In light of the recent accident that resulted in Justin Wilson’s death, the FIA plans on conducting new tests on safer closed cockpit designs.
Wilson was hit by flying debris from a single-car accident this past weekend during an IndyCar race at Pocono that unfortunately resulted in his death. As a result, there has been a renewed debate on the use of closed cockpits, which was first discussed seriously in 2009 following the crashes of Felipe Massa and Henry Surtees. In that accident, Surtees was killed when hit by a loose wheel while Massa suffered head injuries after being struck by a spring.
SEE ALSO: IndyCar Driver Justin Wilson Dead at 37
Over the recent years, FIA has conducted numerous tests to evaluate what works and doesn’t work with closed cockpits. Initial tests involved a fighter-jet style canopy that had two main design issues: either the polycarbonate would shatter or it would launch debris high in the air, causing risk to spectators. The biggest concern with closed cockpits, however, is how they would delay drivers in getting out of a vehicle in the case of an accident or would cause a delay in how quickly a medical crew could attend to a driver following an accident.
The newest concept consists of using “blades” around the front of the cockpit that would ideally deflect debris while allowing a driver to easily leave the cockpit if necessary.