Alonso calls for closed cockpits rethink in F1 after Bianchi crash

Double Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso has led calls for a rethink over closed cockpits in the wake of Jules Bianchi's Japanese Grand Prix accident

Alonso calls for closed cockpits rethink in F1 after Bianchi crash

AUTOSPORT revealed earlier this week that F1 called off research into potential closed-cockpit solutions because of teams' concerns over the aesthetic of proposed protection structures.

The debate over F1 cockpits has reopened following the Suzuka crash that left Marussia driver Bianchi with severe head injuries last weekend.

Alonso thinks there is now no reason not to at least carry out further research.

"I probably tend to agree we should at least check and try or test the idea," he said.

"We are in 2014, we have the technology, we have aeroplanes and many other examples used in a successful way, so why not to think about it?"

The Ferrari driver cited his involvement in the dramatic 2012 Belgian GP startline crash as an example of a fortunate escape that highlighted the need for better head protection.

"All the biggest accidents in motorsport in the last couple of years have been head injuries so it's probably one of the parts where we are not on the top of the safety," Alonso said.

"Even in my case, in 2012 at Spa, I probably could have died there in corner one if it had been 10 centimetres closer to my head.

"If the technology is there available and there is the possibility I would not exclude [closed cockpits] for sure."

Felipe Massa, who suffered a life-threatening head injury when hit by a detached spring from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn in 2009 Hungarian GP qualifying, agreed with Alonso's stance, while admitting that a closed cockpit might not have helped Bianchi given the nature of his impact.

"I totally agree with Fernando - it would be interesting to try to work on that possibility," said Massa.

"Definitely for my accident, it would have been perfect. For Jules, I don't know."

World champions Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button both pointed out that the scale of aesthetic change that closed cockpits would involve would have major implications for F1.

"I've got sort of mixed feelings," said Vettel. "For F1 cars since the beginning of F1, and open-wheel racing, [open cockpits] is one of the things that is very special.

"On the other hand, as Fernando has touched on, there are a lot of reasons to look at closed cockpits for the future."

Button added: "There are positives [with closed cockpits] obviously in terms of a safety point of view.

"But this is F1, it has been open cockpit since the start of time so it's a very big change for the sport to make."

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