Skip to main content

Indy 500: Sebastien Bourdais' Accident Shows The Amazing Advances In Safety

Indycar doesn't have a great track record in recent years, with more driver's killed or seriously injured than most, if not all, other top level motor racing series. That's an inherent danger of cars going very, very quickly around an oval circuit in the company of lots of other cars.

Today's qualifying accident involving Sebastien Bourdais does demonstrate the incredible strides in safety Indycar has made over the years.

Bourdais accident was terrifying to watch for anyone who has been around motor sport for many years, specifically because of the way it so closely mirrors the accident of Gordon Smiley, thirty-five years ago.

In both cases an over correction of a tail slide sent the drivers into the Brickyard's outside retaining wall at unabated speed. For Smiley the mistake was fatal, the accident destroyed the unfortunate driver's body and was described at the time as being of the same severity of an aircraft accident. Smiley was obviously killed instantly.

Bourdais, benefited from the carbon fibre tubs of modern cars, the SAFER barrier which lines the outside of the circuit and, just as importantly, the HANS device and the protection it offers drivers from the violent head movements which used to snap necks and smash brains into skulls. 

Multiple fractures to the pelvis and hips and a year away from racing don't sound like getting off lightly but that is absolutely what this is. 

Bourdais won't be a competitor in this years Indy 500. That he will be around to watch is something to be thankful for.


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…