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Roll-over bars - or lack of...


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#1 Mohican

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 08:32

Have always wondered at the cavalier attitude shown towards roll-over protection in the 60's. Granted that roll-over bars only started to appear then, but anybody could see that most bars were weak-looking and above all much lower than the driver's head and as such absolutely useless. Why did the drivers not protest ?

Once attitudes changed, they did so quickly. Compare a '67 car with, for instance, a '71 March which even had a bar that incorporated a forward brace. And by 1977 we had the oversize bar on the Wolf WR1.

Is all this down to the safety campaigning by Stewart, Bonnier and others in the late 60's, or were there other reasons ?

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#2 Bonde

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 08:48

I think a large part of it was the absence of seat belts and the wanting protection against fire. Drivers banked on getting thrown out of the car in a major crash, rather than being sat in the often inevitable inferno, so the roll-over bars weren't really considered essential.

But, yes, particularly with hindsight, it is odd that drivers accepted the possibility of being cecapitated or squashed underneath their cars, fire or no fire. I also think that the CSI was way too lax in the formulation and policing of the roll-over bar rules until 1969.

#3 ianselva

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 09:28

I raced in the 60s and only reluctantly put an alloy roll bar in . In hindsight I don't think it would have done anything , most racers just relied on the "It won't happen to me "factor. In fact I was at Silverstone when a Formula Ford race before mine was stopped because a guy had rolled and been decapitated, but it didn't make me think again.

#4 Paul Taylor

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 10:07

Was Silvio Moser particularly safety conscious about roll-overs? Back in 1969, he had a massive roll bar fitted to his car:

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#5 RTH

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 10:41

I always thought the March series of cars from 1973 to 1978 with two forward facing support bars bracing the main hoop were hugely sensible and nicely enclosed the drivers head in big strong tubular steel protection much in the same way as became the norm in drag racing. I would not race anything today without belts and a roll hoop however old , it's way too risky. This is an area that the FIA should urgently look at again today for all cars.

However you can go over the top.......... just look at that grotesque set of scaffolding over the top of a Caterham seven these days !

#6 Mohican

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 11:20

Originally posted by Bonde
I think a large part of it was the absence of seat belts and the wanting protection against fire. Drivers banked on getting thrown out of the car in a major crash, rather than being sat in the often inevitable inferno, so the roll-over bars weren't really considered essential.

But, yes, particularly with hindsight, it is odd that drivers accepted the possibility of being cecapitated or squashed underneath their cars, fire or no fire. I also think that the CSI was way too lax in the formulation and policing of the roll-over bar rules until 1969.


I find it particularly strange as a number of the leading drivers (Clark, Hill, Stewart) raced at Indy in the mid-60's; and the Indy cars were much better equipped from a safety point of view than contemporary F1 cars, both re roll-over bars and seatbelts.

Just compare a Lotus 38 (the Indy car) with an early Lotus 49 - night & day.

#7 Stephen W

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 13:11

Originally posted by RTH
However you can go over the top.......... just look at that grotesque set of scaffolding over the top of a Caterham seven these days !


The full cage Caterham Sevens provides excellent survivability for the drivers. There have been a lot of serious accidents with Sevens where drivers were either injured or killed and where the fitting of the full cage would have seen injuries reduced and/or drivers survive.

To call it grotesque and compare it to scaffolding is to miss the point completely!

:mad:

#8 Tomas Karlsson

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 13:32

It is interesting to note that the Swedish F3 rules from 1948 stipulated roll-over bars. And most drivers even had seatbelts. The reason was probably that they mostly raced on short speedway ovals and trotting courses. But they also raced on "real" tracks. So when an Effyh was second at Reims international F3 race in 1950 it had a roll-over bar.
Oddly enough, these rules were not carried over to other classes. There were talk of a rule for mandatory roll-over bars in┬┤Swedish ice-racing, after Severt Sundberg was crushed under his overturned Ferrari in 1953. But there were no rule, and only a few drivers got themselves a roll-over bar.
In '62 a young and promising Swedish FJ driver was killed when his car overturned. In '64 a Swedish sportscardriver was very seriously injured after his car overturned, but there don't seem to have been any discussion about improved roll-over bars after any of these accidents.

