The new A1GP Powered by Ferrari car is all but ready for its competition debut next month after passing the necessary FIA crash tests.
Following concerns over whether the new car, which is based on the Ferrari F2004 Formula 1 car, will be ready in time for teams to take delivery and conduct enough testing miles, the passing of the stringent crash tests signals a big step forward towards staying on target.
It will also do plenty to allay fears about structural safety following test driver Patrick Freisacher's heavy crash last month, one that saw him admitted to hospital with a back injury.
Nonetheless, the new car underwent a series of different scenarios, from frontal, rear and side impacts, as well as squeeze tests to monitor each part's structural rigidity. With 5,800km of testing now completed, A1GP technical director John Travis now believes that the car is ready for competition.
“We did a lot of pre-tests on all the components in isolation and FEA (Finite Element Analysis) studies on the structural design of the chassis, before moving on to the physical tests. The car has now completed 5800-kilometres without problems so we're very happy with the progress. We have a small number of engine software issues to finalise but tyre testing is now complete and Michelin are ready and looking forward to a competitive season ahead.”
Building on the strength and safety of the previous Lola-designed car, Dr Paul Trafford, the A1GP Medical Delegate, was pleased to see the new car pass once again.
“The first three seasons of A1GP have shown the cars to be remarkably safe, protecting the drivers and allowing them to survive some major impacts. The FIA have stringent crash testing requirements which are constantly being updated to ensure the “safety cell” concept is advanced and improved each year as technology develops.
“I am delighted that A1GP has taken the safety of its drivers so seriously and has committed to ensuring the cars stay at the forefront of safety technology and are willing to listen to advice from medical experts and other industry experts in order to achieve this.”
The first round of A1 GP takes place at Mugello, Italy on September 21st. 23 nations are set to compete the 2008/09 title, with Korea the most recent addition.