Jump to content


Photo
* * * - - 2 votes

Current era safety


  • Please log in to reply
48 replies to this topic

#1 alpinesmuggler

alpinesmuggler
  • Member

  • 219 posts
  • Joined: July 13

Posted 08 October 2013 - 22:40

As is often the case, I ended up spending some time on YouTube watching races of times past.

 

Great racing, good looking cars and quite a few shunts that must've at least concussed the driver and compressed the spine into Oxycodone pain territory.

 

I then went back to DVR recordings of the past few races this season and noticed (easily enough) that Paul di Resta had had made a habit of putting his FI ride into the wall at the most inopportune moments.

 

What would PdR's life expectancy had been like in the '70s and '80s? Would today's younger drivers, the Bottas, Ricciardos, Vergnes et al. coming into a Formula with no testing, be getting injured en masse if current rules and series progression were the way they were thirty years ago?

 

Are today's idiot-proof car designs make it easier for idiots such as PdR survive?


Edited by alpinesmuggler, 08 October 2013 - 22:49.


Advertisement

#2 scheivlak

scheivlak
  • Member

  • 11,950 posts
  • Joined: August 01

Posted 08 October 2013 - 23:02

Are the cars too safe? I've followed F1 since the 60s so I tend to say that cars are finally as safe as they should be - unlike those in the 70s or the early 80s!

 

It;s strange you pick out Paul BTW - I can't remember a really dangerous crash or manoeuvre of him, only some rather stupid ones. And Bottas and Ricciardo are even more of the "rather safe than sorry" kind. Compare that to what we've seen from e.g. Pastor Maldonado - or Grosjean if you're talking about last year.

 

Of course the fact that cars are so much safer now results in drivers being far more aggressive and/or taking risks as they were then - with 60s/70s level of safety the Senna/Schumacher acolytes would have had a big chance to be injured too soon to get a decent career in F1.


Edited by scheivlak, 08 October 2013 - 23:11.


#3 alpinesmuggler

alpinesmuggler
  • Member

  • 219 posts
  • Joined: July 13

Posted 08 October 2013 - 23:30

Are the cars too safe? I've followed F1 since the 60s so I tend to say that cars are finally as safe as they should be - unlike those in the 70s or the early 80s!

 

It;s strange you pick out Paul BTW - I can't remember a really dangerous crash or manoeuvre of him, only some rather stupid ones. And Bottas and Ricciardo are even more among the "rather safe than sorry" kind . Compare that to what we've seen from e.g. Pastor Maldonado - or Grosjean if you're talking about last year.

 

Of course the fact that cars are so much safer now results in drivers being far more aggressive and/or taking risks as they were then - with 60s/70s level of safety the Senna/Schumacher acolytes would have had a big chance to be injured too soon to get a decent career in F1.

Thanks for your perspective, I think I see where you're coming from.

 

I did not necessarily mean that the current cars are too safe--there's no such thing, as we all too sadly know from personal experience--only that the extreme safety of today's F1 cars pushes kid racers to some foolishness as well as preventing them from developing hardcore car-handling skills.

 

To take PdR as an example, the guy's shunted his ride into walls that are super-forgiving nowadays in 4 consecutive GPs. No harm, no pain, just a bit of embarrassment and a few quid spent on repairing the bodywork. As you say, it's not dangerous, but it does seem to demonstrate a certain lack of skill. I didn't want to go too far back so as not to get massively flamed, but take an experienced driver like Sutil last Sunday. Just what the **** was he doing? Webber (the "old school" pro) on Hamilton a few times over the years, Grosjean on any number of drivers, Maldonado on Hamilton (HAM would've been dead by now in the '70s), Massa on any number of occasions both before and after his accident.

 

Perhaps what I'm trying to get at is this: is driver's fear gone from the current Formula? When you can rip up your front wing and still run to the delta, you sure as hell aren't going to be too careful. When you know your car is going to remain structurally and mechanically sound, you can feel free to play games a la "sparky" Rosberg in Korea.

 

There simply seems no more fear associated with the brutal machinery these guys run.

 

... on a similar note, I'm now thinking of the lack of technical problems during the race. No need to manage anything aside from the grotesque tires.



#4 Longtimefan

Longtimefan
  • Member

  • 3,170 posts
  • Joined: October 08

Posted 08 October 2013 - 23:54

A lot of the drivers PDR, Maldonado,Grosjean and others would probably be dead or at least badly injured enough to end their careers.

 

Back in the 70's the cars were thin metal and the drivers basically sat next to the fuel tank.  any decent impact and the car crumples like tinfoil and many times that causes a rupture in the fuel tank and up it goes.

 

Tbh we could have lost even more than we did back then, JYS himself had a huge crash and the car was bent like a banana with him trapped in it, filling up with fuel.  one spark that day and there would be no JYS.



#5 Andrew Hope

Andrew Hope
  • Writer of 2013's Best Opening Post

  • 7,069 posts
  • Joined: October 09

Posted 09 October 2013 - 00:16

Are the cars too safe? This is an exceptionally difficult question to answer. My take on it essentially comes down to this: if you make the cars safe enough, then the tracks don't need to be safe too. Formula 1 has raced at some truly dangerous places but if you are brave enough to scan Wikipedia's list of drivers who bought the farm while racing, it is rare to find any accident where the track was solely to blame, and even rarer to find an accident where the cars themselves weren't the main issue. It wasn't Zandvoort's fault the March 731 had a roll bar the size of a piece of macaroni. It wasn't Rouen-les-Essarts' fault Honda made a car out of magnesium. From time to time of course, the tracks themselves caught hell and rightly so. Watkins Glen being entirely covered in baby blue swords for ARMCO rarely did anyone any good. F1 cars in the 60s and 70s were distinct and loud and crazy but when you're a professional racing driver and it is legitimately a safer move not to wear seatbelts, you cannot pretend to have a particularly safe car to drive. Imagine a gokart Ford Pinto with a quarter of the weight and four times the horsepower. And it only has back seats. You might as well fill the fire extinguishers with barbecue sauce.

 

What sounds like a more dangerous endeavour: 1973 cars racing on 2013 tracks, or 2013 cars racing on 1973 tracks? Yeah, I'm leaning towards the first option as well. But if the sport had a similar injury rate today as it did in years gone by, the effect is hard to predict. To use the OP's example, if Paul di Resta was racing in the 70s then there would either be a very cautious Paul di Resta or there would be no Paul di Resta anymore. The safety of the modern sport is an endless Catch 22. By ensuring you are so well protected you can race until you're 50, you take away a lot of the rush that made you want to race until you're 50 in the first place. When the end result 99 times out of 100 of a crash is everyone walks away unhurt, then you could argue that 99 times out of 100 forcing another driver off the track isn't putting his life in danger. It's just an unfortunate byproduct of safety: racing has never ever ever been as safe as it is now, and if you can trust your life to your machinery, so can your opponent. It's not surprising a lack of respect for fellow drivers is an issue these days. No one snowflake feels responsible for the avalanche.

 

I think something that desperately needs to be kept in sight in these kinds of discussions is that something happening once doesn't necessarily mean sweet **** all. Once is nothing, twice is a coincidence, but three times is a pattern. That isn't to say you can't learn before it becomes a pattern, but it does mean that any kneejerk reactions over something unfortunate happening once are almost inevitably wrong. When the wheel off Webber's Red Bull hit the photographer, it was one of several times we've seen cars lose wheels leaving the pits in the last few seasons, and rightfully something was done about it. But imagine if after Rosberg's wing failure last weekend, the FIA immediately wrote legislation that all wings had to be held in place by dozens of screws, based off one incident which could have had dozens of explanations. That would be the wrong way to go about it, because even if you did solve a freak accident you could potentially open up a whole new set of issues. As I've said in other threads, every safety improvement has had unintended consequences. Half the drivers in the 60s were killed when their cars left the track and wound up hundreds of feet away from the circuit. The drivers campaigned for ARMCO barriers to be installed at all tracks. Then half the deaths in the next decade happened almost entirely because of the ARMCO the drivers themselves refused to race without. If Francois Cevert had crashed where he did 5 years earlier in the wild and dangerous 1960s era of F1, for all we know he could be hanging around the paddock with Niki Lauda right now. He might've had a limp, but he might have been alive. And we see this is all sports: rugby has far less concussions than the NFL, where the players feel they can take bigger risks thanks to their helmets and gear. Fun fact: deaths in boxing were extremely rare right up until boxing gloves were mandated. Fighters who aimed for the head often smashed every bone between elbow and finger tips, and learned it was in their best interest not to attack their opponent's head. When everyone had to wear gloves, no broken wrists, punches to the head only hurt the guy getting punched, and boxing became ten times as dangerous as it was before the "safety improvement". When caution is required, the cautious people stay safe. When it takes a one-in-a-million shot to kill you, you're inevitably going to be more than happy to gamble your opponent's safety by forcing him off the track. It's a one-in-a-million shot for him too, after all. A grid penalty at the next races and an angry email from the guy you punted will suck a bit, but it's not like the 70s where for the same action, you might have ended up going to a funeral. One in a million times, someone will have to pay for your gamble, and it might not be you.

 

I think that while it's probably correct to say that guys like Grosjean and Maldonado wouldn't survive long if magically transported back to a mid-60s F1 grid, the more fair answer is that guys like that would have learned a lot earlier than they did to smarten up. It makes me far more uneasy to think what a world of hurt F1 is going to be in if the next death is a result of one driver doing something blatantly dangerous and someone else paying the price for it. And there will be a next one: Senna won't be the last name on that list forever. NASCAR is playing with fire by allowing drivers to wreck each other and doing very little to stop it, and one day the fence isn't going to be able to stop a 3500lb stock car going 180mph from going into the stands. IndyCar seems to be on the right course with the new chassis but IndyCar is a discipline of racing that can only ever be so safe. F1 is a different animal. Too safe is better than not safe enough, but not by much.


Edited by Andrew Hope, 09 October 2013 - 00:22.


#6 Spillage

Spillage
  • Member

  • 1,053 posts
  • Joined: May 09

Posted 09 October 2013 - 00:30

Are the cars too safe? This is an exceptionally difficult question to answer. My take on it essentially comes down to this: if you make the cars safe enough, then the tracks don't need to be safe too. Formula 1 has raced at some truly dangerous places but if you are brave enough to scan Wikipedia's list of drivers who bought the farm while racing, it is rare to find any accident where the track was solely to blame, and even rarer to find an accident where the cars themselves weren't the main issue. It wasn't Zandvoort's fault the March 731 had a roll bar the size of a piece of macaroni. It wasn't Rouen-les-Essarts' fault Honda made a car out of magnesium. From time to time of course, the tracks themselves caught hell and rightly so. Watkins Glen being entirely covered in baby blue swords for ARMCO rarely did anyone any good.

Not too sure about this point. I think that it is important that tracks are also safe - one could attribute the deaths of Peter Revson and Helmuth Koinigg, which you refer to in your post - entirely to the tracks; perhaps not the accidents themselves but the consequences of those accidents. That said however, F1 does not use dangerous guardrails anymore; advances such as Tecpro barriers and generally safer cars mean that impacts with the wall are no longer heart-in-mouth moments where you instantly fear for the drivers' safety. I think we have seen examples of F1 thinking in such a fashion in the last few years with tracks such as Singapore and Valencia, both of which were high-speed and with little room for error.

