Top F1 drivers open to idea of closed cockpits

Monza (Italy), Sep 4 (IANS) Leading Formula 1 drivers Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button have said they are open to the idea of closed cockpits for their safety in the tracks.

Research on the topic has been ongoing for years but the subject has been revived after IndyCar driver Justin Wilson passed away in a crash in August, reports on Thursday.

World champion Lewis Hamilton said: “I see closed cockpits as potentially the future. We have had too many fatalities.”

McLaren driver Fernando Alonso spoke in favour of closed cockpits.

“If one closed cockpit saves one life, it is worth doing it,” Alonso said.

Wilson’s crash, in which the 37 year-old Englishman suffered fatal head injuries after being hit by debris, was the latest in a series of deaths or major injuries in recent years in open-cockpit racing cars.

F1 driver Jules Bianchi died in July nine months after colliding with a recovery vehicle in the Japanese Grand Prix.

IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon was killed in 2011 after his head hit debris fencing.

McLaren driver Jenson Button said: “It is time. I am one of the people who have always said it is an open-cockpit formula, but I do not care about that anymore.”

“It has been too much over the last couple of years. We have lost some amazing talent in the sport,” Button said.

“Growing up, watching, it has always been open-cockpit, but sometimes change is the way forward. We have got to make some changes,” Hamilton said.

“Drivers have been really unfortunate but maybe it does not have to be closed. There are different mechanisms we could have,” he added.

However, Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg said he was against the idea.

“Obviously there’s pros and cons but I see single-seater racing as open cockpits,” the German said.

“When we sign up for this we know there is some risk involved and there could potentially be some danger, but that is in the DNA of racing.

“I think we should not sterilise the whole thing and make everything too clinical and overprotect everything,” he said.

“This is not good for the sport and might make things a bit unattractive,” Hulkenberg said.

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