Drivers expected to get extra protection from debris

F1 Fanatic round-up

Posted on

| Written by

In the round-up: Charlie Whiting says it is “inevitable” F1 car design will be changed to protected drivers from flying debris.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

F1 head protection ‘inevitable’ (BBC)

“[Charlie Whiting] added that roll-over protection in front of the driver ‘is the most likely option in my opinion’.”

Mike Gascoyne via Twitter

“Dead line for payment for Force India passed and nothing received, not unexpected though, typical of Bob Fearnley, all talk…”

Pirelli: Unpredictability isn’t hurting F1 (Autosport)

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery: “In time the engineers will master what they are doing and, give it is a few more races, things will settle down. We had some indications in Spain that three or four teams had made some progress. We felt that was borne out with some of the results we saw.”

Williams’ finest hours (ESPN)

“Ten of Williams‘ best and most significant victories.”

Historic Grand Prix of Monaco 2012 (Veronnie85 via YouTube)

You can see some minor revisions at the chicane for this year’s race: the approach is less bumpy and the barrier Sergio Perez hit has been moved back.

Spanish Grand Prix video (F1)

Official race highlights video.

Formula One: It’s still anyone’s Drivers Championship (Unibet)

My latest article for Unibet.

Angry Birds joins Lotus F1 Team (LRGPTV via YouTube)

Lewis & Jenson Santander via Facebook

“Have you ever imagined what a London Grand Prix might look like? Lewis and Jenson have. The big day is 28 June.”

Comment of the day

Ferrari say Massa is going nowhere, but Mani517 isn’t convinced:

Motorsport is a place where statements are political, indirect and often meaningless. I don’t believe that Ferrari aren’t looking for a viable replacement right now for Massa. I bet, if there comes an opportunity that works out as they please, they would replace Massa even now.

I’m sure they don’t want a driver who can push Alonso on the other Ferrari (there are very few in the current grid to do that, and are very unlikely to end up in a Ferrari any time soon), but, I’m also sure they wouldn’t want a driver who is clearly under-performing – well below an average F1 driver’s standard. – to just hang around for the sake of their relationship, sympathy, influence or whatever that made them retain Massa for 2012 after his dismal 2011 season (compared to Alonso).

From the forum

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today.

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio won the Monaco Grand Prix for Maserati on this day 55 years ago, en route to his fifth and final world championship.

He had to pick his way through debris from a crash which started when early leader Stirling Moss went off at the chicane, causing Peter Collins to go off in his Ferrari. Mike Hawthorn then crashed into the back of Tony Brooks’ car and also retired.

Brooks kept his Vanwall going to the end, scoring their first podium finish, taking second ahead of Masten Gregory in another Maserati.

Here’s some footage from the race – keep an eye out for what looks very much like Bernie Ecclestone in shot at around the nine-minute mark:

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

48 comments on “Drivers expected to get extra protection from debris”

  1. Once again, I can’t say I agree with the MotD.

    This is Hakkinen all over again. Only difference is that Felipe is grossly underperforming compared to Mika. And even then I’m not convinced that anyone could do his job better at this stage.

    1. The only way we will know is if they replace him.
      Maybe they might even just do it for a few races and bring him back if the other driver isn’t going to do better.
      D’ambrosio looks like a good pick atm. They could still be waiting for Kubica to get back!
      Many forgot about him! :)

      1. Ferrari will not directly replace a driver who got injured with another driver who got injured.

      2. We’re unlikely to see another driver come in part way through the season and provide a challenge for alonso anyway, due to the fact that it would take quite a while for a new driver to get used to how the Ferrari handles. While it would be a good opportunity for some of the drivers, both the new driver and Ferrari would probably prefer a change between seasons to allow the new driver to get up to speed so that neither of them look silly (as would be the case if they replaced massa and then were similarly off the pace, albeit due to lack of experience with the car)

    2. MOTD isn’t coming back until August. You mean COTD.

      1. This is brilliantly funny…..

    3. @-pamphlet i don’t get the Hakkinen reference :(

      1. @pejte Hakkinen had a horrific crash at Adelaide in ’95. They had to perform an emergency tracheotomy on him on the track before they could even send him to the hospital. This is, as far as I know, by far the biggest reason why McLaren gave him the absolute #1 status on the team in the Hakkinen-Coulthard days.

        1. After seeing that crash i’m happy that today’s drivers have the hans device, aside from the other safety features.

          About the reason for him receiving the #1 status at McLaren, i have no idea about the reasons, but i’ve allways considered him a better driver than DC.

        2. Why wud McClaren give Hakkinen the number one status becuase of his crash in Adelaide. that makes no sense. you give number 1 status to a driver for their driver ability.

          1. I agree. I think what many people draw upon is that the events of Adelaide 1995 brought Mika Hakkinen and then McLaren boss, Ron Dennis, closer together. I remember Murray Walker spouting about this around the time Hakkinen won his two championships. Nearly losing Mika and the emotion that came with it meant that Dennis would never have the same professional relationship with David Coulthard.
            You are dead right, McLaren realised that Hakkinen was the better driver and it was the right decision.
            In 2007 everybody said that McLaren supported Hamilton more than Alonso because Lewis is British. If that were the case, then why didn’t McLaren back Coulthard? It all comes down to results and money, and in Hamilton dear old Ronnie stood to make a pile of dough. Thats the difference.