 

So in the main I think there's a balance to strike; modern tracks can and should use modern safety techniques, but massive carpark runoffs are a step too far. Such measures have a tendency to totally neuter a circuit, as I think we say at Spa with the tarmacking of Eau Rouge and Pouhon. I don't want to see any injuries, but I do want to see drivers punished for their mistakes - it isn't supposed to be easy.

 

I find speculation regarding the fates of certain drivers had they been born in seperate generations a bit pointless to be honest - sure, if Grosjean had driven like he does now in the 1970s he would have got hurt, but I don't believe for a second that he WOULD have driven like that in the 1970s. Similarly, I think drivers such as Hill, Stewart, Clark et al would be more muscular and aggressive in traffic were they racing today. Totally different eras.



#7 Andrew Hope

Andrew Hope
  • Writer of 2013's Best Opening Post

  • 7,069 posts
  • Joined: October 09

Posted 09 October 2013 - 06:12

It was definitely a different era.

 

tesGVtN.jpg



#8 DampMongoose

DampMongoose
  • Member

  • 1,377 posts
  • Joined: February 12

Posted 09 October 2013 - 09:37

What would PdR's life expectancy had been like in the '70s and '80s?

 

 

No different to any other drivers!

 

When Jim Clark was killed at Hockenheim at the next GPDA meeting Jochen Rindt said "nobody is immune".  Any of the current drivers could suffer a mechanical failure and be killed given the lack of safety or lack of protection from the circuits surroundings.  As for some drivers being more dangerous than others, I think with no margin for error those drivers would have been slower or not tried the same moves as they would today.  Tony Brooks always suggested that he was lucky he had enough natural ability that he could be quick enough without taking risks.  Those less fortunate would drive slower or choose to put themselves at risk at ten tenths.  Sadly that sounds like what Peter Collins felt forced to do when chasing Brooks when he lost his life and also Musso at Reims.

 

The main issue was that more drivers were killed by mechanical issues than by making mistakes.  Mainly because of the known risk if you went off. 

 

Courage, Cevert and Bandini were believed to be mistakes, Francois was however, unlucky to hit a poorly secured guardrail, Piers a lack of equipment or man power to get him out.

 

As many others I can initially think of were all mechanical issues that led to an accident with the circuit surroundings and subsequent failed rescue efforts, Clark, Rindt, Williamson, Koinigg, Donahue, Siffert even through to more modern times like Depallier and De Angelis.

 

You can't simply single out Paul Di Resta or any of the others as higher risk because you don't know how their attitude would change in a different era... I think a driver from the 60's said that he was a master at spinning at a particular hairpin, but if it had been lined with trees he'd never have done it! 



#9 Henrik B

Henrik B
  • Member

  • 2,716 posts
  • Joined: March 03

Posted 09 October 2013 - 10:02

You can't simply single out Paul Di Resta or any of the others as higher risk because you don't know how their attitude would change in a different era... 

 

I think that is exactly what alpinesmuggler is asking and the premise for this thread?



#10 SenorSjon

SenorSjon
  • Member

  • 1,647 posts
  • Joined: March 12

Posted 09 October 2013 - 10:16

Perhaps the likes of Maldonado or Grosjean would never survive the feeder series up to F1.

 

I don't like the rubber tiling that is happening to society. In F1 that means tarmac everywhere and very strict design rules for tracks. See Singapore T11(?) for example. The kerb is placed halfway the track to create a run-off. Without it, your runoff would be vertical and made of tires/concrete. I love the Spa track, but they are murdering it piece by piece and are building a tarmac sea in stead of the lush green grass. At some of the newer tracks you have to look hard to spot the racing line between all the runoff.

 

At first you hade a white line bordering a corner. Pretty soon kerbstones were made and that was the situation for years.

Progress in track design:

Start with a white line as edge.

Then a white line and a kerbstone

Then a white line, kerbstone and artificial grass

Then a white line, kerbstone, artificial grass and tarmac.

 

Luckily we don't have those tire stacks near chicanes anymore. Always looked stupid. :p



#11 DampMongoose

DampMongoose
  • Member

  • 1,377 posts
  • Joined: February 12

Posted 09 October 2013 - 10:38

 

 

You can't simply single out Paul Di Resta or any of the others as higher risk because you don't know how their attitude would change in a different era...

 

I think that is exactly what alpinesmuggler is asking and the premise for this thread?

 

Yes it is the premise, and you have my answer right there, it is not possible or meaningful to single people out to make such judgements!



#12 DampMongoose

DampMongoose
  • Member

  • 1,377 posts
  • Joined: February 12

Posted 09 October 2013 - 10:52

At first you hade a white line bordering a corner. Pretty soon kerbstones were made and that was the situation for years.

Progress in track design:

Start with a white line as edge.

Then a white line and a kerbstone

Then a white line, kerbstone and artificial grass

Then a white line, kerbstone, artificial grass and tarmac.

 

 

Actually at first you had some of these:

 

No painted lines, just tarmac or not.

Tarmac, then banked corner with no retaining wall (Avus)

Tarmac, grass then unprotected barbed wire (Spa)

Tarmac, grass then unprotected sheer drop (Rouen)

Tarmac, grass then unprotected rockface (Nurburgring)

Tarmac, grass then unprotected forest (Nurburgring, Monza, Hockenheim)

Tarmac, then unprotected line of spectators (Mexico)

 

I also feel that although I don't want to go back to the above, Spa in particular has been ruined by the lack of penalty for going off track, amongst others, but without having risky corners with a punishment for getting it wrong you can't have the same bravery and skill on show.

 

I'd much rather the case that after trying to take Pouhon flat and it failing, that you have "oh crap I've beached it in the gravel and lost masses of time" as opposed to "I'll just carry all the speed into the run-off and try again next lap"



#13 SenorSjon

SenorSjon
  • Member

  • 1,647 posts
  • Joined: March 12

Posted 09 October 2013 - 12:08

That is my point as well, but I watch F1 since the end of the eighties. A corner like Eau Rouge looks less now with all the tarmac everywhere, while you used to have a big problem when you get it wrong. First corner Brazil has the same issue. Just tarmac, so if you brake to late, the other guy can be nudget off. Last chicane Canada has less wall of champions about it since it became a parking lot.

