The tragic death of Justin Wilson this week has moved the discussion of open-cockpit racing again. The FIA have researched several options in their quest to protect drivers from errant debris such as the incident at Pocono with Wilson.
The FIA began serious research into the issue when Henry Surtees was killed by an errant wheel from another car in a junior series race only to be followed by a life-threatening incident involving Felipe Massa in which a spring struck the Brazilian in the head.
As the FIA’s Charlie Whiting points out, and we mentioned on Monday’s podcast, the issue has as many pros and it has cons and it is not an issue to simply apply pragmatism to. It takes measured and well researched solutions. Closing the cockpit like a jet fighter presents its own risks and safety concerns while other solutions obstruct the view of the driver.
Whiting told the press that they are looking very seriously at the issue, however, and that there will be further safety measures taken eventually:
“We have put in a huge amount of time, effort and research into this project, which has not been easy, in fact bloody hard,” added Whiting.
“But I can definitely see the day when this will happen. One day there will be something that will decrease a driver’s risk of injury.
“Whether it will be as good at protecting a driver from an object coming towards him as a fighter jet cockpit, I doubt that, but it will offer him protection.
“We have to persevere. We must make something, even if it’s not 100 per cent in terms of protecting the driver under all circumstances.
“But if it improves the situation it has to be good. There must be a way.”
The key will be finding the right solution that adds safety, doesn’t increase risk and doesn’t impede the driver in their ability to see and drive. As much as we may want a safer open cockpit racing series, I do hope they do all their homework and offer the right solution, not just A solution.
Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT