Technical FIA testing forward roll-hoops

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
Autosport are reporting that the FIA are testing forward roll-hoops in the wake of the tragic accident which claimed the life of Henry Surtees:

These roll-hoops are supposed to deflect any large debris above the head of the driver, but it strikes me that these would have potential unforeseen consequences.

1. Driver's vision would likely be impaired - certainly it would be more difficult to see the track in front.
2. In the video shown, the rear roll bar is not included. Had this been there, the wheel would have likely hit the rear roll bar and impacted downwards on the driver's head!
3. (Correct me if i'm wrong), but this would not have affected the Henry Surtees incident, as this was a tyre bouncing down on his head from above.

However, had this been in place, it is possible that the Felipe Massa incident could have been avoided! As long as F1 (And all single seaters) remain open cockpit events, there remains a risk (albeit small) of an impact from a rogue piece of car!
I just watched it and it is ridiculous they lowered the nose of this years car to give the driver more vision and now they want to stick that monstrosity in front of the driver.

Oh well maybe they can mount the wing mirrors on it or something..
Those things have been experimented with in the roll cage structure of top-fuel dragster cockpits but even today they are rare. In fact, having just surfed the net for a photo I've failed to find one. Even so, it's one thing to have it on a car that only races in a straight line for a quarter of a mile with exclusive use of a lane. Quite another when racing in a field of 24 competitors around a circuit.

I also don't think the idea of shards of broken wheel and suspension parts potentially shooting through the hoop that has broken the wheel up, straight into the drivers face, are a particulrly good idea. After all we're talking about something to prevent a freak accident. Whilst a cockpit canopy might have helped, in neither case of Senna and Surtees, did the sad losses result from impacts that would necessarily have been prevented by the roll hoop under test.

As usual our boffins are taking a tunnel-visioned, linear, Newtonian approach and failing to look at the problem in a holistic fashion. Asking a few basic questions such as those alluded to in The Artist's and Meph's post above would have been rather sensible before expending resources on what is an inherently flawed test.
The last object (Apart from the tyre that killed Surtees which I don't think this contraption would have prevented) to hit a driver in the head was the Massa incident and that spring was an awful lot smaller than a wheel with a tyre on it, it would have been a miracle if this devise would have deflected it.

What are they thinking about the next thing you know they will be testing ejector seats...
I think in the case of Massa's accident, the forward roll hoop would have deflected the Brawn's spring, but again it's a very rare occurance. The problem is do we want to see an increase in the frequency of accidents as a result of drivers having their vision obstructed and thus the possible consequences of more and different erstwhile freak accidents.

Given the driver already looks through the equivalent of a letterbox are we sure this would obscure their vision any further? I think it's sensible that the FIA at least looks into the concept. This might not be the best design but it is at least a start to improve driver safety and to put some mesh across the front would stop smaller things, such as springs or nuts and bolts, coming through
I don't like the idea of these forward roll-hoops. To me they're ugly and take something away from open-wheel racers. Although I acknowledge the safety benefit they would bring against items such as tyres I think that we must accept that motorsport will never be completely safe and that there will always be an element of risk. Not to mention these roll-hoops will only protect a driver against large items such as tyres (not springs etc. similar to those that caused Massa's injury), however since the FIA pushed the strengthening of tyre tethers when was the last time we saw a tyre come loose?
...., however since the FIA pushed the strengthening of tyre tethers when was the last time we saw a tyre come loose?

You mean since a fortnight ago when Schumacher's came loose?

That was cheeky and a cheap shot but it demonstrates the stupidity of everyone relying on one thing working in every circumstance in general when it has been designed and tested to only work in one circumstance in particular.
It's like relying on DNA evidence as if it was fact when in fact the odds on it "proving" an identity are considerably shorter than the odds on people winning the lottery, and people do that every week at far longer odds.

That was a case of Schumacher's wheel not being fitted properly, not that it was damaged and came loose. With a wheel not being secured I think there is a significantly lower chance that it would hit a driver because the car is travelling at much lower speeds, although at the 2009 Hungarian GP when Alonso's wheel wasn't fitted properly it did come quite close to hitting him.

What I was asking was when was the last time a wheel came loose following damage?
I'm pretty sure Schumi's tyre stayed on due to the wheel nut being in the tyre or wheel or whatever part it's in, but I don't see how this idea could work
no-FIAt-please - can't remember specifically but surely there were one or two last year? Was Perez in practice at Monaco one of them? Or Massa in the race? I do remember last season pointing out to 'Er Indoors that the tethers are supposed to stop wheels going their own sweet way while the car (or the remains of it) goes another way
still convinced in my own mind that, if this is a serious proposal, the only thing that would work, sensibly, is something like a polycarbonate "windshield" - driver can see through it but it's strong enough, within reason, to deflect anything up and away from the driver's head - or at least to the crown of his helmet rather than bouncing the debris back down into the cockpit like a forward roll hoop would.
Don't they need a fundamental rethink of the whole driver's seating position? I watched a youtube vid last night on Rosberg's seating position and he's already talking about pretty poor driver visibility, surely welding a cage around the driver is only going to make it more difficult.
Top Bottom