  2. @keithcollantine great collection of videos for the round up. Keep up the great work on the site! That onboard of the Historic at Monaco has got my blood racing again… Bring on next week!!!

    1. 14:40 in that video. Is that a driver going in the sea after the chicane?

      1. Collins, apparently, on lap 4. V. nice video.

    2. Mark (@marlarkey)
      19th May 2012, 13:45


    3. scuderrari
      20th May 2012, 2:03

      i like the onboard video of the historic monaco above than today’s f1….

  3. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    19th May 2012, 0:47

    Hopefully Whiting is just taking a page out of Bernie’s book on how to implement an idea. The forward roll hoop is the worst idea I’ve seen proposed in recent memory. I can’t imagine having 30-60% of a driver’s view blocked by roll hoops would make the racing any safer. Plus there is the aesthetics of it…

    1. Maybe making it out of some kind of perspex or something? If all its designed to do is deflect debris it wouldn’t actually need to be THAT tough

    2. It seems pretty clear to me that the rig shown was for measuring loads from, for example, a wheel impact as shown in the article’s video. It would have to be robust enough to survive an entire test program, not a single impact. A design for a more practical roll hoop could then be made based on these loads and would be designed not to affect the driver’s view (because that would be silly).

    3. Clearly you have no idea about what the workd prototype means.

      1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
        19th May 2012, 9:21

        It’s working prototype. And generally working prototypes are identical to what’s intended to be produced.

  4. Bah you had me playing spot the Bernie for 2 minutes with that video. Are you talking about the short guy talking to a taller man? Cos he’s got a beard.

    1. I was the same. cudn’t see him at all

  5. Archie (@)
    19th May 2012, 1:30

    Watched sky sports F1 show this evening which showed a video from qualifying last weekend of Shumacher purposely going off track to park his car horizontal across the track infront of hamilton. I would hate to imagine would would have happened, had hamilton not been able to avoid him.

    Always surprised to see such an immature action from such an experienced and respected driver…

    1. Archie (@)
      19th May 2012, 1:35

      I struggle to see how the FIA thought this was a minor incident?

  6. The ’57 Monaco GP footage is awesome! I’ve never seen this before. Some very cool camera locations that we don’t have now, plus we get to see Stirling Moss hanging around the garage in his swim trunks!

  7. Hembery keeps talking around the subject, the problem is not that we are having different teams and drivers winning races, that is good, but it has happened before when the tyres lasted the whole race.
    The problem is that we cannot have 2 drivers engage in multi lap battles for position despite all the reductions in the size of wings and other exotic aerodynamic techniques mandated by the FIA for the sole purpose of bringing back car on car battles where ” the driver makes the difference”.
    We have the most equal field of cars we have had in years, we should be seeing great car on car racing, instead we are getting strategy battles, tyre conservation and increased reliance on DRS and pit stops to pass.

  8. Drivers in the Top Fuel category of the NHRA use a rather tall clear windscreen that from the front is higher than the top of the helmet yet is open to allow the drivers access into and egress out of the chassis and is designed to for the most part push the 330 MPH winds over them and not onto them. Resolves most debris issues and I believe that it would have kept Massa from getting hurt. Doesn’t block the drivers vision and you can still tell who is behind the wheel. The FIA should look into this solution…

    1. Eleanore (@leucocrystal)
      19th May 2012, 3:28

      Just googled to get a look at what you mentioned, and that actually looks more promising than other suggestions I’ve seen, at least in theory. Not being familiar with NHRA though, I’d then ask this: how are the drivers situated in the vehicles? F1 drivers are about as close to horizontal/lying down while still sitting as it’s physically possible to be, which is why visibility is so tricky. Anything further added to a car, even a seemingly innocuous windscreen like that, would need to take their position into account, I think.

      1. You are right about the body posistion. TF drivers do sit with their backs more upright than an F1 driver. I don’t think that should make much of a difference. The idea is how to force debris from striking the head of the driver and with further analizing you will see that the TF drivers head or helmut fit into a roll cage that protects most of the head area except the face.The driver sits down and then pushes his head back into this “roll cage ” area. The wind screen then becomes the defelecting factor.

        With the current Grand Prix car this type of application could work. Note the raised sidepod areas are meant to reduce lateral head movement and the TF rollcage has their own version of it but is more protective because it then covers then top and sides of the exposed driver helmet area. Cool that you looked at this , check it out again and watch a driver get into and out of an Dragster.

        Besides the Top Fuel Dragster is also a really amazing piece of machinery and travels a 1000 feet in 3 seconds at over 330 MPH. Nothing on earth that a man drives is faster.

  9. ***BREAKING NEWS*** Revised 2013 regulations state that all chassis must be made entirely of fluffy marshmallows. (I’m not cynical at all. Or sarcastic.)

