F1 teams rejected "ugly" closed cockpit solution in 2013

Formula 1's top teams rejected a move by the FIA last year to introduce closed cockpits because they felt the structures would make cars look 'shockingly' ugly

F1 teams rejected "ugly" closed cockpit solution in 2013

While Jules Bianchi's accident at the Japanese Grand Prix has served to re-open the debate about drivers having better head protection, it has emerged that FIA efforts on improving safety in this area were put on the backburner nearly 12 months ago.

After work on closed cockpits by the FIA ramped up during 2012, the governing body came up with the idea of a roll structure solution in front of the driver.

However, AUTOSPORT has learned that last October, during a meeting of F1's Strategy Group, the FIA made clear that if it was to continue expensive work on making closed cockpits a reality then it needed the support of teams.

According to the minutes of the meeting that was distributed afterwards, leading F1 figures involved in the discussion - including Bernie Ecclestone, Red Bull boss Christian Horner, then McLaren chief Martin Whitmarsh and then Mercedes boss Ross Brawn were all against it.

While accepting there were safety benefits from having an extra roll structure around the driver, they all agreed that the looks were not fitting for F1.

Horner was quoted as saying the cars looked 'shockingly bad' while Whitmarsh said they were 'shockingly ugly'.

The teams agreed that F1 was about open-cockpit racing and the roll hoop solution - which Whiting said was the only closed cockpit concept that the FIA believed could work - was not an avenue that they wanted grand prix racing to go down.

The minutes of the meeting noted: "It was agreed that the project should be discontinued."

While a roll cage solution is beneficial in certain situations - especially in deflecting objects heading towards the driver - it is unclear how much of a help it would have been in the kind of impact that Bianchi suffered.

Bianchi's car speared off the track and ran head first underneath the overhang at the rear of a heavy recovery vehicle.

The French driver's family issued a statement from Japan on Tuesday revealing that he had suffered a diffuse axonal injury.

shares
comments
Extent of Jules Bianchi's Japanese GP crash injuries revealed

Previous article

Extent of Jules Bianchi's Japanese GP crash injuries revealed

Next article

Gary Anderson: The lessons of Suzuka

Gary Anderson: The lessons of Suzuka
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble
The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again Plus

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again

Driver-turned-DJ Jaime Alguersuari lost his love for motorsport when he was booted out of Formula 1 just as he was starting to polish his rough edges. Having drifted from category to category then turned his back on racing altogether in 2015, he’s come full circle and is planning a return in karts for fun

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Plus

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Plus

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well-aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead on pace. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent Plus

Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent

While Japan's fever for motor racing is well-documented, the country has yet to produce a Formula 1 superstar – but that could be about to change, says BEN EDWARDS

Formula 1
Apr 15, 2021
Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration Plus

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration

For too long, F1's richest teams have justified being able to spend as much as they want because that's the way they've always conducted their business. STUART CODLING says that's no reason not to kick a bad habit

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Plus

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is not guaranteed

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition Plus

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition

In 2017 new F1 technical regulations were supposed to add drama - and peg Mercedes back. STUART CODLING looks at the car which, while troubled, set the stage for the wide-bodied Formula 1 era

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021