What Does It Take to Keep an F1 Driver Safe?

F1 Driver

Formula One racing is a popular sport all over the world. While it’s not easily accessible to the everyday person, it’s a sport that many people love to watch. However, it can also be an extremely dangerous sport. Incidents in Formula One racing have led to brain injuries, paralysis, and even death for some unfortunate drivers. The safety requirements for F1 have changed over the years, and they’re still changing. It takes a lot to protect a driver when they’re in the cockpit. Have a look at how drivers need to protect themselves and what the FIA says to understand more about it.

Clothing

Clothing worn by Formula One drivers must be flame retardant. They use a material called Nomex. It’s lightweight and undergoes rigorous testing to ensure it’s up to the job. It must withstand ten seconds of 300 to 400 degrees Celsius heat without igniting. Modern suits worn by Formula One drivers have a range of features and materials. Apart of Nomex, they use a thread like the industrial thread from Superior Threads. The suit has to stand up to temperatures of 600 to 700 degrees Celsius, including its zip and any other components. They also have robust straps on the shoulders which can be used to list the drive and the seat out of the vehicle in an accident.

Helmets

Protecting the head is one of the most vital parts of safety for F1 drivers. Some of the worst accidents in the history of Formula One have resulted in head trauma. If it hasn’t led to a fatality, it has caused serious and permanent consequences for the driver. So helmets are a vital part of the race and have been compulsory since the 1950s. They have changed a lot in that time. Helmets need to be lightweight so they don’t add too much weight to the driver’s head and neck. They are tested rigorously and must be strong and resistant to fire. Since 2011, they must have a strip along the top of the visor to improve its impact performance.

F1 Driver

Vehicle Design

The design of the vehicle is also vital to the safety of the driver. Because head and neck injuries are still a huge concern, one of the changes to vehicles is very recent. The FIA is introducing a new device to help prevent injuries. The “halo” design leaves the cockpit open but is designed to stop debris and tires from hitting the driving. It will be introduced from 2017. Other elements of vehicle design have been in place for longer. The cockpit must be a certain width to aid escape, and the seat must not be fixed onto the car. Seatbelts must be a six-point harness, releasable with one hand. Cars must have fire extinguisher systems and accident data recorders. There’s a lot that goes into making an F1 car safe.

 

Safety rules for Formula One drivers have changed a lot over the decades and continue to do so. The sport is much more enjoyable for everyone when more is done to protect the drivers.

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