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F1 Safety Suggestions

Discussion in 'F1' started by PCosta, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. PCosta

    PCosta Rookie

    Mar 15, 2004
    35
    Metro Detroit
    There have been one to many incidents in the past weekend were flying objects directly hitting the cockpit, which is very odd to happen in a few days. It might be in all in the numbers (if you believe in that), but one thing for sure is that one young life was taken and another seriously injured. For the love of the sport as we all do, I wanted to open a thread just dedicated to possible safety solutions to this issue.

    I’ll start off with one possible solution. Build a cone coved shatter proof visor if you will that will protect the occupant. It would follow the aerodynamics of the car, release upon in case of fire or role over. More like in a fighter jet ejection deployment. As we all know the F1 car is a fighter jet on wheels, if it had wings it fly. Obviously it would be light weight, it can be tinted, no glare. Cooling the driver will be one issue to work on but if it could save a life why not? If the F1 engineers can work out the issues with the KERS system, I’m sure they can do more to protect their drivers........
     
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  3. Remy Zero

    Remy Zero Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 26, 2005
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    MC Cool Breeze
    Closed cockpit is the only solution, IMO.
     
  4. Whisky

    Whisky F1 World Champ
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    What you want is to replace current F1 cars with the old Group C2 series cars, the Porsche 956's, 962's, Jaguars, etc.

    No matter what you do folks will get hurt, it's the nature of racing, and if you put a 'cone of silence' over a cockpit,
    the next thing that will happen is that cone will SOMEHOW get broken or dislodged and blind a driver's view at 100+
    mph, let alone 180+mph. Or it will shatter and go into the driver, or shatter and go into another driver, etc. or the temp
    in the cockpit will be much too high, etc.

    I'm curious as to how a spring can become dislodged, I'd have figured those would be secured somehow, but if not a
    spring, then possibly something else could come off, I don't know.

    Racing is dangerous (and expensive), if it wasn't, we would all be doing it.
     
  5. SPEEDCORE

    SPEEDCORE Four Time F1 World Champ

    Jul 11, 2005
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    Toe Knee
    I was thinking the same thing, there are plenty of other categories that provide a "roof" option and none of them make it safer to race. There have been deaths in recent years in those sports too :(


    Even if F1 went with the closed cockpit option, the lesser categories in the open wheeler class wouldn't be able to afford this. You would put thousands of people out of jobs overnight banning open cockpits.

    If they really wanted to make motor-sport safe, lowering speeds would be the 1st thing to look at but would anyone bother watching F1 if they were travelling at 60km'h?
     
  6. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    Perhaps a larger roll cage like American sprint and midget racers or Top Fuel dragsters?? The trick will be to still allow enough peripheral vision.
     
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  8. jknight

    jknight F1 Veteran

    Oct 30, 2004
    7,800
    Central Texas
    Peugeot 908, Epsilon Euskadi, Aston Martin, Lola Aston/Judd/Mazda - cooling drivers already exists -> cool suits are used in racing sportscars, cars already have a/c, aircraft type windshield in the Pug (deals with fogging issue)

    Agreed with other comment, racing is dangerous no matter how safe you would want to make it. I hate to think what would have happened to deMatta if he had the 'cone cover' over him when the deer incident occurred (that deer was a bit heavier than 800 gm) - might not have been a pretty sight... Katherine Legge with a cone cover in her accident?? A friend in 2002 had a huge shunt at Suzuka in F1 practice when his Toyota punched its way through the steel guardrail after he lost control in 130R and went off backwards at 170 mph. He was extremely fortunate that the engine and gearbox bore the brunt of the huge impact. How would you rectify that, have an F1 race of armored tanks? Two years ago at Monza a good friend of his car actually became airborne and went flying over him, very similar incident occurred when Marc Gene went airborne in the 908 at LeMans two years ago in practice. These folks are currently racing in cars of various types (except deMatta, although he's done testing with a GA team) - they know it's a dangerous sport, they have families (one has two kiddos), they know the consequences, this is their life/passion (why else would they be back behind the wheel after their incidents?). Perhaps the GPDA will come up with viable safety ideas that make sense, who knows...I think Kimi summed it up by saying the accident was just an unfortunate occurrence and he reckons there is little to do to avoid it."It is just an unlucky situation what happened today," he said. "It could have happened two years ago, or it could happen five years ago."The cars have an open cockpit so there is always the chance that something can hit it. It is not the first time that someone has been hit and unfortunately sometimes drivers get very badly hurt or die. It is part of the risk in motor racing.

    Carol
     
  9. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    #7 Gatorrari, Jul 26, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    A typical Top Fuel dragster roll cage from a few years ago; the only change since (and probably not essential in F1) is the plating over of the rear half of the cage to better protect from shrapnel from an exploding engine or supercharger.

