Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Maranello, 2009

Better cockpit protection expected for 2014

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe says improved cockpit protection is “inevitable” for F1 cars.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

New head safety planned for 2014 (BBC)

“After the race in Belgium, Lowe said he thought changes could be made in time for 2014. ‘We started the project a year ago,’ he said. ‘We’ll see. Personally, I think something is inevitable because it is the one big exposure we’ve got.'”

Romain Grosjean sorry for causing huge crash in Belgian Grand Prix (The Guardian)

“I accept my mistake. I misjudged the gap with Lewis. I thought I was in front of him. It was a small mistake, but a big incident. I’m very sorry, and I’m just glad nobody is hurt. That’s the main thing.”

Hamilton tweet ‘an error of judgement’ (Autosport)

“One rival team boss told Autosport that it had been ‘gold dust’ for his engineers in understanding the performance of the MP4-27.”

Schumacher still a true fighter, says Vettel (Reuters)

“It doesn’t matter where you get Michael on the circuit, whether you’re fighting for first place or 15th, he will fight like hell which is great to see. He hasn’t lost it. It obviously makes it hard for you but it’s always a great challenge. It’s very close with him but always fair.”

Paying the penalty (Sky)

Mark Hughes: “Pastor’s accidents really do seem to be triggered by ‘red mist’ – in high stress situations, he seems unable to control his emotions. His incident with Grosjean in Australia can be written off as just two hard racers being uncompromising with each other. But banging wheels with Sergio Perez in Monaco practice this year or with Hamilton at Spa last year, barging back onto the track and into an accident with Hamilton at Valencia this year: these are all red mist incidents. It means that when he makes a genuinely innocent misjudgement, like his blocking of Nico Hulkenberg in qualifying on Saturday, he is penalised.”

Spa, Stewards, Standards and Safety… (The Buxton Blog)

“The only answer, as far as I see it, is to start parking drivers. Just as they have with Grosjean. You want to make a racing driver think about his actions? You want to hit him where it hurts? Don?t make his wallet lighter. Don?t make him start a few places back down the grid. Just show him how it feels to sit at home and watch a race in which he should be taking part.”


Comment of the day

Some great additions to the Belgian Grand Prix Stats and Facts from @Andae23:

No German driver started the race from the top nine. This is the first time this has happened since the 2003 Japanese GP: in that race, Heidfeld started from only 11th. Frentzen, Michael and Ralf Schumacher started from 12th, 14th and 19th respectively.

This was Raikkonen?s sixth podium of the year without a win. That means that if he doesn?t pick up a win this year, he will have the most podiums in one season without a win since himself in the 2006 season. In 2006, he scored six podium, but didn?t win a single race that year. The record for most podiums without a win in one season is Button in the 2004 season and Barrichello in the 2001 season (ten podiums).

Pastor Maldonado hasn?t scored any points in the seven Grands Prix following his victory in Spain. This is the longest drought for a race winner since Giancarlo Fisichella in 2003. Following his race win in Brazil, he didn?t score a point in the next eleven Grands Prix.

From the archive

The huge crash at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix evoked memories of some of the other huge first lap shunts seen in F1 before. Here’s ten of the biggest:

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

Jack Brabham scored his third and final world championship victory on this day in 1966.

He became the first and, so far, only driver to win the championship in his own car, driving a Brabham-Repco BT19. He retired just seven laps into the race but when championship rival John Surtees dropped out 24 laps later, Brabham’s title was assured.

Here’s some footage from the weekend, though little of the race, which saw Ludovico Scarfiotti score a dream win at home for Ferrari:

Image ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

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  • 117 comments on “Better cockpit protection expected for 2014”

    1. They need windshields and wipers for 2014.

      1. And closed rear wheel covers. (Would’ve prevented the entire incident!)
        Although this has been discussed enough in one of the posts over the summer break.

        1. Indy Car has at least shown that it prevents a number of incidents, though by no means does it stop them all. At Long Beach, Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal still had a coming together which had a scary moment of one climbing over the other’s car.

          Still, I’m with you in that I think it’s now time to introduce them into F1.

      2. Nah. They just need the satnav and 4kph limiters we saw on McLaren’s latest TOONED episode ;)

        1. Yes! And run the races in reverse!

        2. What’s stopping them from integrating a display screen in the cockpits with SatNav? It’s already a reality in road cars.

