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Open-Cockpit Driver Safety

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I like the idea of the canopy for added safety, or something like the Lola concept shown, but if it were a deceleration injury it may not have done much good in this case. Could help a lot in other less severe, lower-energy collisions though. For example, when Alonso was nearly hit in the head or even maybe decapitated by the Lotus at Spa. That Lotus design would probably help quite a bit in a scenario like that one, or when there's flying debris.
I like the look of open-cockpit cars as much as the next guy, but I have wondered for years why F1 sticks to them so fiercely. The cars are incredibly safe and strong otherwise, yet we insist on exposing drivers' heads. Makes no sense to me.

Lola reveal 2011 Formula 1 safety concepts
By Racecar Engineering // March 8, 2010
English firm uses its MB-01 Grand Prix car to show off improved driver protection systems
Despite missing out on a entry for the 2010 Formula 1 World Championship English firm Lola has not been idle. As well as putting forward a design concept for the 2012 Indycar series the firm has revealed its ideas on how to improve driver safety.
The issue came to the fore last year following the death of Henry Surtees in a Formula 2 race, and the subsequent injury sustained by Ferrari driver Felipe Massa in the run up to the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“Lots of options have been considered” explains Lola’s head of special projects Peter McCool, “but there is always a compromise. A device that reduces the possibility of a foreign object impact usually restricts access, movement, vision or all three. An ejector seat is not really an option.
The addition of a rigid safety hoop of carbon fibre over the driver’s helmet would stop wheels (or other large objects) from impacting on top of the driver’s head. This rigid structure could be combined with the outer shell of the current removable head padding. It would therefore not restrict driver access anymore than the current level of padding, which has to be removed before the driver can get in or out of the car. The outer edges of the hoop would spigot into the chassis to provide a continuous structural load path. Work would be required to ensure that driver visibility was not adversely affected. These two simple modifications would require minimum work to existing chassis regulations, and could easily help ensure that drivers are not put at risk from being hit by track debris in the future.”
The final concept pictured here is detailed along with a number of other concepts in the April issue of Racecar Engineering.



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As most people know, I'm a HUGE safety advocate, but even then there's good ideas and ones that create other issues.


I would think <<<key word alert>>> that an enclosed cockpit on F-1 cars would get way to hot and/or get fogged over running in the wet.


Drag racing can get away with it due the short time span the driver is enclosed.


In the Bianchi incident I don't believe either concept would have helped.....Granted a capsule type enclosure may have saved Senna and a few others from getting whacked by debris.

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Yeah, I included the canopy thing not really thinking too much about it, but I really think the Lola concept shown there strikes the perfect balance of adding a great deal of protection for the drivers in typical collisions and debris incidents while maintaining the open cockpit. I would favor that over a canopy any day.

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