F1 cars keep getting safer every year. Their carbon-fiber tubs have been strengthened to the point that they're nearly indestructible. Helmets and the HANS neck supports they're attached keep improving. Despite all this, there's still one principal weak point inherent to the design of a grand prix racer: the open cockpit.

If you've ever sat back and wondered why F1 cars stick with open-cockpit designs when drivers are injured – or narrowly escape injury – by airborne cars (or parts thereof) striking their helmets, you're not alone.

The FIA Institute is testing designs to potentially outfit future F1 racers with closed cockpits. The question is, what kind? Many Le Mans prototypes (like the Audi R18 and Peugeot 908) use curved polycarbonate windshields, but in its research, the FIA Institute also looked to fighter jets for their canopy designs. Follow the jump to see what they discovered.



I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 38 Comments
      Vettel
      • 3 Years Ago
      Felipe Massa's accident could have been avoided if he had one of these on the Ferrari chassis.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Vettel
      • 3 Years Ago
      Adrian Newey is absolutely drooling right now.
      stclair5211
      • 3 Years Ago
      Canopy now. Ejection seats later. Now that's racin'.
        fly by wireless
        • 3 Years Ago
        @stclair5211
        Meh... Call me when they get missiles.
        Clinton Blackbur
        • 3 Years Ago
        @stclair5211
        Check out the NASCAR Racers cartoon I used to watch as a kid. It was exactly this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASCAR_Racers
      Mike Pulsifer
      • 3 Years Ago
      With a closed cockpit, surely this means air conditioning, right?
      hondosan
      • 3 Years Ago
      i wonder if they considered the differences of the integral structura between the open and the closed cockpit. i wonder if the polycarbonate windshield would fare better if it was a closed design.
        jazzie604
        • 3 Years Ago
        @hondosan
        I agree entirely: it seems the integrity of a complete bubble is much higher than the cut off edge they used. Further testing is definitely needed.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @hondosan
        [blocked]
      BOB
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ouch, better duck.
      Rob Cook
      • 3 Years Ago
      Aside from the safety aspect I can only imagine what Adrian Newey is dreaming of with the aerodynamic possibilities of a closed cockpit.
      Easy_Eight
      • 3 Years Ago
      F-16?
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Easy_Eight
        [blocked]
      Henry Sichembe
      • 3 Years Ago
      racing is dangerous!!people will get hurt and even die!!because its racing!!iuuuugggghhh FIA you are killing formula one..you really are!!whats next?airbags??
        DrEvil
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Henry Sichembe
        Most moronic statement posted today.
        bluekurgan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Henry Sichembe
        Correct. Formula 1 is Formula 1. Stick with LeMans or Nascar for who cares, but don not try to make F1 a poor copy of something else. What do you have in mind for motorbike? Did you ever see they ha no real passive protection at all?
          Rob Cook
          • 3 Years Ago
          @bluekurgan
          Actually you can get a Honda Goldwing with an airbag now...
        pcdsim
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Henry Sichembe
        You're an idiot.
        Al Terego
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Henry Sichembe
        How would this affect F1 negatively as you so moronically suggest? I can only envision better safety if implemented properly and better aesthetics.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        FromageTheDog
        • 3 Years Ago
        Do you have any idea how expensive an F-1 car is? hummm?
        T-Mille
        • 3 Years Ago
        Safety is priceless. A professional racer's life is worth more than that canopy which could save him.
      Jim
      • 3 Years Ago
      Unlimited Hydroplanes made this very change a number of years ago, with a gigantic increase in driver safety. http://www.thunderboats.org/history/history0117.html
        Jim
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jim
        don't know why this drew a negative rating.
    • Load More Comments
    Advertisement
    2014 Jeep Cherokee
    MSRP: $22,995 - $30,095
    2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
    MSRP: $51,800 - $103,200
    2014 Chevrolet Cruze
    MSRP: $17,520 - $24,985