    2. I expect the first corner crash to be a catalyst for better head protection. Aesthetically, this is surely going to take time to get used to. However, it’s been a stinking point in F1’s otherwise great safety measures for quite a while I think…..

      1. @mike I began typing up a long winded opinion, but you phrased my exact thoughts much more succinctly! It will be very interesting to see what the designers and engineers come up with that doesn’t inhibit driver visibility and/or emergency bail outs. I expect that we’ll be seeing cars that will definitely take some getting used to come 2014.

        1. With regards to ‘better cockpit protection’ – it’s been in planning in testing for some time now, so I don’t think it’s a knee jerk reaction to the Spa crash, and the FIA have set the safety standard for the helmets, HANS, and safety cell at a very high level, we have to assume they will set a similar standard for any changes they make to cockpit protection, and trust they will mandate the most best solution. I’m sure the aesthetics will take lots of getting used to, and may well upset many fans, but the complaints that the FIA would receive asking why the cockpit safety was not improved sooner (if somebody died) would be much worse than the complaints they would receive about ugly cars.

          1. If it gonna look like this:
            I wont be worried about aesthetics :D

            1. I suspect they’ll go for the roll hoop solution, Just because it allows the viewer to still see the drivers head. Something that F1’s popularity rides on top off. It’ll probably end up look like a cabin with no glass I expect.

      2. In terms of head protection, Jack Brabham’s solution looks like a very elegant one: http://i51.tinypic.com/wl7p86.png

        I think I’d get used to something like that quickly.

        1. Thanks for posting that, I didn’t know he used one! Something like that could be a good compromise, as long as it’s designed with enough open space for the driver to get out/be removed easily. Visibility could be less restricted than with pillars. I’m sure it’s possible.

      3. Air Conditioning specialists will be on demand if they opt for closed cockpits in 2014, in case of AC failure, it will be a major problem for the driver.


        1. I reckon something like Newey’s GT5 concept would look awesome. I think this would not be the case if everyone was still trying to use raised noses in 2014 but if I remember correctly the FIA will be regulating to drop the nose height? If so the closed cockpits should look ok. I always liked the look of the Caparo T1 with a closed cockpit, and back in 2000 Gordon Murray drew his idea for a no-rule F1 car in Motorsport magazine which featured, amongst other things, a gas turbine engine, closed cockpit and wheel covers – very similar to Newey’s first version of his X2010… and that looked great as well.

          I reckon they’ll look fine. Could they be any uglier than the 2012 cars???

          1. I’m quite certain the FIA will try to force the noses down. As that was their intention for this year…

    3. The batak machine is pretty tough. I’d love to buy one for my room and have a go every morning. Surely the score on that image for Alonso reads 50 hits in 21.9 seconds. This guy seems to be doing quite well then:


      great machine to have.

      1. Thanks for the video, I was wondering how it worked. I’m probably better at Whack-a-Mole.

      2. No, it is 219 hits in 50 seconds.

        1. look at the video I posted and then tell me.

          1. Sorry my mistake :)

      3. My middle school in England used to have one of these, and I was one of the best four in my year, so I got to be part of the team in an inter-school competition. I can’t remember how much time we had, but I remember being disappointed with my performance in the competition, because I only managed 29 despite averaging around 32 in practice. I think our team came third overall. Not quite on the level of Alonso or the guy in that video, but we were only ten…

        [/random Batak story]

    4. “I accept my mistake. I misjudged the gap with Lewis. I thought I was in front of him. It was a small mistake, but a big incident. I’m very sorry, and I’m just glad nobody is hurt. That’s the main thing.”

      He still doesn’t get it. A small, mistake.. If i press the nuclear warhead launcher button for being careless.. oops its only a small mistake. If I pull the gun trigger,.. Sorry it was a small mistake, I thought there was no one in front of me…. waaaaahhh…

      1. So would you rather he was like Maldonado and refuse to admit he’d done anything wrong?
        The fact that he apologized and accepted the penalty reflects very well on him – he knows he messed up.
        And honestly, it was only a small mistake. He isn’t the first driver to cut across another car and clip it, only this time the consequences were unfortunately very large. Hopefully this will calm him a little in future first laps so this scenario isn’t repeated again.

        1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
          4th September 2012, 17:46

          He apologised only after he was banned and i imagine after receiving a damn stern talking to from the stewards about how what ever his story was it wasn’t washing. During the race he was sitting on the lotus pit wall watching the accident from every cars onboard and then told lee he hadn’t seen it, that’s not in anyways shape or form noble infact i’d say it’s entirely ignoble.

