Max Mosley has backed the use of canopies in motorsport
Former FIA president Mosley says canopy could prevent deaths and injury
World governing body FIA has been testing their effectiveness
Mosley reacting after death of IndyCar star Dan Wheldon Sunday
Former Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) president Max Mosley is championing the introduction of added safety measures in motorsport following the death of IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon in a multi-car crash on Sunday.
Mosley, 71, supported the idea of using a canopy to cover the open cockpits of IndyCar and Formula One vehicles, in an attempt to prevent a recurrence of the fatal collision at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The FIA Institute tested the possible use of jet fighter canopies in motorsport earlier this year, by using a high-power cannon to fire at the polycarbonate shield at 225 kilometers-per-hour to see if it could withstand loose debris on a race track.
Mosley said a canopy could help stop accidents like the one experienced by F1 driver Felipe Massa in 2009, when a spring fell from the Brawn GP car of Rubens Barrichello and struck the Ferrari driver in the head leaving him in a coma.
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“I think it could work,” Mosley told CNN. “We get occasional incidents like the spring which hit Massa and the wheel which came off in Formula Two and killed John Surtees son Henry.
You’re always in danger, in an open cockpit, of objects striking the driver— Max Mosley
“You’re always in danger, in an open cockpit, of objects striking the driver … It might also help, if it’s reinforced with another roll bar, in things like the Dan Wheldon accident. But that’s something that needs careful investigation.”
On the canopy test, Mosley said it was an example of the FIA’s continued commitment to improving driver safety.
“It’s an example of constantly trying to find things that will reduce the probability of an accident, or an injury rather. Accidents are always going to happen; it’s the injuries we want to avoid.”
Despite backing the potential use of a canopy, Mosley warned such a device could benefit the car aerodynamically and potentially cause further accidents.
“One of the troubles is that it would probably make the car quicker, which is just what we don’t want. But there are other means of slowing them down.
“There are a lot of objections to canopies, how do you keep them clean? How do you get somebody out in an emergency? But all of that will be looked at by a technical working group if it turns out the thing would protect the driver better.”
Mosley went on to back the FIA, expressing his confidence the organization will continue researching how to further protect racing drivers.
“What I do know is we’ve got some very clever people, looking full-time at these problems. All aspects, everything from the driver’s helmet, to his clothes, cockpit protection, all the different things that can save them in an accident.”