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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RacingFan - Unregistered

September 04, 2012 5:39 AM

Safety is critical, I for one never want to experience again the feelings I had after the terrible weekend in 94. I do feel however that the drive to prevent that happening has created a different sport. The removal of paying for an error on many tracks has diminished the sport. Tracks with concrete runoff areas has led to drivers not being penalised for mistakes. Kinetic energy will always win so why dont F1 concentrate on making driver errors costly by having run off areas that cars cant get out of. This would reduce the risk the drivers would be prepared to take if they knew they would not finish the race. The drive to create a risk free and error payment free enviroment has diminished F1. Before anyone says I am commenting from an armchair I have raced in various national and international Karting championships in China where there were many more serious injuries than in F1.

pcxmac - Unregistered

September 04, 2012 8:08 AM

the first rule in risk management, accept no unnecessary risks, a lot of people in this thread seem to think that its necessary to have people risk their lives needlessly in certain circumstances. Personally I think the canopy on an F16 is wicked bad*ss, and I have no issues with drivers sporting them, some fans like to see people risk their lives though, it increases the thrill, me personally, i dont get it, I can get on my bike at home and risk my life when others are out of harms reach, I dont need to see other people do it for me.

Smokin - Unregistered

September 04, 2012 8:38 AM


You are entitled to live in your sterile world, but most of us out here wish for a little more risk in our sport. I don't want to see anyone die, although having raced motorbikes I have witnessed loss of life first hand and felt the pain, but there is a balance to be struck otherwise motorsport might as well be tiddly winks, and our lives a dull journey from birth to death.


September 04, 2012 10:07 AM
Last Edited 1340 days ago

smokin. i agree. if we were to go the way of cockpit protection for all open series, imagine watching caterham racing, with blister canopies. and what would be the point of any open top car or supercar?
this was a one off incident that thankfully caused no injuries. this seems to indicate that current safety is doing its job. lets not have a knee jerk reaction to a non serious incident. when was the last time that a drivers head was hit by a car or object? oh yes, it was massas, hit by a spring bouncing down the road. the chances of that again? infitissimal.
and before that in f1?
stop the cars flying, should be the priority, so provide wheel protection as in indy. massas incident could be prevented by use of a small lexan windscreen.but blister canopies? no way!

HartleyF1 - Unregistered

September 04, 2012 11:31 AM

There seems to be quite a few smackheads commenting on this post.
Come on people....really are some of you so thick and stupid to not value peoples safety.
Safety in F1 or any form of motorsport benefits not just the drivers but also the people there watching the race... Remember the 1955 le mans race?.
Closed wheel racecars that still ended up flying through the air and into the onlooking crowd causing 84 deaths and more than 120 people to be injured.
May i suggest that this is not a case of wrapping drivers up in cotton wool as there is far more to it than that.
Make no mistake im all for crazy crashes caused by error of judgement and hungry drivers!.
But its the drivers and spectators safety that should be paramount in any given situation..
Remember that the next time you go sit in your car with abs, airbags ect on your way to work or down the dole office and some fool pulls out on you and you end up using one of those STUPID safety devises that saves your life!.


September 04, 2012 11:32 AM

I've never been completely against the idea of canopies and I think some sort of additional head protection is inevitable but Caroline makes a good point on page 1. If drivers are completely cocooned they may well feel invincible and be more inclined to drive like maniacs. Drivers take far more risks now that 30+ years ago because of the improved safety of cars and tracks, I don't really want that trend of recklessness continue, F1 should be a display of clean driving not dodgems.
I'd go with some sort of protective visor in front of the cockpit.

Smokin - Unregistered

September 04, 2012 1:49 PM

Hartley, I don't think you serve your own argument well by raising a terrible event that happened 57 years ago. Both car and track safety is a world away from those days. Current F1 standards of safety and medical support are nothing short of amazing.

What happened at the weekend was spectacular, but responses to it should be measured.

It would be interesting to hear the drivers perspective and what they see as the way forward. Anyone know if any current drivers have expressed views on car safety and development?

HartleyF1 - Unregistered

September 04, 2012 7:21 PM

@Smokin... Hi mate.
I only mentioned that event years ago both to show how advances in technology have improved both drivers and spectators safety in a massive way compared to todays standards.
And also because someone mentioned closing the wheels off to stop cars flying when they contact each other like in spa.
I dont want F1 to turn into a formula where the cars can touch each other and the only thing that happens is each car spins then carry on racing each other... Where is the fun in that?.
I want great big smash ups and carbon flying all over the track coz thats far more fun to watch.
I simply want drivers to have an even better chance of walking away from it than they do right now.
With regard to the drivers taking more risks..
Thats just part of racing and is fine as long as they are not malicious and stupid ones.
As long as the drivers know the boundries and are punished equally and proper for breaking the rules thats fine by me!.
If safety was improved further then i th


September 04, 2012 7:58 PM

More protection? Tommyrot! What about those dangerous exposed wheels, ready to make low-earth-orbit astronauts out of anyone hitting one? With all this safety talk, pretty soon the cars will be little cages with one-make bodywork covered by all manner of ugly advertising..... can you say NASCAR? These designs have not made even NASCAR safe. Get over it (just like Grosjean). F1 is already too safe. Further dilution in that department will wring our the final character which distinguishes F1. That would be the greatest sacrifice, not a human life every 20 years due to odd circumstances no roll-bar would ever have helped. Look at the stats on mortality, and then get over it.


September 04, 2012 8:12 PM

hartley. "i want great big smash ups...". really? then why do you not watch banger racing? in case you had not noticed, f1 is supposed to be about RACING, and advanced technology. to have a good race, does not require smashes etc.
i suggest that you return to making jam!

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