In the aftermath of Jules Bianchi's crash at Suzuka the debate of whether Formula One should switch to closed cockpit racing has once again blown open.
For a few years now the question of whether Formula One should be a closed cockpit formula keeps making an appearance. Before the Bianchi incident the other most notable time in which the safety of the cars has come into question was in the wake of the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix when Romain Grosjean infamously flew over the top of Fernando Alonso's Ferrari only narrowly missing the Spaniard's head.
A major positive of a closed cockpit car is obviously the fact the driver's head would be protected at all times rather than it being vulnerable as demonstrated in the Alonso-Grosjean incident.
However, on the whole the negatives of having a closed cockpit massively outweigh the positives. Firstly, the screen itself would get dirty throughout the race due to rain (if a wet race), bugs and dirt landing on the screen; due to the nature of a Formula One can and Grand Prix racing it would just not be feasible to have windscreen wipers on the cars. A further reason is that due to temperature increases within the cockpit would make it very hot inside which may subsequently lead to the screen fogging up - visibility may also be hindered by the supports required to keep the structure in place.The major issue of a closed cockpit would be the issue of exiting the car in case of an emergency such as a result of a crash or fire. In the case of Bianchi's crash if a closed cockpit was already in place it would've made his extraction even longer and more difficult.
This debate will rage on for many years as drivers, teams and the heads of Formula One push to continually improve the safety sport, but whether a decision is ever to be made is another question.