      2. I think he gets it. It was a small mistake (a stupid one as well) and it had big consequences like he said.
        At least he’s admitted it was his fault and apologised for it, unlike a certain driver whose made similar mistakes and never taken the responsibility for it.

      3. @maksutov you’re right it sounds exactly like that.

      4. On the contrary, the fact that he says “a small mistake, but a big incident” surely suggests that he *does* get it.

        1. .. surely suggests that he *does* get it.

          …..That remains to be seen.

          1. Was seen, as he acknowledged the seriousness of the crash by using the word “big”.

            I’ll let him know that next time he should provide the reporter asking a question with an essay to explain his response fully, as to please @maksutov.

            In the end, in a chaotic start, it was a relativity minor error. Not only have we seen drivers do that before, but we have seen them do it on purpose.

      5. He definitely gets it, didnt you see his face on TV, in the pits, right after he got back to the pits?
        He knows, he knew right away it was his fault, its not a problem, the problem is his reflexes, his thinking while behind a wheel. But still, Maldonado is more dangerous.

    5. I suppose they could realistically raise the head protection to the same level as the top of the helmet.

      1. I’m assuming you mean raise the height of the bodywork around the drivers head so it is higher then their helmet? I think that could definitely work. They would need to change the mirror placement and a few other things as they would lose some of their periferal vision but it does seem feasible. And it would be more aesthetically pleasing than the other solutions.
        Only downside I can see is that it won’t help with a front on impact.

        1. They wouldn’t necessarily lose a lot of peripheral vision- that depends where it rises from. And I’m not sure the mirrors would be a problem either. After all, the sides are already raised a fair amount, and the mirrors as they are now look around rather than over them, don’t they?

          1. Hmm your probably right. In my head I’m picturing it like a “u” with their head at the bottom and the sides around 10cm in front of their helmet for extra protection.

            1. I was thinking about it only being high for half of the helmet- from the edge of the visor back. It would still leave lots of the head exposed, but anything short of a cockpit will do the same.

        2. People get use to new looks easier than they think. Does anyone still feels bothered by ugly noses?

          1. The cars are still pretty hideous…

          2. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
            4th September 2012, 17:50

            this was a point i had intended to make after qualy. No one has made a comment about them since the season started you can hardly notice it during the races. If people are bothered by it they are obviously not moved enough to mention it anymore.

      2. I think I get it now, but when I first read:

        raise the head protection to the same level as the top of the helmet

        my first though was “How the hell would they be able to see if the cockpit was up to the top of the helmet?!”

        I realise now you didn’t mean the whole helmet. LOL.

        1. I realise now you didn’t mean the whole cockpit.

          * correction

    6. Watching the first lap crashes, there are so many caused by drivers being caught out by early braking of others or out-braking themselves. Would it be possible to run practice starts from drivers’ grid positions, prior to the race? Car leaves pits, does sighting lap, does practice start and another lap, then pulls up on a dummy grid further round the track, leaving the start/finish straight free. This dummy grid could be single lane affair, allowing cars on sighting laps to pass on the side of the track.

      It would take a lot of time and would impact on the overall race weekend, and the prospect of cars passing the dummy grid could be off-putting. But it could save a lot of risk in first lap accidents. Taking this up in other formulae would drag things out even more though. Just an idea.

      1. Or we could resort to something slightly easier: move the start-finish straight somewhere else. And by somehwere else, I mean somewhere the cars can space out, before a slow corner comes along.

        I imagine it wouldn’t be too much of a hassle for Spa, considering they have two :)

        1. Somehow I suspect that Eau Rouge as the first corner in F1 would do more harm than good.

          1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
            4th September 2012, 17:52

            building an entire new pits is not cheap especially for a track like spa which barely scrapes by as it is

          2. You do realize that Eau Rouge used to be the first corner right?

    7. Funny that Coulthard very nearly takes Wurz’s hands off — never mind his head — but largely nothing comes of it.

      Now something similar but many magnitudes less frightening happens to Alonso and within a day there’s articles about how the cars will probably be made safer.


      1. Someone wrote an article about it back in March 2007.

        1. Not saying nobody did, I just find the difference in reaction to be a bit amusing. As if Wurz is expendable but Alonso is a precious commodity.

