Formula 1 drivers are asking for closed cockpit designs by 2017 to help reduce deaths and injuries during racing. This comes after the deaths of Jules Bianchi and Justin Wilson, which have prompted a renewed interest in increasing head protection for drivers. Currently, cockpits are completely open leaving drivers open to serious head injuries. The design currently sitting at the top of the list is one suggested by Mercedes-Benz. It includes a halo-style bar that wraps around the driver’s head with a minimal reduction in visibility.
Research into this design is promising, but it goes nowhere without approval. According to Motorsport, Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) chairman Alex Wurz hopes approval will come this Friday during a regularly scheduled FIA meeting.
The new halo bar requires structural changes to vehicles, but leaves the chassis alone. Wurtz believes the one-year lead time is more than enough time to allow for modifications of cars. This isn’t about racing faster, but racing safer, so hopefully approval will come soon and we won’t be seeing so many stories of F1 drivers being hurt.