Better cockpit protection expected for 2014

F1 Fanatic round-up

In the round-up: McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe says improved cockpit protection is “inevitable” for F1 cars.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

New head safety planned for 2014 (BBC)

“After the race in Belgium, Lowe said he thought changes could be made in time for 2014. ‘We started the project a year ago,’ he said. ‘We’ll see. Personally, I think something is inevitable because it is the one big exposure we’ve got.'”

Romain Grosjean sorry for causing huge crash in Belgian Grand Prix (The Guardian)

“I accept my mistake. I misjudged the gap with Lewis. I thought I was in front of him. It was a small mistake, but a big incident. I’m very sorry, and I’m just glad nobody is hurt. That’s the main thing.”

Hamilton tweet ‘an error of judgement’ (Autosport)

“One rival team boss told Autosport that it had been ‘gold dust’ for his engineers in understanding the performance of the MP4-27.”

Schumacher still a true fighter, says Vettel (Reuters)

“It doesn’t matter where you get Michael on the circuit, whether you’re fighting for first place or 15th, he will fight like hell which is great to see. He hasn’t lost it. It obviously makes it hard for you but it’s always a great challenge. It’s very close with him but always fair.”

Paying the penalty (Sky)

Mark Hughes: “Pastor’s accidents really do seem to be triggered by ‘red mist’ – in high stress situations, he seems unable to control his emotions. His incident with Grosjean in Australia can be written off as just two hard racers being uncompromising with each other. But banging wheels with Sergio Perez in Monaco practice this year or with Hamilton at Spa last year, barging back onto the track and into an accident with Hamilton at Valencia this year: these are all red mist incidents. It means that when he makes a genuinely innocent misjudgement, like his blocking of Nico Hulkenberg in qualifying on Saturday, he is penalised.”

Spa, Stewards, Standards and Safety… (The Buxton Blog)

“The only answer, as far as I see it, is to start parking drivers. Just as they have with Grosjean. You want to make a racing driver think about his actions? You want to hit him where it hurts? Don?t make his wallet lighter. Don?t make him start a few places back down the grid. Just show him how it feels to sit at home and watch a race in which he should be taking part.”


Comment of the day

Some great additions to the Belgian Grand Prix Stats and Facts from @Andae23:

No German driver started the race from the top nine. This is the first time this has happened since the 2003 Japanese GP: in that race, Heidfeld started from only 11th. Frentzen, Michael and Ralf Schumacher started from 12th, 14th and 19th respectively.

This was Raikkonen?s sixth podium of the year without a win. That means that if he doesn?t pick up a win this year, he will have the most podiums in one season without a win since himself in the 2006 season. In 2006, he scored six podium, but didn?t win a single race that year. The record for most podiums without a win in one season is Button in the 2004 season and Barrichello in the 2001 season (ten podiums).

Pastor Maldonado hasn?t scored any points in the seven Grands Prix following his victory in Spain. This is the longest drought for a race winner since Giancarlo Fisichella in 2003. Following his race win in Brazil, he didn?t score a point in the next eleven Grands Prix.

From the archive

The huge crash at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix evoked memories of some of the other huge first lap shunts seen in F1 before. Here’s ten of the biggest:

From the forum

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today.

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Jack Brabham scored his third and final world championship victory on this day in 1966.

He became the first and, so far, only driver to win the championship in his own car, driving a Brabham-Repco BT19. He retired just seven laps into the race but when championship rival John Surtees dropped out 24 laps later, Brabham’s title was assured.

Here’s some footage from the weekend, though little of the race, which saw Ludovico Scarfiotti score a dream win at home for Ferrari:

Image ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

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117 comments on Better cockpit protection expected for 2014

  1. damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 4th September 2012, 4:46

    Is it just me, or is Will Buxton the worst commentator/”journalist” going around in motorsport at the moment? His commentary is about more self-righteous & arrogant than I knew was possible from a human being. He loves to let everyone know his opinion (apparently people think his “opinions” are gospel, sadly) whenever there’s an incident & doesn’t stop short of being downright mean to drivers in his assessments — almost always entirely without reason or evidence to back up his view. He speaks like an armchair expert & I just can’t bring myself to read anything on his blog anymore. It’s always the same nonsense. My question is: why does he still have a job? :-P

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 4th September 2012, 7:30

      Are you sure you don’t mean Joe Saward?

