im really concerned that something might happen in another Motorsport Category, especially where in F1 we’re heading to a New track (India, Buddh International Circuit) that has probably the longest straight in the F1 Calendar finished with heavy braking into a Hairpin,
As tragic as they were, the deaths of Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli do not automatically make the circuit in India unsafe simply because it has a long straight and a heavy braking zone.
Wheldon’s death was the result of several factors: a thirty-four car grid racing in incredibly close proximity on a 1.5-mile short-track oval speedway with no run-off areas. You can find none of these in Formula 1. Indeed, Formula 1 requires circuits to hold a Grade-1 licence to host a race; Indycar only requires Grade-2, which has a lower safety requirement.
Simoncelli’s death was a result of him being hit by another bike. Motorcycle racing is very different to car racing, because accidents often involve riders being completely exposed. None of the factors that influenced Simoncelli’s death can be found in Formula 1.
I hate to say it, @younger-hamii, but your reaction is exactly what I was cautioning against in the wake of Wheldon’s accident: “OH NO A RACER DIED IT’S NOT SAFE WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT RIGHT NOW!!”. And when you study what happened in simplest form, you’re probably right: a racer died while racing. But these accidents are not simple things; Dan Wheldon’s death came in a fifteen-car pile-up, and Wheldon was the fifteenth and last car to crash.
If there is a problem that needs to be addressed, then it needs to be addressed carefully and scientifically, whatever public and political pressure is applied to the sport to make it safer. Rushing in changes could potentially do more harm than good, because they can easily fail to dress the problem entirely and create a false sense of security.
Most open cockpit deaths are caused by the lack of head protection. A canopy like a jet fighter would fix this problem.
Actually, that wouldn’t do anything at all, @thezadak – it might further protect against head trauma, but a canopy would have done nothing to save Dan Wheldon. Sure, the FIA fired tyes into the canopy at racing speeds to see what happened, but did they fire a chassis with a canopy into a wall upside-down at 350km/h?
Canopies might protect against head trauma, but they create more problems than they solve. The curved shape will distort a driver’s field of view, making it harder to judge distances and spaces. In humid conditions, they can mist up, forcing a driver to pit unfairly. In the event of a serious accident, they are a barrier to safety crews trying to access a driver; when Nick Heidfeld’s car caught fire in Hungary, he had to get out straight away – but if there was a canopy over his head, it would have slowed him down. Not to mention that racing overalls are only designed to offer thirty seconds’ protection from fire, so if it took more than thirty seconds for Heidfeld to get out, he would have been in more danger than without the canopy. And in the event of serious damage, it may even be impossible to open the canopy; when Jaime Alguersuari hit Vitaly Petrov in Monaco, Petrov was knocked unconscious. If he had a canopy, safety crews would have taken longer to get to him, and if that canopy had jammed, they would have struggled to get to him at all.
You are correct when you say more racing deaths are caused by head trauma. However, comparatively few accidents actually involve head trauma at all. When Dan Wheldon died, fifteen cars crashed out – but only one driver actually had hed injuries. One in fifteen might sound like entirely too many, but compare that to every accident in Indycar this year, or in the past three years – in that time, only one driver, Dan Wheldon, had had head trauma.
Canopies are a knee-jerk reaction to incidents that, while serious, are isolated.