          1. Well, that was effectively the first time there were concerns about cockpit safety in these type of accidents. The FIA did repsond with higher cockpit sides for the following season, but if you perceive the reaction to not have been significant, then it was probably since one case could have been shrugged off as a freak accident.

            Since then, we had Massa’s injury and Surtees’ unfortunate death, and the near misses of Schumacher and now Alonso, so it’s much harder not to be scared of these accidents, and hence the FIA have been looking over the last few years, and certainly now, at even more protection for drivers.

          2. Alex Wurz is actually quite vocal about cockpit protection, and I believe he’s involved with the FIA’s research into the proposition.

            Does anyone think that the lower noses have done anything to aid safety?

            1. Alex Wurz is actually quite vocal about cockpit protection, and I believe he’s involved with the FIA’s research into the proposition.

              That probably has something to do with the way David Coulthard very nearly decapitated him in 2007.

            2. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
              4th September 2012, 17:53

              certainly didn’t stop grosjean and hamiltons cars from flying.

      2. The current higher cockpit sides were introduced in 2008 as a direct result of Coulthard nearly scalping Wurz, but I see your point.

      3. Actually, I think the raised cockpit sides in 2008 were entirely down to that accident!

        1. Oops, should read the entire thread before commenting. What @lin1876 said!

          1. We’ve all done it!

    8. Perhaps a version of the Tumbler would solve this cockpit issue

      1. Tumbler racing. This is a sport I would watch.

    9. I think increasing the cocpit sidewalls by another 1.5-2 cm and bringing them forward by the same amount would be a good start for now. It’s not a huge change and could be slipped into the regulations for 2013.

      1. yes and eventually, after several years of this, we’ll end up with a closed cockpit anyway.

        1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
          4th September 2012, 18:06

          This is exactly why any sort of roll bar structure is not good enough because things will slip past drivers will die or be injured. Then people will say looks like we need another bar here and another one here untill they realise actually the only way to make it safe is to entirely enclose it.

    10. There’s no reason F1 cars couldn’t have nerf bars between the front and rear wheels like NASCAR modifieds. That would’ve prevented the Grosjean-Hamilton accident.

    11. Sauber pioneered the higher surrounds. Of course they had their own sad impetus. This kind of leadership is what can drive a changein safety. Who will step up now? Also I recall a lot of moaning about how this ruined the aesthetics of the cars. Now a car without them-older cars-look shockingly unsafe. Its important to remember how we even got that marginal step-a string of fatalities and shocking near misses. We don’t need another safety-martyr, just improved safety.

    12. I hate all this talk of better head protection. I think we should just leave the cars as they are. F1 is dangerous, we all know it. But to reduce that danger will surely take the shine off the sport we love.

      To see an F1 car go full throttle through eau rouge, the maggots and becketts curves or through the Monaco streets is utterly jaw dropping to see. Why is this? Partly it’s the sound, but mostly its because of the risk of danger why we marvel at these drivers with terrific skill and balls of steel!

      Don’t get me wrong, I never want to see anyone get hurt.
      I just feel that if you make F1 too safe then it would lose its appeal.
      Maybe, there needs to be more attention paid to respectful driving and improving the ability of drivers than to making modern f1 cars look like glammed-up Citroen C4s.

      1. I got your point.

        1. People were saying this in the fifties and sixties also. “why do we need seat-belts and fireproof overalls? wouldn’t that take away from the excitement and danger? why should we have runoff areas and cut down trees close to the track? After all, drivers know the risks when they race in F1. They accept it and we should admire them for their bravery.”

          Many people died because of those arguments. And people like Jackie Stewart were branded cowards for trying to change it.

          I think F1 shouldn’t hold on to a concept just for the sake of it. We shouldn’t insist on open wheel and open cockpit racing for the sake of nostalgia and because “that’s what defines F1”. F1 is about pushing the limits. Going ever faster. A closed cockpit and closed wheel arches (as pointed out by an earlier article by Kieth) would actually be more efficient and faster. why not allow teams to pursue that, and save some lives in the process. Its a win win.

          1. last time i checked, there hasnt been a death in F1 since 1994. Stop living in what-ifs, thats fantasy land. The fact is that living is dangerous. Nothing is “safe” especially grand prix racing. Lets just put them in bubble wrap and let the run the track, maybe that will be safe enough for you.

    13. thinking bout the protection of the cockpit, how would a windshield protect against a flying car like we just saw last weekend?