 

The tracks are all made like Paul Ricard. In 30 years, we will race in a big stadium where the track will change with LED lighting indicating the layout.



#14 purplehaireddolphin

purplehaireddolphin
  • Member

  • 211 posts
  • Joined: June 13

Posted 09 October 2013 - 12:23

Like a lot of people I hate the huge tarmac runoff areas,but what other solution is there?

 

Gravel traps can flip a car over, as can grass.Catch fencing is a big no no. Maybe some super sticky tar that the cars get stuck in and take a while to get out. Trouble with that is if you only out 2 wheels onto it, you'd spin.



#15 Tron

Tron
  • Member

  • 614 posts
  • Joined: September 13

Posted 09 October 2013 - 12:33

The cars undoubtedly only started to get safer in the late eighties, like at Mansell in Japan 1987, and Berger San Marino 1989, however then to get extra speed out of them, they suddenly became tighter in structure and quite flimsy, which claimed Ratzenberger and Senna...

 

Presently, look no further than Piquet jnr in Singapore 2008 to see how safe cars have really become... or should I say... idiot proof?


Edited by Tron, 09 October 2013 - 20:55.


#16 Vepe1995

Vepe1995
  • Member

  • 114 posts
  • Joined: November 11

Posted 09 October 2013 - 12:37

Very interesting topic...

 

In my opinion, the issue is when you combine the safety of the cars AND the circuits. Of course it's great that we don't have to watch the races worrying that a driver could die, but at the same time I feel that F1 is missing something.

 

As has been already said, the problem isn't the cars, but the tracks. In my opinion mistakes should be punished to some degree, which is currently not happening, with all the tarmac.

 

 

Like a lot of people I hate the huge tarmac runoff areas,but what other solution is there?

 

Gravel traps can flip a car over, as can grass.Catch fencing is a big no no. Maybe some super sticky tar that the cars get stuck in and take a while to get out. Trouble with that is if you only out 2 wheels onto it, you'd spin.

 

 

Not usingso much tarmac. I agree that tarmac is one of the best runoff material, but I don't like the overuse of it.

 

Here's a picture I made.

 

bzpj8kf8yds7lj65g.jpg

 

The red areas are where, IMO, is 'useless' tarmac. The runoffs in the picture are what I call Monaco-runoffs: they are designed so that you can safely slow down there. Unfortunately current runoffs are so large that if you go off, you can keep your foot down, which isn't the purpose of the runoffs.



#17 alpinesmuggler

alpinesmuggler
  • Member

  • 219 posts
  • Joined: July 13

Posted 09 October 2013 - 12:54

 

Yes it is the premise, and you have my answer right there, it is not possible or meaningful to single people out to make such judgements!

 

Absolutely, my original post was simply a riff on the idea that if one feels totally safe in one's environment, one is bound to get sloppy. I see it daily in aviation: the reliance on automation among younger pilots is simply staggering. Some are naturally more gifted than others, some had been trained better, but there is an overall trend where stick and rudder skills are getting poorer with each cadet intake.

 

I apologize for singling out Paul di Resta--I'm no fan, but I really don't have any skin in his or FI's game--it was just reviewing the last few GPs that brought his name up. Shoot, feel free to look at my main man Lewis' 2011 performance: now, these were some hairy moments. Remember the wall in Canada?

 

All in all, I think Andrew Hope and other posters above were really able to add much-needed nuance to the topic. If Grosjean, Maldonado, Perez, heck, even Schumi at times, had been racing back when you were sitting on a super-powered kart with an open-face helmet and no seat belts, they probably would've chilled out a bit.

 

And this brings me back to my original point: do super-safe cars running on circuits with miles of tarmac in all directions create an "I don't give a shit" culture among today's racers? As Andrew said: shit, so what if put the other guy in the "grass" (read a concrete run-off area), he ain't gonna die or even lose that much time; so what if I go three-wide into a corner, the worst that's going to happen is a drive-through.

 

I obviously don't want any drivers get seriously hurt or worse (Webber's aero-induced flight in Valencia was a terrifying moment), but if you can walk away time and time again from monster shunts, your risk assessment skills are going to go to shit. Again, I have to agree with Andrew's point: a 2013 car on a 1973 circuit will be safe enough while teaching some drivers that the race can be over very quick if they pull an idiot move.

 

And don't get me started on other series like NASCAR. It's great entertainment, but damn, do those boys and spectators take insane risks.


Edited by alpinesmuggler, 09 October 2013 - 13:07.


#18 alpinesmuggler

alpinesmuggler
  • Member

  • 219 posts
  • Joined: July 13

Posted 09 October 2013 - 12:57

Like a lot of people I hate the huge tarmac runoff areas,but what other solution is there?

 

Gravel traps can flip a car over, as can grass.Catch fencing is a big no no. Maybe some super sticky tar that the cars get stuck in and take a while to get out. Trouble with that is if you only out 2 wheels onto it, you'd spin.

Actually, something like EMAS wouldn't be a bad idea. Go off-track, get stuck like in the good old days.



#19 redreni

redreni
  • Member

  • 3,003 posts
  • Joined: August 09

Posted 09 October 2013 - 13:02

Don't think it's fair to single out PdR or any of the younger drivers currently in F1. None of the current F1 drivers would have made it very far through their careers without coming a cropper if they drove the way they do but we had 1970s car and track safety standards. Even quite minor incidents could easily result in a conflagration, which would never happen now (except to Webber's Red Bull). But then again, if we had 1970s safety standards drivers would undoubtedly be a bit more circumspect in certain situations.

