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.