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Should Formula 1 cars have closed cockpits?

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Dmitry Zaharov, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. So, in light of recent wheel-hits-head near-miss in Spa its obvious that seeing closed cockpits in F1 is just a matter of time. Here is a video of recent FIA tests of polycarbonate windshield:

    How do you see such system? Should it be fully enclosed or just a part that covers height up to top of drivers heltmet?
  2. Another system, not exactly "closed cockpit" but does pretty much same thing, protects drivers head from heavy flying objects:
  3. cockpits won't be fully closed, not for a long time, however i still think they are going to make the cockpit higher so the head is more protected.

  4. It is safety first really. The way the cars have developed over the years to a tribute to the teams....difficult one to call really.
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  5. Looks as good as it is in my opinion.
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  6. I have no objection, it's bound to happen, the current system is waiting for the first decapitation. As visuals go, it could be quite cool look, open wheel F1 with cockpit canopy..

    The actual shape of it should be identical for all so it can't be used as an aerodynamic device.. But it would be nice to see what they can build before and after that shape..
  7. Von Butters

    Von Butters

    After a bit of trawling through vids, this is the clearest picture i could find of Martin Brundle's 1994 crash in brazil.
    the clearest picture yet of the safety measures brought in have worked, but STILL need working on!

  8. I´m not sure i like the idea really.
    Don´t get me wrong, i´m fully aware of the dangers and the fact that Alonso could have lost his head yesterday but i think we should not move directly to canopies.
    Maybe some thick plexi boards on the side of the helmets that can deflect a car would be better as a start.

    It just feels like if canopy is next, then closed wheel will be another step and then the formula is more like Le Mans prototypes made for sprint races.

    I think it´s inevitable but it´s all talk for now.

    Something like this will F1 cars look like in 10-15 years i think.
  9. @Christopher Hall-Nelson, that was in 1994. This is 2012 and Alonso and Maria could be dead with even better safety measures (but insufficient) than those in '94..

    Closed cockpits is the only way, otherwise we're in for a gruesome accident one of these days.
  10. Maybe something like this, sorry for the shitty PS.
    Obviously it would cover the head´s dimensions and be completely transparent.

  11. Von Butters

    Von Butters

    I feel you may have missed my point, i was trying to get across that there is a natural progression in safety improvements from the crash there in 1994 where a drivers head was hit, to yesterday, where these safety measures saved him from being hit and might just have saved his life.

    Can you imagine if the cars were still as open as in 1994, it gives me the shivers just thinking of it.

    I personally would love to see closed cockpits to keep drivers safe, id hate to think that a LOT of lives can be savedwitht hem, and we wont have to watch in horror at what happend to Senna, Weldon, or even yesterdays near miss.

    BTW, the mock up above of a potential F1 car in 10 to 15 years time is absolute sick, i love it!
  12. Von Butters

    Von Butters

    If its strong enough like say it could be, maybe they could drop the side pods a little too while still retaining the hight with this *glass* idea, give the drivers some visibility back.
  13. Ok, I understand now. And agree.

    You and me. There were 4 accidents that left a mark in my memory:
    - Villeneuve's
    - Ratzenberger's
    - Senna's
    - Dan's

    The last three were direct hits to the head, perfectly avoidable with proper cockpits.

    Villeneuve's was shocking in many ways, all due to poor cockpit design.

    Then there's Surtees (stupid death) and Maria de Villota (career ended, deep injuries to her face and skull).

    I understand Hampus when he says that ultimately if these measures carry on there'll be no difference between protos and open-wheelers. I do. However, we don't need to cover the wheels - that's why they're called open-wheelers and that's part of the charm of this sport.

    A closed cockpit is necessary. They've been using them in F1 powerboats and this system has saved dozens of lives. And the sport carries on.

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  14. Something like in Hampus image could be a good compromise. Dome is structurally stronger but it does ruin the look a bit.. Maybe a combination of both, an arc?
  15. I´m sure the aerodynamicists would love the idea :) Right now it´s a little nightmare having a piece of flesh inside a moving object disturbing the air like crazy.

    Drag would probably be cut down quite significantly with a canopy.
  16. I don't mind the idea of enclosed cockpits. For one, F1 cars haven't gone through any major visual changes since the early 80s so a new look would be interesting. But if they do it, I'd definitely prefer a canopy over a roll cage for three reasons:

    1) A roll cage wouldn't prevent an accident like the one Massa had in 2009.
    2) Roll cages are ugly.
    3) A canopy would allow for some interesting aerodynamic designs and I always love to see new and clever solutions :)

    I know that there is the argument of not being able to escape quickly in the event of a fire, but I'm sure the brilliant engineers in F1 would be able to come up with a solution for that.
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  17. Wouldn't that be dangerous for the marshals/spectators (though I am not sure if I understood the principle 100% correctly)?
  18. Not necessarily, I think, it depends on:
    - amount of explosives
    - directionality of the explosion

    Military fighter jets use Explosive Bolts Canopies. They explode outwardly and away from the pilot. The proper amount of explosives can be used to prevent accidental hits to anyone around within a certain radius.

    My 2 cents.
  19. Mercedes SLS has a similar feature because of the gullwing doors.