Jules Bianchi crash: F1 closed cockpits easy to implement - Smedley

Williams performance chief Rob Smedley says it would be technically straightforward to introduce closed cockpits into Formula 1, should the sport decide to in the wake of Jules Bianchi's accident

Jules Bianchi crash: F1 closed cockpits easy to implement - Smedley

Marussia F1 driver Bianchi suffered a serious head injury after crashing into a recovery vehicle in the closing stages of the Japanese Grand Prix.

The sport has repeatedly discussed introducing cockpit surrounds on cars, since Felipe Massa suffered his own serious head injury during qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian GP and Fernando Alonso had a fortunate escape at the start of the 2012 Belgian GP.

Formula 1's governing body the FIA has conducted experiments with cockpit canopies (pictured, below) and Smedley said it would be a simple process for the sport to introduce them.

"From a technical point of view it's something very easy to implement," Smedley said.

"It's something that we've looked at in lots of the technical working group meetings and we've been back and forwards.

"Whether that would have made a difference to the accident that Jules had, I've got no idea.

"We don't know how strong anyone's car is in that type of accident. It is a freak accident."

Introducing closed cockpits would re-open debate over the fundamental nature of F1 cars, but Smedley said he would have no issue with them.

"It would change the look of Formula 1 cars, which I guess there is an argument for - they are [currently] open-wheel, open-cockpit racers," he added.

"Does that change the formula a bit? I think if you compare the cars in 2014 to the cars in 1950, when the world championship started, they don't look very similar.

"So whether aesthetics is an argument or not, it's certainly not one for me; maybe for other people."

NO KNEEJERK REACTIONS

New Grand Prix Drivers' Association chairman Alex Wurz said it was important for the sport to properly analyse the exact circumstances of Bianchi's accident before making any fresh safety demands.

"None of us wants an accident like this and the FIA has always put safety as priority," Wurz said.

"I am part of some of the research groups, I know how much effort these people are putting in. It never stops.

"I'm not currently [demanding more safety]. What I have learned over the years, [is that] this is the not the conclusion when you don't know all the facts."

shares
comments
Jules Bianchi crash: Jacques Villeneuve wants F1 safety car changes
Previous article

Jules Bianchi crash: Jacques Villeneuve wants F1 safety car changes

Next article

Japanese Grand Prix driver ratings

Japanese Grand Prix driver ratings
The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff Plus

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

OPINION: Although the central building blocks for Mercedes’ recent, long-lasting Formula 1 success were installed before he joined the team, Toto Wolff has been instrumental in ensuring it maximised its finally-realised potential after years of underachievement. The 10-year anniversary of Wolff joining Mercedes marks the perfect time to assess his work

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate Plus

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

Alpine’s signing of Pierre Gasly alongside Esteban Ocon revives memories of a famous all-French line-up, albeit in the red of Ferrari, for BEN EDWARDS. Can the former AlphaTauri man's arrival help the French team on its path back to winning ways in a tribute act to the Prancing Horse's title-winning 1983?

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021? Plus

How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021?

OPINION: A system to score all the grands prix from the past two seasons produces some interesting results and sets a standard that 2023 should surely exceed

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022? Plus

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Who was the fastest driver in 2022? Everyone has an opinion, but what does the stopwatch say? Obviously, differing car performance has an effect on ultimate laptime – but it’s the relative speed of each car/driver package that’s fascinating and enlightening says ALEX KALINAUCKAS

Formula 1
Jan 30, 2023
Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return Plus

Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return

He has more starts without a podium than anyone else in Formula 1 world championship history, but Nico Hulkenberg is back for one more shot with Haas. After spending three years on the sidelines, the revitalised German is aiming to prove to his new team what the F1 grid has been missing

Formula 1
Jan 29, 2023
The potential-laden F1 car that Ferrari neglected Plus

The potential-laden F1 car that Ferrari neglected

The late Mauro Forghieri played a key role in Ferrari’s mid-1960s turnaround, says STUART CODLING, and his pretty, intricate 1512 was among the most evocative cars of the 1.5-litre era. But a victim of priorities as Formula 1 was deemed less lucrative than success in sportscars, its true potential was never seen in period

Formula 1
Jan 28, 2023
Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss Plus

Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

OPINION: Fred Vasseur has spent only a few weeks as team principal for the Ferrari Formula 1 team, but is already intent on taking the Scuderia back to the very top. And despite it being arguably the most demanding job in motorsport, the Frenchman is relishing the challenge

Formula 1
Jan 27, 2023
The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Plus

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2023