Could Closed Cockpits Work On F1 Cars?

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After the horrific crash that left the 25 year old French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi seriously injured, there have been questions as to why cars can't have a cockpit.

The previous incident about improving cockpit protection was when Felipe Massa was injured when a spring from Rubens Barrichello's car hit him during qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian GP.

Massa's incident happened only a week after Henry Surtees was killed when a flying wheel in a Formula 2 race hit him at Brands Hatch.

Last winter, a few teams feared that the car would look too ugly if a canopy is installed on the cars.

Initial tests of a polycarbonate version canopy, like the ones on jet fighters shattered on impact tests, and an aerospace canopy flexed too much.

Charlie Whiting, F1 race Director said, "It is very difficult to find something that is strong enough to stop a wheel and allows the driver to actually drive the car without being adversely affected by the presence of this structure in front of him,"

"One of the things that surprised us during this research of throwing a wheel through a cannon onto the roll structure was that you would think that it [the wheel] would immediately bounce off.

"But it doesn't unfortunately. It continues because of the tyre deflection. It takes a long time for it to have upward motion beyond where it hits the roll structure.

"So that is the reason the structure has to be so high. We found it has to be 20 centimetres higher than the top of the driver's head, which makes it quite a big substantial structure.

"It is not simple - in fact research is still going on, and will continue to do so, until we find a solution."

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