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Todt 'very careful' in safety canopy investigations

FIA President Jean Todt says bringing canopies into motorsport to improve cockpit safety must be done carefully and to what is practical
FIA President Jean Todt says bringing canopies into motorsport to improve cockpit safety needs to be looked at very carefully to understand what is practical.

Since the deaths of IndyCar driver Justin Wilson last August and F1 star Jules Bianchi last July the FIA has keenly investigated potential cockpit safety methods and the proposal of canopy solutions, which have been evaluated by FIA's safety director Laurent Mekies.

With ongoing tests potentially signalling new safety measures to be implemented as early as 2017 in F1 and other single-seater racers, Todt stresses the canopy should not impact the sporting element and be used if it is feasible.

“Firstly, we don't want to deter the speciality of each category of motorsport,” Todt said. “On the other side, we must make sure that we do any attempt which is feasible to optimise safety.

“So we need to get behind the engineers and be very careful to see what would be the proposal. I must say we have been working very strongly in improving road safety and safety is part of our daily responsibility.”

Wilson passed away on the 24th August 2015, two days after being struck by an errant piece of debris from a collision further up the road at the Pocono Raceway, while Bianchi collided with a recovery tractor after slipping off a wet track at Suzuka and after being put into a medically-induced coma, died from his injuries on the 17th July 2015.

Discussions over closed cockpits were first raised in 2009 in the wake of Felipe Massa's serious accident at the Hungaroring, when he suffered head injuries after being struck by debris.


Tagged as: FIA , Mercedes , Todt , cockpits

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benignlyindifferent

January 16, 2016 11:33 AM

First consider the past accidents to determine if a canopy would have made a difference. Massa and Justin Wilson's? Yes, but so too would a windscreen have prevented the debris and without enclosing the cockpit for exit. Also, windscreens are more vertical than a canopy and the visibility in glare and rain would be much better. Bianchi's? No difference at all as it was the massive sudden deceleration that caused his eventually fall injuries. Senna's? Yes a canopy would have helped prevent the intrusion of the suspension piece but raising the cockpit sides addressed that safety issue. Personally, I watch F1 because it is open wheel and open cockpit racing. Closing the wheels (even partially like Indycar) or closing the canopy would change the formula too dramatically for my liking. would I accept it for safety? Sure, but I do not think the case has been made that demands a closed canopy over other solutions.



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