The FIA will carry out new closed cockpit tests for Formula 1 cars following the death of IndyCar driver Justin Wilson at Pocono Raceway.
According to Motorsport.com, the subject of closed canopies has returned to the FIA’s agenda following Wilson’s death, caused by a piece of flying debris from another car. The FIA previously conducted closed canopy tests on open wheel cars following accidents involving Formula 2 driver Henry Surtees and Formula 1’s Felipe Massa in 2009.
Surtees was killed after being struck the head by a wheel at Brand Hatch, while Massa narrowly escaped death after being hit with a 1 kg suspension component at the Hungarian GP shortly after. The accidents prompted the FIA to test a fighter-jet style canopy, though that solution proposed issues with drivers getting out of the cockpit in the event of an accident and medical crews having access to the driver. The FIA found these downsides outweighed the benefits.
Rather than introducing entirely closed canopies, the FIA will look into fitting the cars with vertical blades near the front of the car. The blades would deflect debris away from the driver’s head while also allowing for an easy escape from the cockpit in the event of an accident or a fire.
The new blade concept was first discussed by the FIA last week, before the incident involving Wilson took place. In addition the blade idea, Mercedes-Benz is also said to propose an idea with a “halo-style,” ring to be fitted around the cockpit, according to Motorsport.com.
Creative Commons photo via Franziska on Flickr!