    Note how that with a minimal addition of tubing, the driver's head is entirely surrounded.
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  10. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    #8 Gatorrari, Jul 26, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Apparently, Jack Brabham tried this aerodynamic (but non-structural) fairing in practice at Monza in 1967. The visual distortion was too great, but maybe this line of thinking could be pursued.

    (The same year, a wooden-chassis F2 car called the Protos raced at the Nurburgring with a similar aerodynamic fairing.)
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  11. SPEEDCORE

    SPEEDCORE Four Time F1 World Champ

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  13. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    But not from objects hitting the driver's head!
     
  14. Far Out

    Far Out F1 Veteran

    Feb 18, 2007
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    This cage would not be useful in an accident like Massa's yesterday, imho. Small parts like the spring can easily fly between the tubes of the cage!
     
  15. DGS

    DGS Four Time F1 World Champ

    May 27, 2003
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    My first thought on the subject was the possibility of using some kind of aerodynamic deflector to divert FOD away from the cockpit.

    But then I did some math. At 275 kph (170 mph), a car is moving at about 76 meters per second (250 fps). Look at the TV pictures: at the PAL frame rate (25fps), the car moves about 3 meters (10 ft) between frames. The object would pass between the nose of the car and the cockpit in about 13 milliseconds. There's no time for aero do much to an 800 gm object.

    And it wouldn't have helped at all on Surtees' incident either, as the tire came in from the side.

    (Well, actually, my *first* thought was to get FIA the information on Richard Hammond's helmet.)


    Thinking (way) back to my day, certainly a driver knows the potential danger in the sport.
    (What used to give me nightmares was the possibility of a spectator being in the wrong place. After corner workers were killed by loose wheels in 2000 and 2001, I started a fan thread on the 'net to see if anyone could come up with a new idea for ways to improve wheel tethers.)

    So this thread is worth having -- maybe someone will come up with something ingenious. But I rather doubt any of the obvious solutions will help.

    Even the "obvious" solution of a thicker helmet could make things even worse. The "life threatening" report probably came from the news of Felipe's basilar fracture -- which is potentially life threatening, if the carotid artery canal is compromised, or the spinal cord is damaged. (That was a factor in Ratzenburger's death in '94.) The HANS device was intended to reduce that kind of injury. But the heavier the helmet, the more inertia the HANS has to overcome.

    But keep thinking -- maybe someone will have a "eureka" moment.

    And it's something to think about while waiting for news.
     
  16. URY914

    URY914 Formula Junior

    Feb 17, 2004
    608
    Temple Terrace FL
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    Paul
    I think you should turn your attention to not allowing parts to fly off the back of cars. Changing the cockpit design because of a very freak accident is like your local city adding speed bumps to every street because of people speeding.
     
  17. WillSpain

    WillSpain Karting

    Jul 12, 2009
    95
    Asturias - Spain
    Always is going to be a problem in one unexpected moment with one of this kind of cars about to "eject" broken pieces,from the rear,or from the front,doesn`t matter,all becaming from any part of the car will be dangerous for a helmet. Today was a rear spring,tomorrow will be another piece,,,,,

    May be all starts because this cars are full of so delicated parts,aerodinamic parts,mechanichal parts,,all is to much delicated there.So when one problem or crash happens,all parts fly away very easily,,,this is the first problem,because looks like imposible a attachement of all the parts of the car in case of crash.

    Stronger helmets could be a solution,but I think the better and fastest solution,If we refer only safety,is a simply closed cockpit.Only is a opinion.
     
  18. Dean Lewis

    Dean Lewis Formula Junior

    May 16, 2009
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    i like that idea, doesnt look to bad, and saves F1 from any future hazards
     
  19. beast

    beast F1 Veteran

    May 31, 2003
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    The accident was a very freak encounter. The key focus is to find out where that spring came from and why it fell off the car in that fashion.

    F-1 is an open wheel/open cockpit form of racing. Placing a canopy over the drive takes away from the racing IMHO also creates more issues than it prevents. For example if the chassis was damaged and the car is on fire how do you get the driver out if it is jammed. Picture Kimi's Kers failure early this year, all the smoke inside of the cockpit would force the use of a breathing system and create a delay in getting out of the car.
     
  20. F&M racing

    F&M racing Formula Junior

    Feb 26, 2006
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    Myself being an ex Forumla Ford owner and driver see no need for roll cages. These cars are a lot safer than people think they are and just because we've had two recent accidents doesn't mean we panic and change everything. I know of more drivers getting hurt or killed in tin tops
    in club racing. Racing is dangerous if you won't except the risk then don't race. I knew the risks involved and I raced during a time when the cars were more dangerous than they are now and I excepted those risks because I loved racing open wheel cars. You can not make a race car 100% safe.
     
