The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association chairman Alexander Wurz has spoken on behalf of F1 drivers, who have all agreed that now is the time to demand extra protection in new car designs. The safety of the sport has long been debated and the drivers know that there will always be an element of risk involved in the sport. But steps do need to be taken to try and limit the possibility of severe injury or even death.
Changes do need to be made and the FIA have been working for some time on new designs that will specifically provide extra protection to the heads of the drivers. Current designs include a metal frame across the cockpit of the car. In the event of a crash, this frame will prevent any crash debris from hitting drivers in the head.
The general consensus is that any designs that have been tested and proven successful need to be implemented as soon as possible. Only last year tragedy struck when Jules Bianchi died as a result of severe head injuries he had sustained in a crash at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Speaking of the high level of research involved in model developments, Wurz commended the FIA for the thorough research that has been undertaken in the name of safety. He stated that the research has presented a clear solution to the problem. F1 drivers feel that the new design should be implemented by 2017 at the latest.
The Chairman went on to make reference to the changes:
“Obviously structural changes are required to the chassis but, with almost a one-year lead time, I don’t see any technical person speaking against such substantial safety improvements. Especially given the last big accidents in open-wheel racing involved head injuries, so all the drivers, and I, hope that passing the additional head protection will be a formality.”
It isn’t just the design of the F1 Car frame that requires attention. For some time now drivers have been complaining about Pirelli tires. The pressure is being piled on to Pirelli to produce a tyre that allows the driver to push the car to the limit but at the same time safety is paramount. The hope is that F1 could see a tire from Pirelli that will take corners at speed but still be safe.
Wurz said that drivers need to be able to extract everything possible from their extraordinary race cars, because that is what F1 is all about. Being able to race the cars to the best of their ability was described as the pinnacle of motor racing. A sport loved by drivers, officials and fans alike.
F1 drivers will obviously prefer a sticky tire, sticky tires and a sense of security in a newly designed car will result in happy drivers according to Wurz. He believes that we could then attribute an authentic and honest performance, from F1 drivers, to these changes.
Speaking of growth and continuing excitement in the sport Wurz made reference to higher cornering speeds which he said have been achieved in the past. Back in 2009 drivers were achieving speeds 30 MPH faster than in previous years.
Drivers’ race because of the thrill and the thrill is fuelled by modern technology. The developments in safety allow driver’s to achieve more than they have ever before whilst minimising the risks involved in the sport.
Those that compete do so willingly knowing that there is a risk involved in F1, but it is this risk that spurs drivers on.
In F1, slow and steady never won the race!
Author Lisa Wood
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