        1. Just in case: watch until the end, where the polycarbonate canopy is tested.

          1. That’s just a wheel, not a whole car though. And it doesn’t test it from the side, which is that angle that frequently matters.

      1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
        4th September 2012, 18:02

        650 kg which is the weight of an f1 car +driver is nothing in engineering terms i am positive that an enclosed cockpit could easily be made to withstand that. As far as i understand it that’s always been considered the safer option with the only question mark being how to get out quickly especially if the car is upside down.

        1. You obviously dont understand force, which is Mass TIMES Acceleration. Acceleration is Velocity SQUARED. Which means velocity times velocity. Mass isnt the determining factor on how much some shit is going to hurt when it hits you, how fast its going is. In case you havent noticed, F1 cars go fast.

    14. What about something like a diagonal roll-bar that comes from behind the driver’s head and curves above their sight-line? that way there’s no obscured vision and they’re made safer from cars actually hitting their head. Or a combination of that and a roll bar in front of them that is wide enough that it doesn’t obscure much directly in front of the driver? Basically the’d be in something like an exposed roll-cage box put around the cockpit. This way it avoids the problems inherent in a closed cockpit by making it possible to squeeze through the openings in case they need to escape quickly, but still are still protected.

      1. I was thinking along those lines as well.

    15. Good to see Alonso is very fine

    16. Is it just me, or is Will Buxton the worst commentator/”journalist” going around in motorsport at the moment? His commentary is about more self-righteous & arrogant than I knew was possible from a human being. He loves to let everyone know his opinion (apparently people think his “opinions” are gospel, sadly) whenever there’s an incident & doesn’t stop short of being downright mean to drivers in his assessments — almost always entirely without reason or evidence to back up his view. He speaks like an armchair expert & I just can’t bring myself to read anything on his blog anymore. It’s always the same nonsense. My question is: why does he still have a job? :-P

      1. Are you sure you don’t mean Joe Saward?

      2. @damonsmedley, I haven’t been able to follow GP2 all the time this year and thus have not heard much of Will Buxton on tv, and I haven’t found time to read much blog posts by him, so I can’t say I disagree entirely.

        But the currently linked post seems to me quite reasonable, and right to me; pointing out how important consistency is, highlighting some incidents that were dealt with inconsistently to show what he means. And the bit about the FIA reasoning involving taking out championship contenders seemingly as a deciding factor in Grosjeans ban – this post at least rings quite true to me, doesn’t it to you?

      3. Sorry to bandwagon the comment, but if that in relation to that article that discusses the danger of F1. Who ever wrote that article must be a perfect candidate to be a member of Ministry of Truth in 1984.

      4. No, it’s not just you. Next to the commercial breaks, he’s my least favorite part of every SpeedTV F1 broadcast.

        1. TBH they are all over opinionated on Speed. All accept David Hobbs. The former engineer is a tool.

      5. @damonsmedley – I’m not a fan of his articles either.

      6. @damonsmedley I find him quite entertaining. I only listen to him for GP2 and GP3 but he does have some personality to him. He genuinely knows more about GP2 and GP3 than I do so I guess I don’t really get to argue his opinion much but F1 might be another story.

    17. On another note, it’s nice to see Romain accepting the unjust penalty like this. He’s showing a lot of maturity and bravery.

      I still have no idea what you’re talking about! Are you OK? Am I OK?

      I’m still upset about it though! :-P Another thing that annoys me about this penalty: it was identical to Suzuka 2011 where Sebastian Vettel came across on Jenson Button at the start. Seriously, absolutely no different in any way whatsoever. If Jenson had lost control on the grass and speared into Seb and an accident unfolded, would Seb have had a 1 race ban? I wish someone could ask the FIA stewards this and see if they can answer with a straight face.

      Seb didn’t even get a drive through because Jenson kept his car under control. But if you lose the car, the “squeezer” gets not just a drive through, but a ban. Some seriously… interesting logic going on here! The correct decision was not banning Seb. The correct decision would have been to not ban Romain.

      It’s a shame, but once again blatantly highlights my point: this penalty wasn’t about the offence, but the uncontrollable mess that came as a result of the offence, regardless of its severity.

      1. I still have no idea what you’re talking about! Are you OK? Am I OK?

        Ignore that bit. I seem to have somehow pasted something in from an email!