 

It's a consequence of improved safety standards that drivers take bigger risks, which I think is part of the reason why it's considered necessary for the stewards to step in and penalise drivers for causing collisions now, whereas back in the day, it could be safely assumed that the dangers of being involved in any kind of crash were an adequate deterrant on their own.



Advertisement

#20 alpinesmuggler

alpinesmuggler
  • Member

  • 219 posts
  • Joined: July 13

Posted 09 October 2013 - 13:16

It was definitely a different era.

 

tesGVtN.jpg

Gives me shivers just looking at this. It definitely took brass balls to get into such a contraption. Nice to have the engine block and fuel tank right behind your barely protected neck, too. Oh, and that's a cute little roll bar.

 

Damn, it's like a bike with four wheels, minus the ability to slide the **** away when shit happens.

 

P.S.: Is that oil or coolant running down from the car? Jeez.


Edited by alpinesmuggler, 09 October 2013 - 22:32.


#21 SenorSjon

SenorSjon
  • Member

  • 1,647 posts
  • Joined: March 12

Posted 09 October 2013 - 13:32

Until the mid nineties, neck protection was a rare thing. F1 is also more sanitized now. Look at older footage how much input the driver is giving and how much everything moves. These days are all about smoothness since raw power left the building in 2006.



#22 DampMongoose

DampMongoose
  • Member

  • 1,377 posts
  • Joined: February 12

Posted 09 October 2013 - 15:26

Although the aesthetic appeal of tarmac run-off is spoiling most of the classic circuits like Spa, Monza and Interlagos there is no easy way to go back to gravel as was mentioned because the risk of a car turning over is not something we'd go back to, but I'd like to see a 10 foot stretch of grass on the exit to these corners before a tarmac run-off, or something that is going to have zero grip and makes the drivers avoid contact with it.  This way you keep the safety of the long run-off (although in brake failures etc I think that's more dangerous than turning over given the lack of speed reduction in such circumstances) but penalise the driver with a poor exit or dirty tyres for having run wide. 



#23 alpinesmuggler

alpinesmuggler
  • Member

  • 219 posts
  • Joined: July 13

Posted 09 October 2013 - 18:09

It's a consequence of improved safety standards that drivers take bigger risks, which I think is part of the reason why it's considered necessary for the stewards to step in and penalise drivers for causing collisions now, whereas back in the day, it could be safely assumed that the dangers of being involved in any kind of crash were an adequate deterrant on their own.

The converse point would be why is it necessary for stewards to step in today in any wheel-banging situation when the cars are safe, the circuits (in terms of both layout and emergency services) are fairly tame, and the boys can race with the kind of aggression that would've been unthinkable 20-30 years ago.

 

Personally, I'd much prefer the stewards to take a step back and the drivers to get real racing penalties--broken suspensions, punctured fuel lines (thanks Adrian!) and cars stuck in gravel or a modern, safer equivalent.



#24 olliek88

olliek88
  • Member

  • 4,049 posts
  • Joined: January 10

Posted 09 October 2013 - 18:48

Anyone who criticises the amount of run off areas in F1 just days after Franchitti fractured his ankle and spine on a circuit with a distinct lack of runoff areas is a bit of a numpty. 

 

Run off areas are a great thing IMHO, just imagine Rosberg's crash at Abu Dhabi in 2012 without large run off areas. Its easy to look at a runoff area and think it needless but freak accidents can and do happen, anything that can mitigate the consequences of these potential situations is a winner for me.



#25 OO7

OO7
  • Member

  • 9,378 posts
  • Joined: November 04

Posted 09 October 2013 - 19:11

It was definitely a different era.

What a great picture!!! :up:



#26 DampMongoose

DampMongoose
  • Member

  • 1,377 posts
  • Joined: February 12

Posted 09 October 2013 - 19:14

Anyone who criticises the amount of run off areas in F1 just days after Franchitti fractured his ankle and spine on a circuit with a distinct lack of runoff areas is a bit of a numpty.

Run off areas are a great thing IMHO, just imagine Rosberg's crash at Abu Dhabi in 2012 without large run off areas. Its easy to look at a runoff area and think it needless but freak accidents can and do happen, anything that can mitigate the consequences of these potential situations is a winner for me.


I take it then that you think Interlagos, Albert park, Monaco and Montreal should be off the calendar then? Because that accident would have been much worse at any of them... numpties eh? lets see what Dario says, he's a racer and I bet he doesn't say all road circuit's are for numpties! But be careful you don't injure a finger responding!

#27 SenorSjon

SenorSjon
  • Member

  • 1,647 posts
  • Joined: March 12

Posted 09 October 2013 - 19:14

I don't hate runoffs persé, only when they are made of very grippy tarmac and actually can benefit the one driving over it. How often did one tumble over in a gravel trap and dug in? Only when they ware made as dunes, not when they were fairly level. A gravel trap would have slowed Massa more than the tarmac runoff in 2009. If you go straight on for whatever reason, tarmac runoffs won't slow you down one bit. Also there should be grass next to the racing line on a straight. Not more tarmac. Rosberg for instance defended wildely against Hamilton and pushed him off track onto a tarmac side road.

 

And places like Korea look dreadfull with tarmac everywhere.



#28 olliek88

olliek88
  • Member

  • 4,049 posts
  • Joined: January 10

Posted 09 October 2013 - 20:09

I take it then that you think Interlagos, Albert park, Monaco and Montreal should be off the calendar then? Because that accident would have been much worse at any of them... numpties eh? lets see what Dario says, he's a racer and I bet he doesn't say all road circuit's are for numpties! But be careful you don't injure a finger responding!

 

The corner Dario went off was high speed with no run off area at all. Monaco is low speed, Albert Park and Interlagos do have decent run off areas for 90% of the circuit and Montreal has zero high speed corners. Run off areas are and should be sized in relation to expected speeds. I'm sure Dario will acknowledge something should be changed & Indy themselves have not only noted this but are starting an investigation into way they can make their circuits safer.