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 4th September 2012, 7:39

      @damonsmedley, I haven’t been able to follow GP2 all the time this year and thus have not heard much of Will Buxton on tv, and I haven’t found time to read much blog posts by him, so I can’t say I disagree entirely.

      But the currently linked post seems to me quite reasonable, and right to me; pointing out how important consistency is, highlighting some incidents that were dealt with inconsistently to show what he means. And the bit about the FIA reasoning involving taking out championship contenders seemingly as a deciding factor in Grosjeans ban – this post at least rings quite true to me, doesn’t it to you?

    • Kimi4WDC said on 4th September 2012, 7:54

      Sorry to bandwagon the comment, but if that in relation to that article that discusses the danger of F1. Who ever wrote that article must be a perfect candidate to be a member of Ministry of Truth in 1984.

    • No, it’s not just you. Next to the commercial breaks, he’s my least favorite part of every SpeedTV F1 broadcast.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 4th September 2012, 18:15

      @damonsmedley – I’m not a fan of his articles either.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 5th September 2012, 10:48

      @damonsmedley I find him quite entertaining. I only listen to him for GP2 and GP3 but he does have some personality to him. He genuinely knows more about GP2 and GP3 than I do so I guess I don’t really get to argue his opinion much but F1 might be another story.

  2. damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 4th September 2012, 5:01

    On another note, it’s nice to see Romain accepting the unjust penalty like this. He’s showing a lot of maturity and bravery.

    I still have no idea what you’re talking about! Are you OK? Am I OK?

    I’m still upset about it though! :-P Another thing that annoys me about this penalty: it was identical to Suzuka 2011 where Sebastian Vettel came across on Jenson Button at the start. Seriously, absolutely no different in any way whatsoever. If Jenson had lost control on the grass and speared into Seb and an accident unfolded, would Seb have had a 1 race ban? I wish someone could ask the FIA stewards this and see if they can answer with a straight face.

    Seb didn’t even get a drive through because Jenson kept his car under control. But if you lose the car, the “squeezer” gets not just a drive through, but a ban. Some seriously… interesting logic going on here! The correct decision was not banning Seb. The correct decision would have been to not ban Romain.

    It’s a shame, but once again blatantly highlights my point: this penalty wasn’t about the offence, but the uncontrollable mess that came as a result of the offence, regardless of its severity.

    • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 4th September 2012, 5:03

      I still have no idea what you’re talking about! Are you OK? Am I OK?

      Ignore that bit. I seem to have somehow pasted something in from an email!

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 4th September 2012, 7:50

      Actually @damonsmedley, maybe the best action would have been to at least reprimand Seb for that action, and make sure he didn’t do it again. Consistently doing that to all drivers (and in all series) that cut across a lot possibly might have trained drivers to not do that so much, and hence prevent crashes like this …

    • bag0 (@bag0) said on 4th September 2012, 8:46


      I agree with that Vettel should have had some kind of a penatly or warning, either a fine, a drivethrought or a reprimand.

      But in Grosjeans case I think he was involved in many first lap incidents in his career, and he has been warned after Monaco, so a penatly was just, but I would have given him a penatly which makes him learn. This way he have to sitout a race then have another go at Singapore, but my ideal penatly would have been to make him start from the pitlane in Monza, 24th from the grid in Singapore, 17th in Korea, 10th in India, ofcourse only if he gets a time good enought for 17th or 10th. That way he would feel the consequences more, as he would lose ground in four races, not just one.

      I know this is not possible, because it would seriously set back Lotus in the WCC.

      • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 4th September 2012, 9:14

        @bag0 It’s upsetting, because I think someone said Grosjean has caused 7 first corner shunts this year, and everyone’s running with that. But it’s not true at all. He had a crash in Monaco but if anyone was to blame it was Alonso. Grosjean had three choices: either hold his line and crash with Alonso, veer left and crash with Schumacher, or brake and crash with everyone behind. It’s Monaco and it was an accident. Pinning any sort of blame on him for that is too harsh and frankly, completely wrong. This was the first accident of the season that I think he’s responsible for except for his spin which unfortunately collected Schumacher in Malaysia (where it was raining very heavily).

