• Williams

Smedley backs closed cockpits in F1

ESPN Staff
October 7, 2014 « Mosley calls Bianchi crash 'a freak accident' | GPDA warns against 'knee-jerk' Bianchi reaction »
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Williams head of vehicle performance says closed cockpits would be "very easy to implement" in the aftermath of Jules Bianchi's serious accident at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Bianchi suffered severe head injuries after leaving the track in heavy rain and hitting a recovery vehicle on lap 42 at Suzuka. Closed cockpits have been on the agenda since Henry Surtees was killed by a bouncing wheel in a Formula Two race six days before Felipe Massa suffered a fractured skull from a spring which came loose from Rubens Barichello's Brawn at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix.

The FIA has conducted experiments with cockpit canopies in recent years and Smedley thinks it is a measure F1 should consider.

"From a technical point of view it's something very easy to implement," Smedley said. "It would change the look of Formula One cars, which I guess there is an aesthetic argument for. They are open-wheel, open-cockpit racing cars.

"It's something that we've looked at in lots of the Technical Working Group meetings. It's something that has all come about from 2009 when Felipe had his accident. It's something that we've looked at and something we've been back and forward with. It's not a closed [topic]."

Smedley says he personally would have no issue with the argument closed cockpits would raise about the nature of F1 cars compared to previous years.

"Does it change the formula a little bit? I think if you look at how a Formula One car looks in 2014 compared to how it looks in 1950 when the championship started, they don't look very similar to be perfectly honest. So whether or not the aesthetics is an argument or not … certainly not one for me. Maybe for other people.

"There's cars that do 24 hours in Le Mans in the dark and I've been to quite a few races there where it's rained quite heavily. I'm sure the very clever people who design those cars have got round that problem [of visibility]. Again, I don't think that's a really strong argument."

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