When you look back on the history of safety improvements, it is strange to see how slow everything developed.

#9 David M. Kane

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 14:27

RTH:

In tire testing at Ontario in preparation for the F1/F5000 race, Ronnie Peterson had a suspension failure at speed and the tire flew back hitting his head giving him a concussion. Robin Herd realized it was lucky that he hadn't hurt more seriously...even killed. So he immediately designed in the forward braces since Ronnie was their leading asset!

#10 RTH

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 15:04

Originally posted by Stephen W


The full cage Caterham Sevens provides excellent survivability for the drivers. There have been a lot of serious accidents with Sevens where drivers were either injured or killed and where the fitting of the full cage would have seen injuries reduced and/or drivers survive.

To call it grotesque and compare it to scaffolding is to miss the point completely!

:mad:


Anything can always be justified on the grounds of a safety precaution . The government could one day decide it would be safer if ther was no motor racing at all and make it illegal on the grounds of safety and no one could argue that was not a fact.
I am certainly not saying a driver should not have good strong roll over protection. I raced a Caterham Seven myself in 1984 and in the Snetterton 24 hr race. At that time the standard road car roll over bar which had side braces and fitted under the standard hood was deemed by Caterham not suitable for racing so we had to fit an FIA roll over bar which was much bigger dia tube ,much greater wall thickness, very much higher and picked up in 4 places on the chassis rails with a diagonal brace, a very heavy and very strong piece of kit . Fine no problem with that at all it was way to high for a hood but never mind, and good at its job in a roll over.
Richard Cleare's car had a massive roll over that year when struck by a BMW 635 half way round Corum in the middle of the night , the car was totally destroyed , the driver uninjured.

Some years later people were being hurt in these cars not because roll over bars were collapsing, but the cars had a fundamental weakness to side intrusion in a T bone collision so the massive structure was developed over the whole roof area of the vehicle with 6 drop down bars actually making it quite difficult to get in and especially out at all instead of changing the chassis side members and / or adding deformable structure to address the side intrusion deficiencies of the original design and I do think it looks awful and wish they had made the cars stronger and safer another way. If it has saved injuries good of course but it wasn't the way Gordon Murray for instance I imagine would have addressed the problem.

#11 rwhitworth

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 15:22

Originally posted by Mohican


I find it particularly strange as a number of the leading drivers (Clark, Hill, Stewart) raced at Indy in the mid-60's; and the Indy cars were much better equipped from a safety point of view than contemporary F1 cars, both re roll-over bars and seatbelts.


...but didn't Hill survive his Indy car accident thanks to having just taken the seat belts off and hence being thrown out? I may have that completely wrong, but I do remember hearing that it was lucky he wasn't wearing the seat belt!

#12 David M. Kane

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 15:58

Actually it was F1 in a Lotus 49 at Watkins Glen. He was in such pain they had to give him Heroin instead Morphine. He had to be lifted in his car at the first GP of the next year in South Africa. He finished 6th...quite a feat!

#13 rwhitworth

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 16:05

Originally posted by David M. Kane
Actually it was F1 in a Lotus 49 at Watkins Glen. He was in such pain they had to give him Heroin instead Morphine. He had to be lifted in his car at the first GP of the next year in South Africa. He finished 6th...quite a feat!


Ah - okay, thanks. I was at that SAGP, and remember the story of him having to be lifted into the car.

#14 Paul Taylor

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 19:40

Originally posted by David M. Kane
Actually it was F1 in a Lotus 49 at Watkins Glen. He was in such pain they had to give him Heroin instead Morphine. He had to be lifted in his car at the first GP of the next year in South Africa. He finished 6th...quite a feat!


Are you talking about the one in 1969?

#15 David M. Kane

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 19:57

Paul:

Yes, he broke both legs as they fouled on the dash as he was pitched out. The car had broken down. He pulled off it the course, got it started and started to drive back to the pits. Clearly, he couldn't do up the belts by himself and he crashed hustling back to the pits to get strapped back up and get the car serviced.