        • bag0 (@bag0) said on 4th September 2012, 9:50

          I didnt say he caused them, but he was involved. If he cant ‘survive’ the first lap without damage he is doing something wrong and he should accept SJS’s help, or maybe he would need a coach like Alonso, Schumacher or even Massa, because they know how to position their car into the first corner, and they are the best at it.

  3. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 4th September 2012, 7:24

    “Pastor’s accidents really do seem to be triggered by ‘red mist’ – in high stress situations, he seems unable to control his emotions. His incident with Grosjean in Australia can be written off as just two hard racers being uncompromising with each other. But banging wheels with Sergio Perez in Monaco practice this year or with Hamilton at Spa last year, barging back onto the track and into an accident with Hamilton at Valencia this year: these are all red mist incidents. It means that when he makes a genuinely innocent misjudgement, like his blocking of Nico Hulkenberg in qualifying on Saturday, he is penalised.”

    I think that thsi is perhaps the most articulate, thoughtful and balanced assessment of Pastor Maldonado that I have seen.

  4. Lothario said on 4th September 2012, 7:40

    Everyone always seems to let the covered-cockpit idea relax until something extremely frightening happens. We have had the incidents regarding Henry Surtees, Felipe Massa, Dan Wheldon and Maria de Villota, two died and two nearly died. We keep needing remainders of the dangers of an exposed cockpit, and it annoys me that they let it happen..

  5. Kimi4WDC said on 4th September 2012, 7:50

    I hope they open up the regulation at the same time, or at this rate they will be driving in sealed rubber cars with lawnmower motors :)

    Is it just me or it’s very weird looking at Grosjean/Lewis incident and then at Button/Lewis in Canada, hearing Button complaining? :) Would be funny if Grosjean pulled “a Button” and complained the same way after driving someone into the wall.

    • bag0 (@bag0) said on 4th September 2012, 8:59

      He could not do that as there are some differences:
      a) it was lap 8 not the start
      b) rain compromises visibility
      c) Button did not change direction, and was ahead of Hamilton, while Grosjean started behind Hamilton and went for a gap
      d) at Canada, Hamilton chose the wrong side to overtake, hoping that his teammate would see him and get out of the way, at Spa Hamilton had no choice.

  6. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 4th September 2012, 8:00

    @keithcollantine wrong day for Rubens Barrichello’s last win – it was 13th September… but Montoya took his penultimate F1 win in the 2005 Italian Grand Prix.

  7. Salcrich said on 4th September 2012, 8:05

    The obvious answer is to fit highly sensitive proximity (parking?) sensors on the SIDES of the cars. These would help the drivers in close quarters situations and overtakes. They would add miniscule weight and help with the high cockpit blind spot. I doubt that Grosjean ( or any other driver) was looking anywhere but forward at the start – an alarm in his ear and a flashing steering wheel light may have caused him to turn away from Hamilton

    • Mads (@mads) said on 4th September 2012, 8:51

      The problem with that though, is that in somewhere like Monaco or Singapore, where they go so close to the walls that they are actually kissing it with the tyre sidewall in some places, so on a lap of Monaco those proximity sensors would beep like a mad man all through the race which will distract the driver. Also, it might make the drivers dependent on those sensors, so the day one driver has had a small incident and its been ripped off the car, or a technical glitch means it doesn’t work he might sideswipe another car.
      But I agree that something has to be done about the huge blindspots they have on their side. They simply don’t know whats in there.

      • Salcrich said on 4th September 2012, 9:08

        Take your point but at Monaco they could blank them or maybe tune them – anyway no one gets alongside at Monaco unless they are having a crash!!!?

    • lol maybe they should have spotters as well like NASCAR.

      the way of the world today is blind overreaction by armchair experts

  8. Julian (@julian) said on 4th September 2012, 9:44

    I’m no gold miner, is gold dust good or bad? As in could they learn lots about the McLaren or not?

