’s worth it for some of the things they try.

If you race cars in any way, then get in touch about our range of fire extinguishers; we have systems for track day cars right up to custom work for race teams!

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C1 Racing Club – Budget Endurance Racing For Everyone!

24 hour race at Rockingham - Budget Endurance Racing for Everyone Image Credit: Oliver Read

It will come as no surprise that we love motorsport. We love everything from the heights of F1 to club racing. However, there is no doubt that cost can be a barrier to entry for a lot of people and that’s a bit of a shame. That’s why we are always really pleased when someone launches a new racing club that is set up to offer close racing at a reasonable cost of entry – the more people who get into motorsport the better! And even more so when we have the pleasure of supplying most of the grid with our fire extinguishers too!

What is the C1 Racing Club?

Well, as the name suggests it’s a club racing group using Gen 1 Citroen C1s. It is worth pointing out that while engine and gearbox mods are not allowed, all the cars have suspension and safety upgrades because wallowing about on a track using standard Citroen suspension might not be that much fun. The aim of the game is endurance racing. With options for 3, 4, 6 and even 24 hour races in the UK and Europe, there’s a lot on offer.

The Cars

The cars are all very tightly controlled in terms of modifications in order to make the racing close and avoid certain people running miles ahead because they have deeper pockets. The cars do, however, have to have some club specified mods. The suspension mods are to reduce tyre wear and to help handling, as mentioned before. Naturally, roll cages are involved and, of course, fire suppression.

While drivers can choose who they wish to buy from, we have been overwhelmed with orders from this brilliant new club and it’s an honour to play such an important part for so many of the drivers. The club claims you can build a car ready to race for around £3,500 and they even offer hire options too!

The Kit

As this is proper Motorsport UK racing, you do need a licence and you do need all the usual fire proof gear to race. So please don’t apply without either owning or planning to own all the correct MSUK approved kit.

Where to race?

The list of places you get to race is quite substantial, with dates at Rockingham, Snetterton, Anglesey and even the mighty Spa for a 24 hour race!

If you are looking at the C1 club then get in touch. We offer a club discount for members.

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Slipstreaming or Drafting

The dark art of slipstreaming or drafting has long been a staple of motorsport as well as many other sports such as cycling. But what is actually going on when it happens and why doesn’t it work for F1 cars?

The Science Bit

The principle is actually quite simple. As a car moves through the air it creates a pocket of lower pressure behind it. This partial vacuum will allow another car to move with less air resistance.

The lower resistance will allow the second car to move faster but also to move using less power, which means less throttle and less fuel. The principle is the same in water and for any object moving through any medium.

There is, however, an advantage to the front car too, in some cases. By filling the vacuum behind the lead car, the amount of air pushing down on the rear of the lead car is also less. This, in turn, can help the lead car move more efficiently too.

NASCAR

If anyone in motorsport is asked for an example of drafting, they’re highly likely to say NASCAR. The long tracks and relatively simple shapes of the cars make it a perfect place for it. It was actually “invented” at the Daytona 500 in the 60s.

You can easily see long lines of cars all bunched together in NASCAR races. It may look like close racing but they are actually all using each other to increase the overall speed and reduce fuel use and pitstops. Of course, at some point each driver has to pull out and make a leap for the lead, and this is where it can get very exciting.

F1

If you watch F1, you will hear a lot of talk about running in dirty air. It often seems like being behind a car is really bad and goes totally against the principles discussed above. There is, however, a reason for this.

While drafting can help in straight lines or long, banked high speed corners, it does not help in tight twisty bits of track. It also causes issues when cars have very complex aerodynamic systems. F1 cars are very delicately set up and though in one instant they may get a bit of help being behind another car, the minute it comes to a corner it all goes wrong. The vacuum changes shape and the aero is negatively effected by the “wash” from the car in front changing direction.

The 2017 Mercedes cars were designed to lead; they worked best in clean air so if Hamilton fell behind and got stuck trying to pass someone, it made the car handle very badly.

Having said all of that, on the straight the slingshot pass still works in F1. This is where the following driver will gain extra speed in the vacuum behind the lead car and then move out rapidly to overtake and slingshot past them. Of course, this is increased with the use of DRS and the like but the principle is still important.

If you race in any kind of motorsport, then get in touch to find out more about our fire suppression systems. We supply and fit fire extinguisher systems to classic cars, track day car and even F1 cars!

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Get Well Soon Niki!

Image source

According to doctors, the legend that is Niki Lauda was very close to death before he had his lung transplant last week in an Austrian hospital.

It turned out that Lauda’s lungs could no longer absorb enough oxygen due to inflammation of the alveoli, the small air sacs inside the lungs. This inflammation is a kind of auto immune response, meaning the body attacks itself. He was given drugs to suppress the reaction but they did not work well enough. After a spell in intensive care, the point came where the doctors said he needed a new lung. Without having to wait too long, thankfully Lauda was able to undergo a full lung transplant with a couple of days.