 

Nice to see you're not interested in driver's safety but more your own deluded ideas of what being a "racer" is. Being a "racer" has nothing to do with shrugging off the avoidable causes of a fractured ankle and spine, FYI.


Edited by olliek88, 09 October 2013 - 20:10.


#29 alpinesmuggler

alpinesmuggler
  • Member

  • 219 posts
  • Joined: July 13

Posted 09 October 2013 - 22:22

A lot of the drivers PDR, Maldonado,Grosjean and others would probably be dead or at least badly injured enough to end their careers.

 

Back in the 70's the cars were thin metal and the drivers basically sat next to the fuel tank.  any decent impact and the car crumples like tinfoil and many times that causes a rupture in the fuel tank and up it goes.

 

Tbh we could have lost even more than we did back then, JYS himself had a huge crash and the car was bent like a banana with him trapped in it, filling up with fuel.  one spark that day and there would be no JYS.

I just reviewed the Jacques Laffite crash at Brands Hatch in 1986. Both legs broken. Never to race again.

 

Emotions aside, that start going into T1/T2 was pretty darn clean. No weaving of the kind we see nowadays, great car control throughout the field, and yet a great racer's career ended right there. Perhaps what's missing today--and my entire reason for questioning the extreme safety of current cars and tracks--is the sense that you can be taken out anytime, perhaps permanently, and therefore a lack of respect for clean racing.

 

Thanks for y'alls input!


Edited by alpinesmuggler, 09 October 2013 - 22:34.


#30 redreni

redreni
  • Member

  • 3,003 posts
  • Joined: August 09

Posted 09 October 2013 - 22:31

Although the aesthetic appeal of tarmac run-off is spoiling most of the classic circuits like Spa, Monza and Interlagos there is no easy way to go back to gravel as was mentioned because the risk of a car turning over is not something we'd go back to, but I'd like to see a 10 foot stretch of grass on the exit to these corners before a tarmac run-off, or something that is going to have zero grip and makes the drivers avoid contact with it.  This way you keep the safety of the long run-off (although in brake failures etc I think that's more dangerous than turning over given the lack of speed reduction in such circumstances) but penalise the driver with a poor exit or dirty tyres for having run wide.


Even if I had brake failure I‘d still rather have the tarmac. You can always throw the car into a spin, in which case you‘ll scrub off more speed on the tarmac than you would if you were barrell-rolling through the air.

#31 Spillage

Spillage
  • Member

  • 1,053 posts
  • Joined: May 09

Posted 09 October 2013 - 22:37

Anyone who criticises the amount of run off areas in F1 just days after Franchitti fractured his ankle and spine on a circuit with a distinct lack of runoff areas is a bit of a numpty. 

 

Run off areas are a great thing IMHO, just imagine Rosberg's crash at Abu Dhabi in 2012 without large run off areas. Its easy to look at a runoff area and think it needless but freak accidents can and do happen, anything that can mitigate the consequences of these potential situations is a winner for me.

The Franchitti point is a bit moot IMO. Would an F1 car have flown like that? And if it had, would the driver had been injured? We simply do not know, so it is unwise to attribute Franchitti's injuries solely to the lack of run-off rather than to any potential structural weakness of the DW12 relative to an F1 car.

 

Even so, I am no advocate of no run-off; rather, of run-off that punished the drivers. Gravel traps, from which a car cannot simply drive out of, I sorely miss and the safety of modern F1 cars means they are a viable option in 2013 and beyond.



#32 alpinesmuggler

alpinesmuggler
  • Member

  • 219 posts
  • Joined: July 13

Posted 09 October 2013 - 22:42

Even if I had brake failure I‘d still rather have the tarmac. You can always throw the car into a spin, in which case you‘ll scrub off more speed on the tarmac than you would if you were barrell-rolling through the air.

I mentioned it earlier, but what about an altogether different material stop, akin to the EMAS system we see at some of the more forward-thinking airports?

 

I'm no fan of gravel at all. For every stop, there's always the awkward sideways entry that flips your ass over. Then again, with the current car, what's the big deal about a flip?



#33 Andrew Hope

Andrew Hope
  • Writer of 2013's Best Opening Post

  • 7,069 posts
  • Joined: October 09

Posted 09 October 2013 - 22:50

The only big deal I can think is I'm not entirely sure if you can get out of a modern F1 car by yourself if it's flipped over.



#34 FenderJaguar

FenderJaguar
  • Member

  • 1,458 posts
  • Joined: October 09

Posted 09 October 2013 - 22:50

no, it's not too safe and it just takes a flat tire/mechanical failure/stupid move from someone at the wrong time and someone might still get hurt in F1. and it doesn't have to be about skill. great drivers can be caught up with what a crazy driver does. F1 is still a dangerous sport. I'm all for keeping classic tracks like Monaco, Spa and so on because it is a part of F1 and it should be there, but the improved safety with the cars and HANS-device and more is a great thing.



#35 Seano

Seano
  • Member

  • 297 posts
  • Joined: July 12

Posted 09 October 2013 - 23:39

I don't think anybody really wants to go backwards in terms of safety - but we need to have consistent stewarding at a far higher higher level. If you or you push someone else into going to the tarmac run-off area you loose the lap instantly. No ifs, no buts - lap gone. Same for weaving/over defensive driving.

 

In substituting a penalty for death or injury, I bet no more than a couple of dozen laps would be taken before the lesson was learned by all.

 

While its great that Formula one is relatively injury free, there are still quite a few fatal incidents in the UK particularly with club Formula Ford. I sometimes wonder if the ridiculous antics in the BTCC/F1 don't play a part. Aspiring young drivers can't afford expensive Formula Fords and mega safety upgrades at the non F1 circuits, so we need to set the example from the top.