    • Alex Brown (@splittimes) said on 4th September 2012, 10:00

      Its very valuable, but if you sneeze, its gone!

    • @julian
      I think it means it is valuable, but too little information.

      The only things I could read out is the rideheight (?), and the speed data: HAM had 292ish at the end of kemmel straight without DRS, while BUT is nearing 305kph also without DRS, and that they only used DRS in the 2nd and 3rd sector on those particular laps, and HAM had 314-315kph before the bus stop while BUT had about 320kph.
      The valuable information comes from comparing the two rearwings, as HAM had the high downforce wing and BUT the low downforce wing. Other teams can see where the Mclaren improved, and exactly how mutch that upgrade worth, but it wont give any developement advantage for another team. (Only if I read it right)

      • Julian (@julian) said on 4th September 2012, 10:51

        Ahhhh awesome. Thanks to the both of you :)

      • You don’t need anyone’s telemetry traces to measure precisely his speed and accelleration at a given point on the track. Ride-height, maybe. But I doubt that the teams are just guessing about rivals’ ride-height, chassis rake, camber, toe, or anything else physically observeable. It was foolish for Hamilton to post the sheet, but it’s value is trivial. It’s not like it tells you what gas McLaren is using in its tires.

      • OOliver said on 5th September 2012, 7:53

        What about wing angle. If a car is setup for higher downforce, the wing angle plays a big factor. The data is completely meaningless to anyone. Last year they had almost exactly the same speed differential or more and they were running the same wing but setup up for different amounts of downforce.

  9. georges10099 (@georges10099) said on 4th September 2012, 10:32

    I don’t know if this point has been raised on here, but I will say it anyway. I spoke about this on my twitter:

    It is all well and good saying that we want better head protection for drivers, with one of the more feasible options being the “roll-cage” type protection. Yes, this would help the drivers from stray wheels etc. However, if this had been implemented for this season the consequences could have been a lot worse on Sunday. The roll cage is very likely to have penetrated Grosjean’s car. From this, a number of things could have happened: Grosjean’s car split in two; his car could have been span around into Alonso’s cockpit (which, as I’m sure you agree could have resulted in the worst); or rolled Grosjean’s car. Now, this obviously wouldn’t be the case if they didn’t have the “roll-cage” type head protection. But, if the F.I.A do decide to go ahead with this type of head protection, they need to ensure that there is no potential harm to a driver’s cars if they go over the top of another’s…

  10. maxthecat said on 4th September 2012, 11:32

    F1 will never be the same once the enclose the drivers. I for one am very sad to see this happen. No one wants to see drivers hurt but people do want to see them taking risks, it’s what separates them from us. As an F1 fan for 30 years i think i will lose interest in the sport.

  11. Monica said on 4th September 2012, 12:38

    No, its 219 hits in 50 seconds!

  12. Txizzle (@txizzle) said on 4th September 2012, 16:26

    Call me an idiot, but I think the cockpits should stay as they are.

  13. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 5th September 2012, 10:44

    Their is truth in the the Maldonado article. Let’s not forget that three of his penalties this year have been gearbox related, which he has little or no control over yet is still penalised. Fundamentally he is a good driver and I’m confident he will snap out of his occasional red mist. Williams do seem to be on the up again and from next year maybe he will have further confidence in the team so he doesn’t need to push quite so aggressively.

  14. The Limit said on 5th September 2012, 14:28

    If anything, the Hamilton ‘twitter’ fiasco, in my opinion, will prove more damaging to Lewis than it will McLaren. Can anybody imagine what would have happened has this occured at Red Bull or Ferrari? I seriously doubt they would be so forgiving, nor would they be keen to have such a driver in their ranks. Many will scoff at this, especially when one thinks of Fernando Alonso’s track record at McLaren and at Renault. However, Alonso’s career has only become stronger since 2007 while Hamilton’s has floundered. Since becoming champion in 2008, Hamilton has not mounted a single championship charge unlike Fernando this year and in 2010. And I think Hamilton is starting to feel this!
    I take nothing away from his talent, he is very gifted, but its his attitude. If his attitude were in tune with his driving talent, he would be a real force and that is the sad aspect of Lewis at the moment.

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