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Is closed cockpit the open wheel future?

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hcisneros's picture
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Is closed cockpit the open wheel future?

Is this what we should expect for the future of open wheel?

Renderings credit: http://dansanfy13.com/

 

hcisneros's picture
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October 9, 2014

Williams chief: F1 should consider closed cockpits
http://motorsport-safety.org/single-new/?title=Williams chief: F1 should consider closed cockpits

Closed cockpit could be an option in future
http://motorsport-safety.org/single-new/?title=Closed cockpit could be an option in future

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November 15, 2014

while it would provide 100% more protection, all I can say is....yuck. Not saying yes or no to it at this time, but I don't have an issue with whatever series doing what they feel is needed to protect the drivers. 

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To answer the question; yes. It is what we should expect from the future of F1 and Indy. It's really what we should have expected from the past.

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March 23, 2015

Great. But they call that imsa prototype. Just like when you put a closed cockpit in a dragster, it's called a funny car. Don't go bat sh*t crazy demanding closed cockpits while there are still 200mph motorcycles racing around. It'll just make you look like sissies. Besides, when was the last time a death occurred as a direct result of an open cockpit and not simply incredible blunt force trauma as a result of sheer speed and collision force? Rich Vogler 25 years ago, in a midget?

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As our thoughts and prayers are with IndyCar driver Justin Wilson this evening, the subject of the exposure of a drivers head in any open cockpit racecar is now at the forefront.
A "Zylon" helmet visor guard may be a start but, not the total solution.
In the morning, the argument over the tradition of open cockpit formula cars vs. the safety of a driver, will be debated.
I believe a serious look into closing the cockpits of any or all Formula or remaining LM class Prototype race cars has come, and needs to be addressed into future designs, ASAP.

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August 24, 2015

I was just listening to ESPN News debating the issue. We have had two drivers in less than a year suffer head injuries now in formula cars. I can't remember which driver it was yesterday but the comment I saw on twitter was closed cockpits still allow for tradition to continue, and if we are trying to make the sport safer I agree whole heartedly. To me a formula car is still a formula car, closed cockpit or not. The debate has been a more recent one in Formula 1 after Jules Bianchi's accident, and I think that any person that calls themselves a "fan" who says they will stop watching F1 or Indycar if they go to an enclosed cockpit isn't truly a fan. The car may not look as slick or "sexy" as before, I agree, and I've always liked open cockpit racing, but I agree with most that its time to change. As a motorsports community we want to make sure everyone comes home at the end of the day.

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I believe the nextgen IndyCar isn't till 2018.
This gives them time to develop technology, but is time truly on their side, especially in this circumstance.
LM Prototypes are thinking forward, and moving foward to close cockpit design throughout all divisions by 2017.

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August 25, 2015

I hope everyone thinks about this before reacting. First there is the issue of mitigating the immeadiate hazard that was not something expected or forseen. A method to tether the nose to the tub should be the reactive safety measure. The proactive would be to convene a study committee to take a look at the issue of revising the Open Wheel Car design to incorporate some type of canopy or other device to protect the driver from being exposed to airborne debris or objects. Remember that many people resist change. The NHRA drivers that use the canopy were not real comfortable with it in the beginning. Now, the ones that use it will not drive without it. While open wheel driver buy-in is important, I think this is clearly a top down decision. I support the revisions or plans to implement canopies on all open wheel cars as it is my opinion that it would greatly improve driver safety and mitigate an unacceptable risk.

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I'm not seeking any type of knee jerk reaction to this.
NHRA has added carbon fiber to the sides of the cockpit, along with their canopy.
Hydroplane and Dragboat racing have developed canopied/carbon fiber monocoques into their designs, with the addition of being watertight for buoyancy.
Its just time for F1 and IndyCar manufacturers to join those who design LMP cars and adapt sooner than later.

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Theres a lot of engineering and science thats going to go into adding canopies and I agree with Danny, the appropriate response is how can we modify the current cars to ensure that the nose cone doesn't become detatched. FIA Institute has several videos on Youtube with crash tests of various safety devices including jet fighter canopies. I think they started that research after Felipe Massa's accident in 2009.

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March 21, 2016

I am pretty certain that Alonso would not have been able to get out of the car in Australia yesterday if one of those things would have been on the car, not without help.

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Formula One closed cockpit concept designs by Dutch designer Andries van Overbeeke as part of his "Echoes of a Nearby Future" series. http://www.theverge.com/2015/7/29/8822041/closed-cockpit-f1-concept-car-open-wheel-racing

 



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March 21, 2016

So Alonso took a wild ride in Australia yesterday and based upon the two pictures I could find, had a Ferrari style Halo be installed on the car, I am very certain that he would not have been able to get out with assistance.  There are two other types of Halos that I have seen that have a windscreen.  In the wreck yesterday those would have been destroyed and possibly filled the drivers cockpit with shards of whatever the material might be and possibly cause injury to the driver.  I am all about improving driver safety, but the Halo is all the wrong answer.  

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March 21, 2016

Tough to say since we couldnt really see him get out. However, a simple fix is to extend the height of the roll hoop and that will maintain the same available escape space as before. Theoretically the roll hoop is designed to always have the car rotate to its side to aid easy escape but being trapped against a wall is a different story. 

I must say say that seeing Alonso fly through the air and bounce on the gravel head down, I argue the halo would have provided much needed frontal impact protection from debris which is more important in preventing death than a quick escape. If you receive a blow to the head, you will be passed out (or worse) and will not be able to pull yourself out. Having a halo will give you a better chance to be conscious.  

 

 

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March 26, 2016

To me, the only thing that Alonzo's crash shows is that he was perfectly fine, after a scary incident, with an open cockpit.  No need for a canopy, or halo.  Thankfully.  

 

With a closed cockpit, he would not have been able to exit the car on his own as easily.

 

With a carbon-fiber "halo", he probably still wouldn't have been able to extricate himself so easily.  And with the way that CF breaks into sharp pieces on a hard impact, a crash like this could potentially send shards of CF into a driver's aorta.  Not likely, but possible.

 

Also, a "halo" probably would not have prevented Massa from being hit in the helmet by a spring.  If a driver can see through whatever is supposed to be there to protect him, then a random object can make its way through that space.

 

Racing is a game of inches, and angles.  No way to cover all potential outcomes.  Doesn't mean we shouldn't try, but knee-jerk reactions are not the answer.

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April 3, 2016

A valid point is mentioned here. What would the structural integrity of the halo be in an incident like this. Alonzo mainly crashed and rolled in soft gravel, versus asphalt or cement. Has the FIA considered this angle of integrity when an accident like this occurs, or just its role in driver protection from debris?

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