#16 Roger Clark

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 20:46

I don't think it has been mentioned that the Formula 1 rules were changed in 1969 to require a more substantial roll-over bar. Prior to that the regulations required that the bar exceed in height the driver's head and in width his shoulders when he was seated at the steering wheel. Some designers had a very strange interpretation of these rules, but they were loosely worded; they said nothing about the driver having to wear a crash helmet. No designer was going to carry all that weight (and so high!) if he didn't have to. On the first appearance of the Lotus 18, Chapman famously argued that its roll-over bar was the top chassis tube.

#17 doc knutsen

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Posted 13 May 2006 - 07:44

Originally posted by David M. Kane
[B]Actually it was F1 in a Lotus 49 at Watkins Glen. He was in such pain they had to give him Heroin instead Morphine.

Never knew that heroin could be used legally by the medical profession anywhere, or indeed that it has painkilling capabilities better than those of morphine. Do you have any more details about this?

#18 David M. Kane

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Posted 13 May 2006 - 12:00

Doc:

I read it a long, long time ago...sorry. I do know Morphine is a deriviative of Heroin. I remember very surprised at the time. Cocaine is also used Medically for Hemroids (lots of bad spelling here!), basically you desolved it in water and soak your butt!

Since he was treated initially at Schuyer County Hospital, then transferred to Corning I would contact the Research Center in Watkins Glen. I will Google around a bit too.

#19 David M. Kane

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Posted 13 May 2006 - 12:15

Doc:

Sorry it's other way around...Heroin from Morphine...

Try:

Wikipedia and www.streetdrugs.org

Topic: Heroin in Medicine

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#20 Uwe

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Posted 13 May 2006 - 14:14

Originally posted by RTH
Some years later people were being hurt in these cars not because roll over bars were collapsing, but the cars had a fundamental weakness to side intrusion in a T bone collision so the massive structure was developed over the whole roof area of the vehicle with 6 drop down bars actually making it quite difficult to get in and especially out at all instead of changing the chassis side members and / or adding deformable structure to address the side intrusion deficiencies of the original design and I do think it looks awful and wish they had made the cars stronger and safer another way.

From time to time I'm driving on the N├╝rburgring Nordschleife and I'm very glad to have the full rollcage with an additional side protection bar on my Caterham. On my previous Seven (non Caterham) I only had a simple rollbar and I felt quite uncomfortable with it on the Ring.

I am aware that things can always go wrong and even the full racecage may not protect one from serious injury or worse but I do feel a lot safer now. And I don't care at all if the car is looking a bit bulky.

#21 stevewf1

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Posted 13 May 2006 - 15:12

I've read somewhere that the weak-looking roll bar on the '61 "sharknose" Ferrari 156 gave way and may have contributed to Wolfgang von Trip's death at Monza...

#22 David M. Kane

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Posted 13 May 2006 - 16:01

Makes sense as there is no bracing whatsoever and it comes down below the shoulders before there is any bodywork; but in the full Italian footage I saw this last December from our hotel room in Firenze...he hit the bank REALLY hard and thrown out of the car. I suspect my hero died of a broken back and broken neck...possibly even head injuries...the accident was A REALLY big one with massive forces.

Since I don't speak Italian I don't what they were saying in this documentary...sorry.

I suspect he felt nothing, I hope so!

#23 Mohican

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Posted 13 May 2006 - 17:32

Originally posted by David M. Kane
RTH:

In tire testing at Ontario in preparation for the F1/F5000 race, Ronnie Peterson had a suspension failure at speed and the tire flew back hitting his head giving him a concussion. Robin Herd realized it was lucky that he hadn't hurt more seriously...even killed. So he immediately designed in the forward braces since Ronnie was their leading asset!


Quite a change from the March 701, where the roll-over bar is quite a long way behind the driver's head.

#24 doc knutsen

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 21:33

Originally posted by David M. Kane
Doc:

Sorry it's other way around...Heroin from Morphine...

Try:

Wikipedia and www.streetdrugs.org

Topic: Heroin in Medicine



Done some research on my own, I cannot find any examples of heroin being used in regular medical practice on either side of the Pond....could this be an urban myth?
As for the use of cocain i haemorrhoids...no, not really. Lidocain is used locally for pain relief (a local anaestethic) while the reason for the problem is treated as appropriate.
I understand from contemporary reports that Innes Ireland was actually allergic to opiates (morphine and derivatives) and that this created a bit of a problem after his Monaco accident...anybody know anything about this? I understand poor Innes died from pulmonary carcinoma, and if he really was allergic to opiates, the late stages of his disease would have been dreadful. I seem to remember Innes giving a speech at James Hunt's funeral, while suffering badly himself. That would be the act of a very courageous individual.

