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Large Debris Pieces

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Seán Craddock's picture
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Dublin, Ireland
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September 20, 2015
Large Debris Pieces

We all heard about the tragic death of Justin Wilson last month after being hit on the head with a large piece of debris, and there has been a lot of debate since.

One thing that irks me is when people refer to it as a "freak" accident. I don't think this is right. There have been countless similar crashes in open-cockpit racing which spread debris through the air, surely it was only a matter of time until someone hit a piece.

Most of the reaction has been talking about closed cockpits, or similar systems protecting against impact with large debris pieces. Is this not complicating things? If there was a canopy for instance, that large piece of debris could be deflected into the crowd. Should a certain focus not be on the debris itself? A nosecone should not be allowed fly through the air like that. Could a tether be used to keep the nose close to the car after impact? These are things I would like to see investigated.

Anybody watching today's Singapore Grand Prix will have seen the very minor incident between Button and Maldonado. However, I was worried when I saw such a large piece of Button's wing fly through the air like that. If that had hit a helmet it could've caused damage. In the end it was struck by a car which flung the debris into fencing. Another bullet dodged.

I would like to see studies and investigations into reducing the size of debris pieces before there's an introduction of closed cockpits. Just to be clear, I'm not against closed cockpits, I just believe there are other alternatives. Smaller debris pieces would also be beneficial for closed cockpits, as large pieces can always cause problems.

Kenneth Joyce's picture
Driver Safety AmbassadorUSAC Ambassador
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September 25, 2015

Sean,

Thank you for your post. I can tell you that a lot of work, thought and testing is going into trying to find an improvement that can be implemented to protecting the drivers from debris. Many issues come into play and if you read the article in Racer discussing this with JR Hildebrand he does a great job of breaking it down from an Engineers and a Drivers point of view. Here is a link. http://www.racer.com/indycar/item/121744-indycar-hildebrand-calls-for-sc...

I do believe that a design is being worked on to add a tether to the front nose assy for the Indycar Series in 2016. That would mean that the rear wing/crash box and rear beam assy, all 4 corners, and the front nose box assy would be tethered.

Thank you for your post. Look forward to hearing from others with there thoughts.

Ken

 

 

 

Seán Craddock's picture
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Joined: September 20, 2015
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Dublin, Ireland
Last seen: 3 years 8 months ago
September 29, 2015

Hi Ken,

Thanks for your informative reply! I had not read that article, and it gave great insight.

I'd like to see those tethers in IndyCar next year, certainly something for the future.

Sean

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