    I appreciate the notion of increasing driver safety, and if an alternate system can prevent repeats of the awful Henry Surtees incident then I’d 100% welcome it… but a roll-hoop right in-front of the driver? Yes, safety measures have improved leaps and bounds ever since the days of Sir Jackie Stewart’s rallying cries in 1966. He was doing it for the drivers. The FIA are just doing it to protect the “business”.

    1. I also saw that article and with Williams in particular now having Graham Crackers and Hershey Chocolates as sponors they should become a favorite place in gthe paddock for late night snacks.

  10. I’ve said it a bunch of times before and I’ll say it again. F1/Indycar/Other series want better driver protection? Then they need to look to their Sprint/Midget brethren.

    1. @fisha695 that doesn’t fix the “Felipe Massa at Hungary” kind of accident. It just works as the roll-hoop in current cars.

      The only way to make it almost 100% safe, imo, is adding a sort of roof like in Le Mans or a full windshield in front of the cockpit. Which is a shame in terms of tradition, but in terms of safety, it looks like the simpler and best solution.

      1. We can’t see it so can’t help but is is a bit of a mystery sometimes.
        1 point somebody helped me with is that the word often used to describe the layout of tyre plies on non radial ply tyres is a no no in any context.

    2. Those are for roll-over protection, rather than debris protection. The ones that are racing on sealed tracks don’t have the wire mesh included, as they don’t encounter quite so many big chunks of clay or the random rock that has worked it’s way to the surface of the track as dirt races do.

      Also, the speedway solution is rather unsophisticated. Can you imagine an F1 car built with intricate bits of carbon fibre shaped precisely for aerodynamic performance having a bunch of steel tube and fencing attached.

      The test that was performed was only to test impact loads from a tyre collision. This is only so they know to what specifications to design their solutions.

      1. Put Carbon Fibre vinyl wrap over the tubes and 99.99% of the audience wouldn’t know that they weren’t CF l0l

        Some of the Pavement cars have the debris screens (and some run lexan windscreens), it really depends on series/track regulation.

  11. In the onboard video of the Historic Monaco GP you can clearly see how much further backwards the barriers have been moved at the chicane after the tunnel. Good work!

    1. um, didn’t see the line after the video :P Heh!

    2. And you can also see there’s a massive building under construction on the left-hand side of the track just as they exit the tunnel. That was great footage, by the way. I watched the whole thing!

      1. Anyone know what that building is/will be? And will there be more like that, blocking the classic camera shot from across the harbour to the chicane…

    3. will those big concrete circles on te chicanes not be lethal

  12. if they go to hoops or something else, why bother with the anachronism of open wheeled, open cockpit cars at all?

  13. Ferrari would need a driver who can perform just a little bit off Alonso to not threaten him, but to be capable of winning when Nando ain’t there, and also someone who can take good points so it can count towards the constructors. Why do you think Ferrari had Alonso almost winning the 2010 champ but have Ferrari finish behind McLaren in the constructors?

  14. That Angry made little sense! Should be cool nonetheless though.

    Initially I was against the thought of some sort of canopy protection or forward roll hoop but I think I’m warming to the idea. I can’t see how they can sufficiently protect the driver without impairing their vision or creating another problem when fixing one but i guess that’s why they’re developing it. It’ll be interesting to see how/if it develops. However, at the risk of sounding nonchalant, these safety boffs need to factor in that driving a car around at 200mph is inherently unsafe anyway.

  15. I’m very umimpressed by the moving back of the tyres at the Nouvelle chicane. Perez’s accident was perfectly forseeable (having happened before) and is pretty much the biggest test that that chicane has had. The result of this side-on 150mph shunt was the driver being knocked out for a bit and missing the next race; to be thoroughly expected, and surely a vindication that the worst-case accident for that particular chicane wouldn’t be fatal. They’ve flattened the road out to make it less of a lottery in the braking zone; something which inherently reduces the risk of a perez-crash too.

    But apparently that’s not enough. The moving back of the barrier means that the powers-that-be have come to the conclusion that the “old” configuration was too dangerous to keep. This means one of two things:
    a) For the past umpteen seasons no-one has bothered assessing one of the most obvious crash-zones in F1, and this perfectly forseeable and predicatable non-fatal accident has suddenly awakened somebody to something that should have been addressed many many seasons ago
    or b) one bad accident has caused a knee-jerk response in something which has proved perfectly acceptible in the past, opening up new safety risks and loss of recovery-area for the sake of nothing.

    Both if these reflect badly on F1’s safety policy in my eyes. And I’m also not in agreement that Perez should have sailed straight back into the racing line at 150mph at the exit point of a slow chicane. Ofcourse I can have absolutely no idea whether or not this has been thought of by people who are paid for it, but I’m not looking forward that on the first lap.

  16. I don’t want to see drivers get hurt, i’m still haunted by Senna but i personally think the cars are safe enough now. It’s sounds silly i know but head protection, covering or a front roll bar, will degrade F1 immeasurably. Just look at Indy car, the cars look like half racing car, half sports car and as such my interest has gone in that series. I really hope the FIA drop this idea and look more to creating better helmets/visors for drivers.

Comments are closed.