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Cockpit safety to improve in 2008

David Coulthard and Alex Wurz tangle in the Australian GPDavid Coulthard's and Alexander Wurz's campaign to force through better cockpit protection next year in the wake of their crash at the Australian Grand Prix has been successful, can reveal.

Concerns that the current head protection was not completely adequate were raised after Coulthard flew over the top of Wurz's cockpit in Melbourne - narrowly missing the Austrian's head.

The incident highlighted where improvements could be made, and stirred up Coulthard and Wurz to push technical chiefs and the FIA to make improvements as soon as possible.

Coulthard said in the immediate aftermath of the incident: "Inevitably in these situations it is when it is brought home how easy it would be to have a serious incident, then it moves up the importance list.

"When I spoke to (Williams co-owner) Patrick Head after the event, he suggested it was a couple of years away before they might look at doing something.

"But maybe now it could be possible to have an improved cockpit protection for next season already, so this is something to be discussed and agreed and we, as the GPDA (Grand Prix Drivers' Association), can only encourage them to do that and see what the result is."

Following lengthy discussions between think tank, the Technical Working Group, and the FIA, sources have revealed that the plans for further raised cockpit sides to improve protection for drivers have now been signed off for 2008.

It has not yet been confirmed what the exact specifications of the new cockpit sides will be, but the GPDA is understood to be happy with the outcome of the talks between the teams and the FIA.

GPDA director Mark Webber told "It will be great for us. If you look at someone like Tonio Liuzzi, he is not getting the support that he needs, and I am borderline as well. There are a few guys that don't get the protection.

"Both the guys involved in that nasty accident in Australia, Alex and David, were the two guys pushing it very hard. David obviously felt something had to be done after sliding across the car, and Alex felt the same after having an F1 car pass his visor."

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