  21. F&M racing

    F&M racing Formula Junior

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    #18 F&M racing, Jul 26, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2009
    Bad idea, try driving that clear canopy in the rain with oil on it! Ever drive a formula car in the rain? I have and I wouldn't want this! Oh! I forgot racing in the rain is a risk too may be we shouldn't do that either.

    The cars are fine the way they are, maybe just a few minor adjustments but not panic changes. Just think of how many Formula cars are out there racing every weekend and I'd say they plenty safe.
     
  22. Gilles27

    Gilles27 F1 World Champ

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    Don't forget that driver egress/extraction is a critical safety issue. To me, there's a much higher probability of a driver becoming trapped or an injured driver's condition worsened from his enclosure being compromised in a wreck, requiring additional precious time to reach the driver. The helmets and visors are pretty strong and can resist quite a bit of debris. You wouldn't think it, but if you've ever been hit in the helmet by an airborne piece of tire clag, it's quite a jolt. But if you're going to get on the safety choo-choo, the biggest danger to the sport is the open-wheel design itself. I think the cars are just fine, and that one fluke injury isn't cause for rewriting the rules. I don't lump the Surtees tragedy with Massa's. Formula 2 cars have the drivers' heads in a slightly more vulnerable position than Formula 1, and if there's a design flaw, they should address that. But back to F1, if you really care about safety and want to make changes, then the wheels should have protective farings to prevent launching from wheel to wheel contact. Now we're heading towards Prototype racing.
     
  23. F&M racing

    F&M racing Formula Junior

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    #20 F&M racing, Jul 26, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2009
    I agree with you 100%, these cars are real safe, things are going to happen you can't make everything 100% perfect. The open wheel design is more of a risk, but the rewards of driving and racing one out weigh the risk. The comments of rollcages, aero screens, etc. do not factor in the ability to be able to exit one a these cars quickly. They are hard enough to get in and out of as it is. Everytime I sit in my friends Van Diemen I get a real safe feeling about how formula car design is now. I would have no problem racing one of these again, once you drive a formula car you understand why people like to race them, their a blast to drive. The bottom line is you have a choice on what you want to race, if Formula Cars are too risky for your taste then race something else.
     
  24. Jelly Spanners

    Jelly Spanners Karting

    Jul 19, 2009
    77
    South West UK
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    Jeremy
    This should be a safety thought, any part failieur on a car (not due to accident) should be able to be contained by its bodywork and not fall to the track, Motorcycle fairings have to do this as well as retaining leaking fluids?
     
  25. wetpet

    wetpet F1 World Champ
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    May 3, 2006
    10,151
    democrat? oh, and they wouldn't fly if they had wings. Anyway, i think they should make the cars more dangerous.
     
  26. beast

    beast F1 Veteran

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    They are???? If a sport motorcycle was to blow a water hose or have a severe oil leak the only place the fluids go is on the ground and the rear tire.

    If you were to expect the body work to contain parts falling off or leaking fluids there would be no way to cool the vehicle as you have top have openings for ventilation.
     
  27. spirot

    spirot F1 World Champ
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    I"m all for Safety in F-1 and i think that is one thing they have gone above and beyond on... however it is racing and it is dangerous. that is why they have the state of art helmets they do!

    I think this knee jerk reaction is what makes the racing so much worse. I hate to see Massa hurt... that is bad, terrible - but its a freak mistake / accident.. stuff happens. what happens if a piece of the carbon fiber wing, faring, etc.. falls off, bounces and lodges in your throat? chest etc... you are never going to stop the danger... what happens is you end up dumbing down the cars, everybody forgets about the danger and it just keeps escalating. I think there is more of a chance of a huge fire every race than an accident like Massa's.... just my 10 cents.
     
  28. F&M racing

    F&M racing Formula Junior

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    #25 F&M racing, Jul 26, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2009
    Everybody remember how many Formula type cars race per weekend on any given weekend, I'd say their safe the way they are. No need to change them, S*#t happens, racing is dangerous, all of us that climb in these cars know the risks. I feel for Massa and I hope he makes a full recovery, no one twisted his arm to race Formula Cars. A fighter type canopy will not help, what about flying wheels, solution then would be fenders, end result a prototype racer which we already have. What happens when your upside down? How's a blow off canopy going help, anyway a canopy blowing off would be flying debris right !!! Wrong solution. Why not take the driver out of the car and he can race it by remote control, that would eliminate all the risks and no need to worry about the driver then.
    The engineers are always working to make them safer but again freak things will always happen. A formula car is meant to be open wheel, open cockpit, if your fearful of this configuration then race something else or stick with racing on the computer. The one thing I never thought about when I raced Formula Cars is stuff like this,I knew racing was dangerous but I accepted it. I felt more at risk riding my motorcycle than when I raced my Formula Car. I'm all in favor in making them safer but lets not ruin true nature of these cars open wheel and cockpit.
     

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