 

Seano



#36 alpinesmuggler

alpinesmuggler
  • Member

  • 219 posts
  • Joined: July 13

Posted 09 October 2013 - 23:51

The only big deal I can think is I'm not entirely sure if you can get out of a modern F1 car by yourself if it's flipped over.

Well, a modern F1 car isn't going to burst into deathly flames, the driver isn't going to be crushed, and even if the driver is suffering from a compressed spine, marshals at the better circuits (admittedly a dying breed) know not to flip the car back onto its wheels.

 

We've seen how solid the current chassis and bodywork are: the Webber flip, Hamilton's shunts in '07 and '11, the Massa spring through the helmet, pedal to the metal and into the wall accident.

 

I was amazed at how well Webber's Red Bull held up with a ruptured fuel line in Korea. Shit, the man himself waited for a few seconds, got out of the car, put the steering wheel back, and then hung around for a couple more seconds surveying the situation. No magnesium or aluminum in that RB; carbon fiber doesn't burn easily.


Edited by alpinesmuggler, 10 October 2013 - 00:08.


#37 Seano

Seano
  • Member

  • 297 posts
  • Joined: July 12

Posted 10 October 2013 - 00:06

Yes the Webber incident was curious - if the electrics were off, why didn't the on board system kill the fire?



#38 Andrew Hope

Andrew Hope
  • Writer of 2013's Best Opening Post

  • 7,069 posts
  • Joined: October 09

Posted 10 October 2013 - 00:17

Well, a modern F1 car isn't going to burst into deathly flames, the driver isn't going to be crushed, and even if the driver is suffering from a compressed spine, marshals at the better circuits (admittedly a dying breed) know not to flip the car back onto its wheels.

 

I'm not trying to be a dick, but come on man.

 

Nick-Heidfeld-2_2599202.jpg

 

Nick-Heidfeld-2_2629555.jpg

 

Heikki-Kovalainen_2507784.jpg

 

3 of dozens of examples in recent years. I completely agree that this stuff is rare and the odds are astronomical that no F1 driver is going to be trapped in a fireball, but the point is that it only needs to happen once. All you need is for the stars to align in the wrong way and for the track to be marshaled by idiots who throw a jeep onto the circuit before the safety car is deployed and you are shit out of luck if you're the guy upside down and fuel starts leaking.

 

In the hopes of make a positive post for a change, sometimes help really does come when things are looking grim.

 


Edited by Andrew Hope, 10 October 2013 - 00:20.


#39 evo

evo
  • Member

  • 357 posts
  • Joined: April 09

Posted 10 October 2013 - 02:10

Slightly OT:

 

To have the safety yet reduce the use of 'runoff' areas as racing tarmac, would it be better if the track had a 5-10cm dip/slope right after the kerbing using astro turf, followed by tarmac? 

 

Drivers will naturally push to the limits of the track but can't go over , but if they go off, the astroturf/tarmac would help slow the car down / allow the driver to rejoin?

 

Has this idea been put into practice at all? It just seems like a natural way to get the best out of both worlds.



Advertisement

#40 Jackmancer

Jackmancer
  • Member

  • 2,892 posts
  • Joined: September 09

Posted 10 October 2013 - 05:07

F1 can never be too safe. Driver safety isn't just about the driver himself that makes a mistake, but also about others.

 

Grosjean would surely have killed Alonso in the 60's/70's.

Grosjean-crash-Belgian-GPSpa.jpg



#41 Kalmake

Kalmake
  • Member

  • 517 posts
  • Joined: November 07

Posted 10 October 2013 - 06:41

As is often the case, I ended up spending some time on YouTube watching races of times past.

 

Great racing, good looking cars and quite a few shunts that must've at least concussed the driver and compressed the spine into Oxycodone pain territory.

 

I then went back to DVR recordings of the past few races this season and noticed (easily enough) that Paul di Resta had had made a habit of putting his FI ride into the wall at the most inopportune moments.

 

What would PdR's life expectancy had been like in the '70s and '80s? Would today's younger drivers, the Bottas, Ricciardos, Vergnes et al. coming into a Formula with no testing, be getting injured en masse if current rules and series progression were the way they were thirty years ago?

 

Are today's idiot-proof car designs make it easier for idiots such as PdR survive?

 

It's pointless to speculate like that. It's like saying rock climbers whose fall was stopped by a rope would be dead if they were free climbing.

 

If safety was like in the old days, drivers would leave a bigger margin of error and take less risks. Conversely, they can't afford leave such a margin if they want to succeed these days.


Edited by Kalmake, 10 October 2013 - 06:42.


#42 Kobasmashi

Kobasmashi
  • Member

  • 423 posts
  • Joined: December 12

Posted 10 October 2013 - 07:28

F1 can never be too safe. Driver safety isn't just about the driver himself that makes a mistake, but also about others.

Grosjean would surely have killed Alonso in the 60's/70's.
Grosjean-crash-Belgian-GPSpa.jpg


Probably, although there was that startline shunt at Monaco where the 2 cars, I think they were Tyrrells, crashed Grosjean style over the top of the field at St Devote

#43 Antonov

Antonov
  • Member

  • 592 posts
  • Joined: March 10

Posted 10 October 2013 - 07:37

as long as the head is exposed I believe something could go terribly wrong.

 

Also, I believe that if there were to happen something, it would probably be in the form of a driver crashing into a stationary car with its driver coming out. 



#44 redreni

redreni
  • Member

  • 3,003 posts
  • Joined: August 09

Posted 10 October 2013 - 08:34

The converse point would be why is it necessary for stewards to step in today in any wheel-banging situation when the cars are safe, the circuits (in terms of both layout and emergency services) are fairly tame, and the boys can race with the kind of aggression that would've been unthinkable 20-30 years ago.
 
Personally, I'd much prefer the stewards to take a step back and the drivers to get real racing penalties--broken suspensions, punctured fuel lines (thanks Adrian!) and cars stuck in gravel or a modern, safer equivalent.


