Skip to main content

F1: Justin Wilson's Accident Prompts Closed Cockpit Discussions


The horrible accident which befell ex-F1racer Justin Wilson yesterday has called into question the continued use of open cockpit cars.

Wilson was critically injured and remains in a coma after a freak Indycar accident where his helmet was struck by debris from Sage Karem's accident. The piece Wilson hit, whilst travelling at around 200 mph, was either the ballast or crash structure from Karem's nosecone, a heavy part which caused the injuries that have hospitalised the British racer.

Calling it a freak accident is a cop out though. Felipe Massa's accident at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2009 was very similar, whilst Henry Surtees died after he was struck on the head by an untethered wheel which had detached in another car's accident.

And whilst neither incident involved striking debris, both Jules Bianchi and Maria de Villota died as a result of brain trauma received in helmet strikes.

It really is time to decide whether some form of cockpit canopy should be deployed to protect drivers from what has bend me one of their biggest dangers.

Whilst its unlikely that a cockpit canopy would have saved Jules Bianchi there's a good chance that Maria de Villota would have suffered a far less serious injury had her Marussia been protected. Massa and Surtees would both have benefitted from a canopy. The racing world would be naively complacent if it thinks it can just ignore this problem.

These sorts of things just don't seem to happen at Le Mans, where the fact that cars are covered in behind a closed in root and the drivers can't be seen doesn't suggest that they put spectators off.

For Justin Wilson we can only pray that the blow to his helmet was a glancing one and the well-liked Yorkshireman makes a speedy return to health.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

F1: Robert Kubica's Williams Test Asks More Questions Than It Answers

Comparing driver's times at a tyre evaluation test like last week's Abu Dhabi event is difficult at the best of times, but when trying to assess the performance of a driver who has been out of the sport for six years, that difficulty level is raised even higher.
On the face of it Robert Kubica's test for Williams was a success. Fastest of the three Williams drivers present the headlines look promising. However, taking into consideration the different tyres used to set those times muddies the water considerably.
Kubica ran a three lap qualifying simulation on the new 'hyper-soft' tyre - which should have given him a two-second advantage. Correcting for tyres it would appear that Kubica was significantly slower than Sergei Sorotkin - who was on the harder 'soft' tyre - and marginally quicker than Lance Stroll, the team's only contracted driver.

Stroll's family fortune currently funds Williams, so there' no chance that he will be anywhere but in a…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…