F1 is tough enough for Indy's Turn 13

Formula 1 cars are strong enough to withstand an accident at the Indianapolis Grand Prix circuit's ultra-quick, banked Turn 13, according to BAR chief designer Malcolm Oastler

F1 is tough enough for Indy's Turn 13

According to simulations, Turn 13 - Turn 1 of the oval run in reverse - will see speeds of around 200mph for between four and five seconds, putting prolonged high stresses on the tyres and suspension components. But Oastler, who designed winning Indycars for Reynard, before switching to the company's F1 project with BAR, says that F1 cars should survive an impact as well as a purpose-built Champ Car.

The safety standards set by the FIA, the sport's governing body, are extremely high, but both Ralf Schumacher and Alexander Wurz have been injured in testing this year when suspension components have intruded into the footwell.

"These [Formula 1] cars now are just about as strong as an Indycar," he said, "and they've got good headrest protection. The sidepod isn't as long, but we've got side impact structures, so I don't really anticipate a problem if somebody hits the wall."

Drivers say that the corner should be flat for everyone, but a mechanical failure, tyre problem or contact with another car could spell disaster.

However, the potential for tyre or suspension failure has also been minimised. Bridgestone has drawn on its Champ Car oval experience (with US brand Firestone) and designed a tyre especially for Indianapolis, while the teams say that F1 suspensions are already designed for equally high loadings at corners such as Eau Rouge at Spa-Francorchamps.

Turn 13 at Indianapolis is already taking on a near-mythical status. Adam Cooper takes a closer look in 'The Challenge of Turn 13'.

To read feature click here.

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