F1 to introduce new safer side impact system

Robert Kubica survived a massive crash in his BMW Sauber during the 2007 Canadian GP

Robert Kubica survived a massive crash in his BMW Sauber during the 2007 Canadian GP

Formula 1 drivers will have greater protection next season from side impacts at oblique angles, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) said on Monday.

The Paris-based body said in its AUTO journal that a new side impact protection system was the result of a year-long collaboration between teams – McLaren, Mercedes, Marussia and Red Bull – and its own institute.

Research consultant Andy Mellor told the magazine they had gone “back to basics” in looking at the side impact structures, using Robert Kubica’s huge 2007 crash in Montreal as the reference point.

Current systems use crushable tube structures attached to the side of the chassis but these can break off during oblique impacts.

The new version uses carbon fibre tube structures fitted to each side of the car which do not shatter on impact but progressively crush and decelerate the car in a controlled manner.

The FIA said that the teams had agreed to introduce the system next season at a technical working group meeting in May. (Reuters)

Subbed by AJN.

  • Spartacus

    Improving the safety of F1 cars can only be a good thing. I’m surprised, however, that the side impact protection would easily (relatively speaking) break off.

    Max Mosely likes to take credit for safety in F1, but he was critical of Jackie Stewart who was really one of the first people to call for and have improvements made to track safety. It’s really Stewart’s work that we don’t see drivers hurt every race weekend.