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Webber wants closed cockpits for F1 drivers

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Melbourne, Sep 8 (IANS) Former Formula 1 star Mark Webber has joined the chorus to offer drivers greater protection by mandating closed cockpits for single-seaters.

Following the death of British IndyCar driver Justin Wilson last month, calls for closed cockpits in single-seaters have increased.

F1 driver Jules Bianchi died in July, nine months after suffering serious head injuries in a collision with a recovery vehicle during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.

The deaths of Bianchi and Wilson have brought the issue of open cockpits into question once again.

“I am a purist but I’d like to see them closed. They’re delaying the inevitable now. It’s going to come,” Webber was quoted as saying by BBC Radio 5 live on Monday.

“In 10 years it probably will be there so let’s just bring it forward and find a way that is elegant and safe for extraction. There’s enough experts to make that happen,” the former F1 driver said.

The Australian, who retired in 2013, feels that the number of ‘pay drivers’, such as Sauber’s Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson, is not good for the sport.

“These guys are on a phenomenal level but the depth has never been weaker. We need to get the calibre that we have at the front of the grid. We need more depth and the cars to be faster,” he said.

Pay drivers bring sponsorship to secure a seat in order to help their team reach its annual budget.

“If you go from the top 10 back, there are a lot of pay drivers. This is not good. The physical components are the lowest it’s ever been. It’s like a rugby tackle but 30 percent softer,” Webber said.

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