The Future

It will come as no surprise to any motorsport fan to hear that Lauda is a fighter and that it would take a lot to bring him down. In true Niki style, he is recovering well and with a bit of luck will be able to carry on just as he was before the problem. At 69 years old, it certainly takes some strength to go through that kind of health issue but we are pretty sure if anyone can take it in their stride, Mr Lauda can!

The Past

If perhaps there are people that didn’t know about his previous brush with death, Lauda was trapped in his F1 car on 1st August 1976 at the infamous Nürburgring. He had raised concerns about the safety of the track that day but raced anyway as he failed to get enough votes for a boycott. He was trapped inside his own burning car for over a minute. This not only severely damaged his skin on many parts of his body but also his lungs, as he was breathing in burning fumes.

After being pulled out, many thought he would never race again but Lauda fought and pushed for a fast recovery and actually ended up racing again in the same season when most people had totally written him off. Just 6 weeks after his crash and after many operations to clear his lungs and rebuild his face, he finished 4th in the championship despite not being able to see very well and still being covered in bandages. They even made him a special helmet that was bigger to accommodate his dressings.

We are very pleased Niki is doing well; he is a true hero and a true fighter. He is also someone who came very close to perishing in the fire we work so hard to keep drivers safe from and, because of that, he will always have a special place in our hearts.

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Budget Classic Cars

Budget Classic Cars - Image 1Image source

There is no doubt the classic and historic car market is still growing – is it ever going to slow down? As interest rates remain flat, it seems buying even the most budget of classics is almost a sure fire way of turning over a few quid in just a handful of years. However, along with this seemingly fun and easy way to make money comes a whole host of warnings about buying a bad car, driver safety and more.

Under £10K!

Since the really valuable classics are all but unaffordable for anyone other than the super-rich, the minor classics and newer cars are gathering interest but can still be got for under £10,000.

For example, we saw a 1978 Alfa Romeo Alfasud 1.3 Super on sales for under £8,000. While rust is eating its way through most of these little Italian crackers, this one seemed clean and would make for a great modern classic. The best thing was it only had 15,000 miles on the clock!

Budget Classic Cars - Image 2Image source

If you find yourself yearning for a British classic, then the Triumph Dolomite Sprint could be for you. We saw a 1980 model with a 2.0 litre 16 valve engine in yellow for under £8,000. This was the one that did 0-60 in under 8.5 seconds which really wasn’t bad at all for the time. Again, rust and rot are issues for these cars but get a well kept one and you could have a lot of fun!

And what about a Sierra? We found a 1984 XR4i for under £10K. Now this might seem a lot for a Sierra if you are old enough to remember driving one, but this was the 2.8 litre 16v version with 160bhp and 0-60 in 7.8 seconds. It may not be a Cosworth but it’s a great value alternative and as time goes on it will become very rare!

Take Care

While we can all get carried away with the idea of owning something from our childhood (or just something that might make some money at some point!) buying classic or historic cars can be tricky. Doing years’ worth of research is important, knowing which bits rust and the difference between original parts and replacement can make all the difference.

We have a lot of customers who come to us to for a fire extinguisher system or a handheld unit for their classics. These cars are old and things can go wrong. A small electrical fire could easily get out of hand and the materials used back in the 70s and 80s were certainly not as fireproof as what we use today.

If you are thinking about buying a classic or already have one, drop us a line to find out more about how we can help protect you and your car against fire.

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Beware of the Ring!

There really isn’t a petrolhead out there who isn’t aware of the Nürburgring. And it is highly probable that there are only a handful of petrolheads out there who haven’t at least thought about heading there for a track day – certainly thousands have already done so and will do it again. But despite its popularity, the Nürburgring really is a place that holds a great deal of danger and should be something to consider very carefully…as the video above shows!

There are Track Days and Then There is the Ring!

If you own a performance car it’s only natural to want to take it somewhere you can really open it up. This is why track days are still highly popular but there is a big difference between heading to Rockingham for a session and heading to arguably the most dangerous race track in the world.

Green Hell

The track was nicknamed ‘Green Hell’ because of the number of (green!) trees that line the winding and massively long track. It is also worth noting that when the Nürburgring got its name there was not much in the way off fencing, as Jackie Stewart found out, so the green bit was even more of a factor because of the risk of ending up in the trees! The ‘hell’ part of the name came from the sheer fact that the Nürburgring is not only a brutal and technical track but also such a long one!

Be Prepared

As you can see in the video, people crash – a lot! This is just from a recent collection and there are hundreds of videos showing the crashes each month. It is key for anyone wishing to give the Ring a go to prepare. Not only prepare for the driving by practicing on less tricky tracks locally but to also have the safety side of things covered.

You really do not need much in the way of kit to be allowed on the Nürburgring and you don’t have to have a fire extinguisher on board, but we would certainly recommend that you did. If you want to take your beloved car to the beast that is the Ring, then a simple handheld system would be a great choice along with a helmet, gloves and ideally a race suit!

If you are planning a trip or you plan to start doing track days, even just once a year, then get in touch and we can discuss the options in terms of handheld fire extinguishers that could literally save your life if you have a bad off but may also be useful in a small crash involving fire.

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