F1 » More driver head protection 'inevitable'

The horrifying in-car footage from Spa of F1 cars flying just inches away from the drivers' exposed helmets has meant a renewed focus on head protection - and even closed cockpits.

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Shaken - Unregistered

September 03, 2012 2:31 PM

I thought they made a good (really good) job of protecting drivers in recent years but a look at the photo of both McLarens does indeed show both Hamilton's and Button's heads horribly exposed. Maybe they ought to build the car up higher around the driver as they already sit so low they cannot 'go down' any more! Otherwise its enclosed cockpits. The latter will have so little space drivers will just suffocate and will be forced to wear oxygen masks - air-force pilot style. Whatever route they go I wish them luck.

HartleyF1 - Unregistered

September 03, 2012 2:31 PM

As much as i dont enjoy the idea of a driver encased within any kind of closed cockpit.

I really hate the idea of watching F1 with my young sons... Then having to explain to them why a drivers head... still in its helmet is rolling across the track after a nasty crash.

My own preferance would be some sort of 'Hood' that reached from below the air intake behind the drivers head. Which would reach around and protect all parts of his head besides the visor. It would be able to take massive impact towards the head. But would release easily when the driver exorted an upwards force. The engineers could arrange that im sure at some point. May be it could become part of and work with the already great Hans devise.

This way F1 would retain an element of open top racing but with far more protection to the biggest assets of the sport... The drivers.

Caroline - Unregistered

September 03, 2012 2:57 PM

There is of course the argument that the safer you make the racing, the more risks a driver will take, leading to more frequent, and more dramatic accidents, leading on to more safety measures, until the only remaining safety measure is to stop the racing altogether.

pottor - Unregistered

September 03, 2012 3:52 PM

funny the repair bill never crops up until now, i was watching the interviews and it wasnt mentioned once, it could be a slight deterrent, but at least it wud be in the minds of them at the start etc, at least treble the bill for repairs and donate the money to the lower formulas safety personnel, and also a one race ban gauranteed like grosjean got.
Canopy surrounding moto gp to come up too?
not possible, they get paid well enough to know these risks, ive no douth if senna had a choice of how to die, the way he did would be somewhere in his mind.

Si - Unregistered

September 03, 2012 3:55 PM

Either its open seat racing or it isnt , Nobody want to see any injury's, But you might as well put F1 drivers in GT cars as there will be little difference ..

Kevin - Unregistered

September 03, 2012 3:58 PM

If FIA wanted to attack the largest risk exposure in F1, they's be talking about the open wheels - the single greatest risk exposure. Maybe the Merc W196 (1954) was the way to go? Open wheel cars are cool and historic, but the formula is founded on an antiquated format born from stripping the fenders off production cars to reduce weight - irrelevant today. Silly? Yes. But so is the idea of enclosed cockpits in F1. Either evolve the entire formula by addressing real issues or leave it alone.


September 03, 2012 4:16 PM

the problem is not the tub and head protection, but the reasons why it might be neccessary. cars flying over others! this is caused by exposed rear wheel, driving over another car/wheel etc. eliminate that risk, and the danger of flying is reduced. indy car have wheel protection that allows good protection from such an event, and can still retain the open wheel, open top formula. maybe f1 should look at their design?

Smokin - Unregistered

September 03, 2012 4:39 PM

Maybe the pioneering, determined, and succesfull efforts of the likes of Sir Jackie Stewart and Prof. Sid Watkins have delivered a form of motorsport that is safe enough? Nearly 20 years now with what, a couple of fairly serious injuries and nothing much else?

I ask the question for debate purposes rather than being entirely certain of my statement.

Always need to keep pushing safety to ensure it keeps up with the speed and technology, but there are limits as to what should be done to protect drivers less the sport becomes too sterile.

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