#25 David M. Kane

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 02:33

Doc:

I have no credentials at all Medically. I was, however, fortunate to drink several Scotches over the week of the 1st Detroit GP with Innes. To this day I consider it to be one of the best weeks of my life. Eoin Young isn't bad company either.

I read the story about Graham and Heroin, so I am totally at the mercy of the reporter...I know no better...

#26 doc knutsen

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 18:42

Originally posted by David M. Kane
Doc:

I have no credentials at all Medically. I was, however, fortunate to drink several Scotches over the week of the 1st Detroit GP with Innes. To this day I consider it to be one of the best weeks of my life. Eoin Young isn't bad company either.

I read the story about Graham and Heroin, so I am totally at the mercy of the reporter...I know no better...



No worries, David. I was just curious about whether heroin was in fact in use as an anaestetic in the late Sixties, it has certainly never been allowed over here, being classified as an illegal preparation.

BTW I am most envious regarding downing some Scotch in the company of Mr Alle Arms and Elbows....must have been great fun. :up:

#27 David Beard

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 18:55

Originally posted by Mohican


Quite a change from the March 701, where the roll-over bar is quite a long way behind the driver's head.


And just bolted to the engine...which in turn was likely to detatch itself in serious circumstances...

#28 Sharman

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 21:16

I seem to remember being told by a doctor of medicine that during the latter stages of cancer when the pain becomes unbearable something called the Knightsbridge cocktail i.e. a mix of drugs, one of which is heroin, is administered.

#29 David M. Kane

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 22:56

I guess that's the point I was trying to make, the Morphine wasn't working so they switch to Heroin
because he was in such high pain.

#30 nmansellfan

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 12:13

Having not been around to see any GP's in the sixties or seventies, the closest i can get is playing Grand Prix Legends on the PC. It certainly makes you think when you roll a car (usually when trying to take the Masta Kink flat!) and the first point of contact with the ground is the drivers head...

Mike Parkes was another one who was partially thrown out of the car when his Ferrari 312 rolled at Spa in '67. I have never seen the photo that appears in a book - I forget the name of it at the moment - but the descriptions i have read on this forum of him lying next to the car with his legs very out of shape are stomach churning. Was it this GP that convinced Jackie Stewart to start wearing belts or was he already wearing them as a result of his own shunt in '66?

#31 doc knutsen

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 13:59

Originally posted by Sharman
I seem to remember being told by a doctor of medicine that during the latter stages of cancer when the pain becomes unbearable something called the Knightsbridge cocktail i.e. a mix of drugs, one of which is heroin, is administered.


A lot of different combinations of analgetics are available in treating terminal cancer pain, including some pretty sophisticated means of "on demand" administration by the patient herself (such as the "pain pump" that injects combinations of analgetics intravenously). Opiates remain a cornerstone of such treatment, supplied by a selection of sedatives, non-steroid antiflogistics and antidepressants, tricyclic or ssris. But heroin is not part of it, nor has it ever been, as far as I have been able to find out.
Heroin cannot be manufactured legally, and I do not think any Hospital or medical authority would sanction the use of drugs brought in from street sources!
Sorry for straying off topic, but at least some postings in this thread has lead to some investigation into treatment of serious injuries as applied to some of our heroes in the past. Thankfully, the risk of severe fractures is very small in contemporary motor racing.

#32 Macca

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 14:10

The picture of Parkes at Spa was in 'The Day I Died' by Mark Kahn.

Ironically, despite Parkes' crash, when Amon had his big crash at Monza in 1968 where he went over the armco into the trees, he had only started wearing belts to stop him being bounced around in the cockpit so much.


Paul M

#33 David M. Kane

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 15:46

Face it to race F1 in those days was a lottery...lots of ways to lose, few ways to win.

Does anyone know Beth Hill, she could answer the Heroin debate...