        1. Can’t resist:

          We have no idea what you’re talking about. Are you OK? :P

      2. Actually @damonsmedley, maybe the best action would have been to at least reprimand Seb for that action, and make sure he didn’t do it again. Consistently doing that to all drivers (and in all series) that cut across a lot possibly might have trained drivers to not do that so much, and hence prevent crashes like this …

      3. @damonsmedley

        I agree with that Vettel should have had some kind of a penatly or warning, either a fine, a drivethrought or a reprimand.

        But in Grosjeans case I think he was involved in many first lap incidents in his career, and he has been warned after Monaco, so a penatly was just, but I would have given him a penatly which makes him learn. This way he have to sitout a race then have another go at Singapore, but my ideal penatly would have been to make him start from the pitlane in Monza, 24th from the grid in Singapore, 17th in Korea, 10th in India, ofcourse only if he gets a time good enought for 17th or 10th. That way he would feel the consequences more, as he would lose ground in four races, not just one.

        I know this is not possible, because it would seriously set back Lotus in the WCC.

        1. @bag0 It’s upsetting, because I think someone said Grosjean has caused 7 first corner shunts this year, and everyone’s running with that. But it’s not true at all. He had a crash in Monaco but if anyone was to blame it was Alonso. Grosjean had three choices: either hold his line and crash with Alonso, veer left and crash with Schumacher, or brake and crash with everyone behind. It’s Monaco and it was an accident. Pinning any sort of blame on him for that is too harsh and frankly, completely wrong. This was the first accident of the season that I think he’s responsible for except for his spin which unfortunately collected Schumacher in Malaysia (where it was raining very heavily).

          1. @damonsmedley
            I didnt say he caused them, but he was involved. If he cant ‘survive’ the first lap without damage he is doing something wrong and he should accept SJS’s help, or maybe he would need a coach like Alonso, Schumacher or even Massa, because they know how to position their car into the first corner, and they are the best at it.

    18. “Pastor’s accidents really do seem to be triggered by ‘red mist’ – in high stress situations, he seems unable to control his emotions. His incident with Grosjean in Australia can be written off as just two hard racers being uncompromising with each other. But banging wheels with Sergio Perez in Monaco practice this year or with Hamilton at Spa last year, barging back onto the track and into an accident with Hamilton at Valencia this year: these are all red mist incidents. It means that when he makes a genuinely innocent misjudgement, like his blocking of Nico Hulkenberg in qualifying on Saturday, he is penalised.”

      I think that thsi is perhaps the most articulate, thoughtful and balanced assessment of Pastor Maldonado that I have seen.

    19. Everyone always seems to let the covered-cockpit idea relax until something extremely frightening happens. We have had the incidents regarding Henry Surtees, Felipe Massa, Dan Wheldon and Maria de Villota, two died and two nearly died. We keep needing remainders of the dangers of an exposed cockpit, and it annoys me that they let it happen..

      1. Good thing Indycars and Formula 2 have covered cockpits now after two fatal crashes. Oh wait…..

    20. I hope they open up the regulation at the same time, or at this rate they will be driving in sealed rubber cars with lawnmower motors :)

      Is it just me or it’s very weird looking at Grosjean/Lewis incident and then at Button/Lewis in Canada, hearing Button complaining? :) Would be funny if Grosjean pulled “a Button” and complained the same way after driving someone into the wall.

      1. He could not do that as there are some differences:
        a) it was lap 8 not the start
        b) rain compromises visibility
        c) Button did not change direction, and was ahead of Hamilton, while Grosjean started behind Hamilton and went for a gap
        d) at Canada, Hamilton chose the wrong side to overtake, hoping that his teammate would see him and get out of the way, at Spa Hamilton had no choice.

    21. @keithcollantine wrong day for Rubens Barrichello’s last win – it was 13th September… but Montoya took his penultimate F1 win in the 2005 Italian Grand Prix.

      1. Thanks I’ve replaced the On This Day with a correct one.

    22. The obvious answer is to fit highly sensitive proximity (parking?) sensors on the SIDES of the cars. These would help the drivers in close quarters situations and overtakes. They would add miniscule weight and help with the high cockpit blind spot. I doubt that Grosjean ( or any other driver) was looking anywhere but forward at the start – an alarm in his ear and a flashing steering wheel light may have caused him to turn away from Hamilton

      1. The problem with that though, is that in somewhere like Monaco or Singapore, where they go so close to the walls that they are actually kissing it with the tyre sidewall in some places, so on a lap of Monaco those proximity sensors would beep like a mad man all through the race which will distract the driver. Also, it might make the drivers dependent on those sensors, so the day one driver has had a small incident and its been ripped off the car, or a technical glitch means it doesn’t work he might sideswipe another car.
        But I agree that something has to be done about the huge blindspots they have on their side. They simply don’t know whats in there.