It is true that even when the assumption that nobody would crash on purpose still obtained, the stewards did feel they had a duty to step in and deal with incompetence. They threw Christian Danner out of the Monaco GP in 1987 for causing what was, admittedly, a very bad accident with Alboretto on the flat-out approach to Casino. That wouldn‘t happen now. I think the main corncern now is not incompetence but that the racing is simply dirtier, because the cars are more robust and the drivers see the chance to get an advantage by shoving other people out of the way. And can you blame a young driver for thinking that, when he saw how last year‘s Formula Renault 3.5 series was decided?

#45 Jackmancer

Jackmancer
  • Member

  • 2,892 posts
  • Joined: September 09

Posted 10 October 2013 - 08:40

 

Also, I believe that if there were to happen something, it would probably be in the form of a driver crashing into a stationary car with its driver coming out. 

 

Yes... Brazil 2003 comes to mind;



#46 DampMongoose

DampMongoose
  • Member

  • 1,377 posts
  • Joined: February 12

Posted 10 October 2013 - 08:47

Slightly OT:

 

To have the safety yet reduce the use of 'runoff' areas as racing tarmac, would it be better if the track had a 5-10cm dip/slope right after the kerbing using astro turf, followed by tarmac? 

 

Drivers will naturally push to the limits of the track but can't go over , but if they go off, the astroturf/tarmac would help slow the car down / allow the driver to rejoin?

 

Has this idea been put into practice at all? It just seems like a natural way to get the best out of both worlds.

 

Greg Moore was killed when his sliding car hit a dip in the infield dug in and flipped him topside first into the inner wall, anything that is likely to cause a car turning over is not going to happen any time soon. 



#47 SophieB

SophieB
  • RC Forum Host

  • 2,566 posts
  • Joined: July 12

Posted 10 October 2013 - 09:06

I think the main corncern now is not incompetence but that the racing is simply dirtier, because the cars are more robust and the drivers see the chance to get an advantage by shoving other people out of the way.

 

This reminds me of an old quote from Sir Stirling Moss who reacted with horror on hearing of modern F1 drivers brake testing each other and how he said it was unimaginable in his day. I think he said something like how if anyone had ever tried it with him, he'd have "knocked their block off." But that was the point  - no-one did, or would have done something like that because it would have likely killed someone. With the improvements in track and car safety, drivers can take more chances. Same with Ayrton Senna and Martin Brundle's comments about how Senna would give other drivers the option of giving way or being in an accident. His, and later Michael Schumacher's tactics could never have been employed for very long pre-Jackie Stewart era driving - they'd have killed or been killed, which is I presume part of the reason Senna's approach always seemed so much of an anathema to JYS. But it's human nature, I think - if you increase the safety limits, someone eventually realises this just means more chances can be taken.

 

Doesn't mean the improvements to track safety were nullified by drivers adjusting to the new limits or anything, but it does show how safety changes can have far reaching changes on the sport.



#48 DampMongoose

DampMongoose
  • Member

  • 1,377 posts
  • Joined: February 12

Posted 10 October 2013 - 09:32

The corner Dario went off was high speed with no run off area at all. Monaco is low speed, Albert Park and Interlagos do have decent run off areas for 90% of the circuit and Montreal has zero high speed corners. Run off areas are and should be sized in relation to expected speeds. I'm sure Dario will acknowledge something should be changed & Indy themselves have not only noted this but are starting an investigation into way they can make their circuits safer.

 

Nice to see you're not interested in driver's safety but more your own deluded ideas of what being a "racer" is. Being a "racer" has nothing to do with shrugging off the avoidable causes of a fractured ankle and spine, FYI.

 

Here's an example of the 'low speed' Monaco circuit and a similar problem you only need to think about the consequences of this impact a bit further back towards the tunnel or in a significantly faster F1 car:

 

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=Ybh61PkSVOk

 

 

Monaco's curved tunnel is higher speed than where Dario went off, no run-off at the side of the curve and the benefit of a roof for good measure.  Albert Park's straights are curved high speed sections, no run-off, Montreal is almost all high speed slightly curved straights (imagine Kubica being launched the opposite side to where he did approaching the hairpin), Interlagos start finish is curved at high speed, no run-off.  What happened at Houston was unfortunate but a car twitching or having a failure and another car touching wheels and being launched into the fencing could happen at any of the circuits I mentioned on some very fast sections of track none of which have run-off.  Dario's crash was just a racing incident, you can't protect against any eventuality...

 

I am interested in driver safety but not to the needless ruination of circuits or removing challenging corners like we've had at some to date.  My meaning about Dario being a racer is that he will understand better than most is that racing incidents do happen, but despite the risk he continues to go out there on these circuits.  Shrugging off the concern that it could happen to you is exactly what being a racer is all about, otherwise they wouldn't do it.  You are never going to have run-off on a corner like that one there is nowhere to put it, you'll end up with street circuits that consist entirely of 90 degree corners to allow for exit roads.  The safety they should be looking into is to stop cars launching into the air, which the new DW Indycar was meant to address or a new style of catch fencing that doesn't cause as much damage compared as what we have now. 


Edited by DampMongoose, 10 October 2013 - 13:51.


#49 sopa

sopa
  • Member

  • 3,425 posts
  • Joined: April 07

Posted 10 October 2013 - 12:07

I find it amusing that people carry drivers straight into another era and tell "they wouldn't survive there".

 

Well, sorry. People develop based on what are their surroundings. Like we all are heavily influenced by the culture and part of the world we have grown up in. It has influenced us to the extent we even do not recognize.

 

Same with drivers. If Maldonado and Grosjean were drivers in the 60s, they would be different people. And mind you, I think there certainly were drivers with similar character as Maldonado and Grosjean, but we don't remember them in such way.