Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Safety Matters

About Safety Matters

Everything in Formula One has advanced incredibly since the World Championship started. From the fitness of the drivers, to the performance of the cars, to the technological capability of the teams. Yet it is another advancement that means that F1 is suitable to be broadcast into our homes on a Sunday afternoon. Safety Matters takes a look at historical and topical safety developments that shape the sport and help safeguard those involved.

The answer is right there in front of them

F1 stalls for time on cockpit protection

Sidepodcast: The answer is right there in front of them

by Steven Roy

Formula One is always keen to portray itself at the centre of technical excellence that can resolve any technical problem more quickly and to a better standard than any other group of organisations. So I was disgusted to see the complacency emanating from the people who normally make these claims when they were asked on Sky about the reasons for not introducing the halo or any other form of driver head protection for 2017.

Health and safety in Formula 1: Tragedy and action

Reviewing the progress motorsport has made so far

Sidepodcast: Health and safety in Formula 1: Tragedy and action

by Christopher Wheelahan

Health and safety in a dangerous sport like motor racing can at times be controversial and highly criticized. It seems whenever an accident such as the one Jules Bianchi had several weeks ago occurs people bring out their torches and pitchforks and march to the doors of the FIA. But when looked at in the context of history, the safety of Formula 1 is something the FIA medical commission – particularly during the 1990’s and early 2000’s – can be extremely proud of. Yes, the accident in Japan was tragic but if this accident had occurred 20 years ago, we would certainly be mourning the loss of a young and rising star in Formula 1 rather than wishing for his eventual return.

Learning the hard way

A closer look at crash structures and marshal requirements

Sidepodcast: Learning the hard way

by Steven Roy

Each column that I have written in this series so far has been about a single subject. Unlike those this one covers multiple subjects. There have been two safety related issues that I felt I should comment on and a Safety Matters column is the obvious place to do it. Some of us live commented the Rolex 24 hours race at Daytona. During this race there was a huge impact when Memo Gidley ran into the almost stationary car of Matteo Maucelli.

Instinctive reactions

Learning lessons from preventable accidents

Sidepodcast: Instinctive reactions

by Steven Roy

We all know that motor racing is dangerous, if for no other reason than TV commentators constantly tell us that those words appear on every piece of paper from tickets, to programs, to notices around every circuit in the world. We know that death is, always has been and always will be part of racing. We know that marshals can die because we remember the deaths of Graham Beveridge in Melbourne and Paolo Ghislimberti at Monza both from loose wheels.

Sid Watkins, safety pioneer

The incredible work of a man at the forefront F1 safety

Sidepodcast: Sid Watkins, safety pioneer

by Steven Roy

Anyone watching Twitter when news of the death of Sid Watkins started filtering through will be aware of how popular he was with those inside and outside of the F1 paddock. The fact that so many drivers took so quickly to Twitter to express their gratitude speaks volumes about the man. There were tweets from drivers like Rubens Barrichello and Martin Brundle, who he had treated, but the tweet that registered most with me came from Alex Brundle.

Head over heels

With leg protection covered, it's time for F1 to pay attention to the head

Sidepodcast: Head over heels

by Steven Roy

For as long as I can remember I have been arguing that drivers' heads should be protected a lot better than they are. Everyone is familiar with some recent accidents where something came in contact with the driver's head injuring or killing them. Many of us will remember watching Felipe Massa's Hungarian accident happening live on TV when he was hit on the forehead by a spring. Now we have had María de Villota's testing accident where in a very low speed crash her head came in contact with the tail lift of a truck. Since the changes made to protect the legs of drivers have been such an overwhelming success we need to consider what could be done to make the heads of drivers equally safe.

Visibility - The simplest hazard, most often overlooked

From rain delays to washing up liquid solutions, visibility cannot be forgotten

Sidepodcast: Visibility - The simplest hazard, most often overlooked

by Steven Roy

There are many aspects that have to be considered when looking at motor racing safety. There are obvious things like the use of best possible barriers at the track edge, the structure of the car being designed to stand certain loads and the clothing and helmets worn by the drivers meeting the appropriate standards. One factor often overlooked though is visibility. It should go without saying that if a driver can't see clearly it is not safe for him to race. It should but experience tells us that often drivers choose to race or are put in a situation where they have no choice but race when visibility is horrendous.