Closed F1 cockpit ridiculous idea says Mika Salo

Mika Salo (FIN). Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Preparations, Monza, Italy, Thursday 8 September 2011.Sep.6 (GMM) Ex-Formula One driver Mika Salo has slammed suggestions that F1 should put a roof over the drivers’ heads.

The calls for better cockpit protection follow the terrifying first-corner crash at Spa last Sunday, when Romain Grosjean’s flying Lotus came close to making contact with Fernando Alonso’s hands and helmet.

It has emerged that the working group in charge of looking into F1’s options is likely to approve some sort of forward roll-hoop or canopy for the 2014 rules.

“I think the idea of a closed cockpit is ridiculous for Formula One,” Salo, now a commentator for the Finnish broadcaster MTV3, said.

“Actually, it would no longer be Formula One, it would be (sports car) prototypes.

“In my view it’s not a good idea to panic after an accident, especially when nothing happened (in terms of serious injuries),” the former Ferrari and Sauber driver added.

Subbed by AJN.

  • Matthias O’keeffe

    It is ridiculous for you, but we are more concerned about the safety of the driver’s head..

  • Jody Renza

    Totally agree with Mika…F1 is about open cockpits & wheels. Just have a look at how ridiculous the current Indy Cars look today. The sport will have deaths & that’s part of racing….My vote: NO!!

  • JVBS

    i agree…it will be a feeder series to LMP~` what a joke

  • Kimi4WDC

    I have to agree with Mr.Salo. This safety thing and need to control everything is getting out of control (funny eh? :)), people in charge seems to forgotten the essence of competition and pre-occupation with everything around racing but racing it self kicking the common sense out of their skulls.

    Sucks, Bernie can no longer put his foot down and tell the teams and partners how it’s going to be, now he have waste time, energy and his enthusiasm to please all the moaners and very people who are now shaping Formula 1 and got close to zero clue what it is about!

  • kaka007

    why everbody are not thinking the other way around.. everybody except guys like mika are saying closed cockpits are necessary for safety reasons but if that closed cockpit frame gets stuck in case of accidents or fires , then i’m sure driver will die of fire burns or due to the smoke they won’t even be able to breath, etc……

    take the case of alonso at spa last weekend. alonso waited a few moments after the crash inside the car . but he said due to the smoke coming he couldn’t breath so he jumped out immediately

  • McLaren Fan

    I will add my agreeance to comments by Salo, JVBS and Kimi4WDC. Now Matthias O’keeffe; in the same spirit of sport you are saying no to all open cockpit racing, next it will be Elf & Safety madness no swimming without Oxygen tanks no diving no sports at all as you may get hurt best not watch tv bevause it may damage your eyesight, don’t cook you may get burnt wait don’t eat you may choke were does it end.

  • Adey

    I agree with Mika Salo completely – If you don’t like open-cockpit racing then choose to race in a closed-cockpit racing series. F1 is, and always should be, an open-cockpit racing series. End of story.

    If F1 wants to lose all it’s fans to the next level down, then sure – go ahead. What a ridiculous knee-jerk idea and reaction from people who have lost sight of what they are doing!

  • Robin

    As a fan that follows different forms of auto racing I agree with Mika, we already have seen enough ugly F1 cars in the past few years. But I believe that these rule changes aren’t made because fans demand no fatalities (and thus safer cars). It is the general public, and probably the sponsors, that demand that sport/entertainment is fatality free. Nowadays deaths are not acceptable, it is not the 60’s and 70’s anymore, and if there is a possibility that fatalities can be avoided then the sport should do everything to make that possible. So in a sense what I’m saying is that it doesn’t matter what we the hardcore fans, commentators, reporters, etc. think what acceptable risks are for the sport it is what the general public thinks what acceptable risks are for a sport in general, and I know that deaths are not acceptable if they could have been prevented!

