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FIA Looks At Ways To Keep F1 Drivers Safe

Posted in FIA, Formula 1, Safety by Kurt Ernst | July 19th, 2011 | Leave a Reply |

Formula One has been a relatively safe sport for almost two decades. Following the tragic deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger at the San Marino GP in 1994, the sport went to great lengths to police itself. Improvements were made to both tracks and cars in an effort to prevent future tragedies, and so far they’ve paid big dividends. Even serious-looking crashes rarely produce catastrophic injuries anymore, but there’s always room to improve on driver safety.

One measure under consideration with the FIA, F1’s governing body, is the adoption of fighter-jet style canopies, seen testing in the video below. Intrusion of debris into the cockpit is still an area of concern for race car engineers; Felipe Massa was severely injured by a spring that fell off of Rubens Barichello’s car during the 2010 Hungarian Grand Prix. Although Massa made a complete recovery, the impact of the spring against his helmet could well have been fatal. A reinforced windshield isn’t enough to deflect the heaviest debris, but a bubble-shaped canopy likely would be.

FIA Institute Jet Canopy Test from FIA Institute on Vimeo.

For now, the concept is in the test and evaluation phase, but this much is clear: F1 cars of the future are likely to look quite a bit different from F1 cars of today. If it improves racing and keeps the drivers safe, I’m all for it

Source: Motor Authority

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