        1. Take your point but at Monaco they could blank them or maybe tune them – anyway no one gets alongside at Monaco unless they are having a crash!!!?

      2. lol maybe they should have spotters as well like NASCAR.

        the way of the world today is blind overreaction by armchair experts

    23. I’m no gold miner, is gold dust good or bad? As in could they learn lots about the McLaren or not?

      1. Its very valuable, but if you sneeze, its gone!

      2. @julian
        I think it means it is valuable, but too little information.

        The only things I could read out is the rideheight (?), and the speed data: HAM had 292ish at the end of kemmel straight without DRS, while BUT is nearing 305kph also without DRS, and that they only used DRS in the 2nd and 3rd sector on those particular laps, and HAM had 314-315kph before the bus stop while BUT had about 320kph.
        The valuable information comes from comparing the two rearwings, as HAM had the high downforce wing and BUT the low downforce wing. Other teams can see where the Mclaren improved, and exactly how mutch that upgrade worth, but it wont give any developement advantage for another team. (Only if I read it right)

        1. Ahhhh awesome. Thanks to the both of you :)

        2. You don’t need anyone’s telemetry traces to measure precisely his speed and accelleration at a given point on the track. Ride-height, maybe. But I doubt that the teams are just guessing about rivals’ ride-height, chassis rake, camber, toe, or anything else physically observeable. It was foolish for Hamilton to post the sheet, but it’s value is trivial. It’s not like it tells you what gas McLaren is using in its tires.

        3. What about wing angle. If a car is setup for higher downforce, the wing angle plays a big factor. The data is completely meaningless to anyone. Last year they had almost exactly the same speed differential or more and they were running the same wing but setup up for different amounts of downforce.

    24. I don’t know if this point has been raised on here, but I will say it anyway. I spoke about this on my twitter:

      It is all well and good saying that we want better head protection for drivers, with one of the more feasible options being the “roll-cage” type protection. Yes, this would help the drivers from stray wheels etc. However, if this had been implemented for this season the consequences could have been a lot worse on Sunday. The roll cage is very likely to have penetrated Grosjean’s car. From this, a number of things could have happened: Grosjean’s car split in two; his car could have been span around into Alonso’s cockpit (which, as I’m sure you agree could have resulted in the worst); or rolled Grosjean’s car. Now, this obviously wouldn’t be the case if they didn’t have the “roll-cage” type head protection. But, if the F.I.A do decide to go ahead with this type of head protection, they need to ensure that there is no potential harm to a driver’s cars if they go over the top of another’s…

    25. F1 will never be the same once the enclose the drivers. I for one am very sad to see this happen. No one wants to see drivers hurt but people do want to see them taking risks, it’s what separates them from us. As an F1 fan for 30 years i think i will lose interest in the sport.

    26. No, its 219 hits in 50 seconds!

    27. Call me an idiot, but I think the cockpits should stay as they are.

    28. Their is truth in the the Maldonado article. Let’s not forget that three of his penalties this year have been gearbox related, which he has little or no control over yet is still penalised. Fundamentally he is a good driver and I’m confident he will snap out of his occasional red mist. Williams do seem to be on the up again and from next year maybe he will have further confidence in the team so he doesn’t need to push quite so aggressively.

    29. If anything, the Hamilton ‘twitter’ fiasco, in my opinion, will prove more damaging to Lewis than it will McLaren. Can anybody imagine what would have happened has this occured at Red Bull or Ferrari? I seriously doubt they would be so forgiving, nor would they be keen to have such a driver in their ranks. Many will scoff at this, especially when one thinks of Fernando Alonso’s track record at McLaren and at Renault. However, Alonso’s career has only become stronger since 2007 while Hamilton’s has floundered. Since becoming champion in 2008, Hamilton has not mounted a single championship charge unlike Fernando this year and in 2010. And I think Hamilton is starting to feel this!
      I take nothing away from his talent, he is very gifted, but its his attitude. If his attitude were in tune with his driving talent, he would be a real force and that is the sad aspect of Lewis at the moment.

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