    And we must not forget that in the last 5 year we already had at least 2 situations that could have been less serious if we had canopies (I’m talking about the Massa accident in Hungary 2009 and the death of promising racer Henry Surtees (also the son of F1 and motorcycle legend John Surtees)). And I’m sure that if we look at the American and Asian series we can find more examples of serious injuries that could have been prevented if formula cars had canopies (Dan Weldon maybe…).

  • Matster

    Thing is the car hit the nose of Alonso’s. It’s been overexaggerated because it was Alonso involved. There have been much close incidents before (Wurz, Coultard aus 07 and Schumi Liuzzi Abu dhabi 2010) and no one was hurt. (Coultard was an inch from Wurzs head!)

  • McLaren Fan

    @Robin:
    I notice you do not include the accident involving Maria de Villota now that is one accident were a forward roll hoop would have made a difference.

  • Robin

    @McLaren Fan

    You’re right and I’m ashamed to admit I’ve completely forgotten about Maria de Villota. That was a terrible accident and it’s absolutely true that with a roll hoop or a canopy she wouldn’t have lost her eye. I don’t know how other F1 fans have experienced this accident but as a racing fan I’ve had to do a lot of explaining to my colleague’s on what the situation was with that accident. These colleague’s, who are not racing fans, had a very hard time accepting that things like this could happen to someone who was only ‘training’ for her sport and not even in competition. In general people had a very hard time accepting that in car racing these kinds of risks still exist! (With some even saying that things like car racing or motor racing should be forbidden because of these inherent risks)

  • Joe

    finally a sane voice has stood up, canopies and roll hoops are a stupid idea, this will no longer be formula 1 if they do this, while improving safety is a good thing, it cannot be at the expense of the essence of the sport, you might as well just go and watch sports car racing. Racing drivers know the risks when they get involved, and fortunately due to safety advances the risk of serious injury in Formula 1 is now very low, but of course there is an always will be an element of danger. The fire in the Williams garage is one example, if the car starts smoking and then this closed cockpit fills with smoke, you have just swapped one risk for another. Maybe add more wheel tethers to reduce the chance of wheels flying all over the place, the essence of a sport should never be removed

  • grat

    While Maria de Villota’s accident was a tragedy, there shouldn’t have been a truck liftgate in a position for her to collide with.

    Fernando was in more danger from the shaking and bouncing than he was from a flying Lotus.

    Maybe F1 cars should have blind-spot sensors instead.

  • McLaren Fan

    @grat:
    My god there is someone else who thinks that Marussia still have to answer for that act of “Negligence”. And you are correct in the sideways motion could have given him worse injuries akin to punch drunk.
    @Robin:
    I was not being negative towards your statement but I was pointing out that is an unusual accident that may have been avoided by the forward hoop, but also one has to remember Maria had the new helmet visor which can take a mighty impact like Massa had.
    But in my honest opinion the truck should have not had the tailgate at head height and it should have been far away from where it was. And the other thing is she may have been trapped with the extra structure.

  • Derek Diez

    The F1 car’s rigid frame driver supports and safety regulations are all in place and are enough. I think a canopy wont do any good either, the drivers, the teams, the fans know all the risks, and at speeds over 350kmh, with or without a canopy an accident can be fatal. that’s the thrill of the sport!

  • Disgusted with 2012

    We now live in a stupid universe where folks jump around solving for imaginary threats. We must make accommodations for every possible threat, under the guise that an injury to just one individual is unacceptable? This is fallacious logic. The proposed cage concept has already been stated to be ineffective in stopping Massa’s injury or Senna’s death, but it might have prevented a GP2 incident like Surtees, or a wheel shot from a canon? Seriously? What about the risks involved with vision restriction, trapping drivers, or delaying escape? Meanwhile, the closed canopy creates a wide range of new safety issues and adds weight to the cars (which is a safety issue). So, all that is being proposed is transference of risk from one box to another, not a solution at all. But, that’s what happens when reactive over-reach takes precedent over reality.