This remarkable onboard video shows Ginetta racer Mike Simpson hitting a door which had come off a rival car while flat-out on Pilgrim’s Drop at Brands Hatch:
Here’s a look at the damage it caused:
Alarming stuff! When I see this sort of thing I do wonder whether it’s a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ F1 cars will have some kind of cockpit covers.
Of course F1 cars have no doors, but other parts, such as wheels coming loose really worry me. I think there should be some sort of protection from wheels, maybe in the form of a larger windscreen to act as a deflector rather than being totally covered. The alternative may be to force the teams to beef up the suspension so it doesn’t break away from the chassis, rendering the wheel tethers useless.
I am surprised that cockpit covers have not happened already. For all the safety measures that F1 goes through by
chopping the balls off “modernising” Formula One circuits, you’d think there would be some moves to address the most unsafe feature of a modern open-wheel car.
I mean, the FIA immediately made quite ludicrous restrictions on pitlane access following the cameraman incident in Germany – and yet the drivers’ heads are no safer than they were when Felipe Massa was nearly killed 4 years ago.
I can only assume that the lack of cockpit covers is something to do with the amount of time it takes a driver to climb out of the car. I believe that, as part of the safety tests, a team has to prove a driver can get out of their car in 6 seconds, or something like that. I suppose faffing around trying to get around a cockpit cover could be costly if an unconscious driver is engulfed in an inferno.
Perhaps plastic covers could be integrated into the headrest somehow, in that it’s something that can be removed and replaced in a matter of seconds.
and yet the drivers’ heads are no safer than they were when Felipe Massa was nearly killed 4 years ago.
While I get your point and agree with what you’re saying in terms of context, the above is not necessarily true. Helmets have changed since, especially the visor. http://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/regulation/file/2011%20F1%20Visor%20Specification%20v0.4.pdf
Pretty scary video, though. I’d imagine the driver got a few grey hairs in the process..
One driver had two punctures in one stint which may have been related to the debris the door incident left on the circuit, I recall a McLaren going off with a puncture too.
Am I the only one that thinks it’s a disgrace that series still allow glass windshields instead of mandating Lexan ones? I don’t care what level of racing it is if the car has any windows in it they should be Lexan and not glass.
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