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Closed-cockpit grand prix cars


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#1 Team Result

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 02:07

I thought this topic might be timely with the talk of 2017 F1 cars' cockpits being at least partially enclosed. How many examples of this have there been in the past? While reading about Nuvolari's greatest wins, I noticed a grainy photo of the start of the 1935 German Grand Prix and it appears that one Auto Union had an enclosed cockpit. Is this correct?


Edited by Team Result, 27 February 2016 - 15:21.


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#2 Terry Walker

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 06:38

Not a bad idea: now they can have air-conditioning to go along with the auto trans and power steering.



#3 lustigson

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 07:36

b32f61aa37fda1ead1d29087dab4bf81.jpg



#4 Michael Ferner

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 11:07

Not in GP racing. This is the start of a heat for the Formula Libre AVUS-Rennen, and there was certainly no enclosed cockpit at the 1935 German GP.



#5 Allan Lupton

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 12:24

Not in GP racing. This is the start of a heat for the Formula Libre AVUS-Rennen, and there was certainly no enclosed cockpit at the 1935 German GP.

I hadn't realised the record car was used for circuit racing, but for AVUS it makes good sense.



#6 GMiranda

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 12:45

I still think it's fairly dangerous, because GP cars haven't doors as the prototypes.... if a fighter-type canopy fails to open, or there is one car upon other, like the Alonso/Raikkonen incident, how they will solve the problem?



#7 Bloggsworth

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 13:13

Brabham tried one on his Cooper at Rheims, late 50s I think. IIRC, he found that the visual distortions introduced by the canopy caused him to miss apices resulting in slower lap times.


Edited by Bloggsworth, 27 February 2016 - 13:14.


#8 kayemod

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 14:25

Not a bad idea: now they can have air-conditioning to go along with the auto trans and power steering.

 

Why stop there? With a closed cockpit they could fit a ciggy lighter and an ashtray.



#9 Sebastian Tombs

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 15:16

It's not proposed as a closed cockpit but the official 'halo' which will be a standard FIA design and fitted to all F1 cars in GPs from 2017.  Aesthetically it seems to be the worst of all possible worlds but then...so is a sliced-off head.  Personally I think the driver should accept the risks inherent in any category of racing or refrain from taking part.  Like in so many things these days this seems only to be the view of dinosaurs like me...pity. :well:

 

ST :wave:



#10 GMiranda

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 15:35

I'm afraid the traditionalism isn't so well-recieved.... I want secure motor racing, even if I like the past, I feel really blessed to watch the sport and not expect any death every weekend! Nevertheless, motor racing is and will be foreer dangerous, and it has to be accepted. Wilson and Surtees were the rare cases in which anyone died ude to this kind of accindet, because Bianchi's would have died nevertheless due to the massive impact trauma. And if there are any way of minimizing risks of anotehr kind of accident, I totally agree, but I don't believe the actual ways are better than the risks



#11 Tim Murray

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 16:19

In addition to the 1935 Avusrennen already mentioned, Auto Union had also raced a closed-cockpit car earlier in the year in the Tripoli GP, driven by Hans Stuck. During the race a fire developed in the engine compartment behind the driver, but Stuck inside his closed cockpit was blissfully unaware of it until the car was blazing furiously. Then he found he had no brakes as a brake line had burned through. When he finally got the car halted he had difficulty getting out of the closed cockpit. Fortunately a marshal with an extinguisher was close at hand and he helped Hans to get out relatively unscathed.

Edited by Tim Murray, 27 February 2016 - 16:23.


#12 bill p

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 17:10

Brabham tried one on his Cooper at Rheims, late 50s I think. IIRC, he found that the visual distortions introduced by the canopy caused him to miss apices resulting in slower lap times.


Black Jack tried this out on his Brabham BT24 at Monza in 1967

#13 Michael Ferner

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 17:33

I believe the Brabham (and Protos) canopies were not really closed; they were open at the rear iirc.



#14 Victor

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 18:01

You can find Brabham, Monza 1967 here:

http://www.gettyimag...ícias/156062310



#15 kayemod

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 18:26



I believe the Brabham (and Protos) canopies were not really closed; they were open at the rear iirc.

 

True, Goodwood FoS pic below.

 

1967-costin-protos-f2-1_e.jpg

 

I asked a helpful bloke with the car about escapeability in a hurry should the need arise. I can't recall exactly what he told me, but I got the impression it was a job taking several minutes for a man outside with a suitable spanner. If that's correct, it's hard to see how the car ever made it through scrutineering.



#16 D-Type

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 22:14

Stirling Moss tried a bubble top on the Vanwall at Monza in 1958.  But he found the increased noise intolerable and it offered minimal improvement.


Edited by D-Type, 27 February 2016 - 22:14.


#17 AAGR

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 22:43

.... and in 1958 the jig to shape that Vanwall cockpit canopy was the very first job tackled by Keith Duckworth when he set up Cosworth Engineering. See COSWORTH, THE SEARCH FOR POWER.

 

  Yes, I know - 'Useless information department' ....



#18 RStock

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 23:02

Stirling Moss tried a bubble top on the Vanwall at Monza in 1958.  But he found the increased noise intolerable and it offered minimal improvement.

 

Wasn't it only used during practice?



#19 RStock

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 23:03

Not in GP racing. This is the start of a heat for the Formula Libre AVUS-Rennen, and there was certainly no enclosed cockpit at the 1935 German GP.

 

Mercedes had one as well, but I don't know if it was ever used for anything but speed runs, seem to recall a photo of it in competition though.



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#20 RonPohl

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 23:31

Is there any engineering rational for open cockpit cars? Surely not aero or structural rigidity . Since all you see of the driver these days is a full face helmet-I have to ask- what's the point? Perhaps only the sheer joy of driving open wheel-open cockpit race cars. In today's world, that's probably not enough.

#21 Sebastian Tombs

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 00:02

...In today's world, that's probably not enough.

 

No it probably isn't so why have single-seater open-wheelers when you can watch LMP1 cars?  Answers on a postcard...   AAMOI the plexi domes and semi domes alluded to above were merely attempts at aerodynamic aids and had nothing to do with driver safety.  'Fighter canopies' they were not.

 

ST :wave:



#22 Tim Murray

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 02:45

Mercedes had one as well, but I don't know if it was ever used for anything but speed runs, seem to recall a photo of it in competition though.


Hans Geier raced the closed-cockpit Mercedes in the 1935 Avusrennen. My understanding is that this was the only time it was used in a race. Geier was a bit dubious about the car, as the only way the cockpit canopy could be released was from the outside.

#23 RStock

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 04:05

the only way the cockpit canopy could be released was from the outside.

 

Hans must have had a cast iron set.



#24 E1pix

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 07:28

It's not proposed as a closed cockpit but the official 'halo' which will be a standard FIA design and fitted to all F1 cars in GPs from 2017.  Aesthetically it seems to be the worst of all possible worlds but then...so is a sliced-off head.  Personally I think the driver should accept the risks inherent in any category of racing or refrain from taking part.  Like in so many things these days this seems only to be the view of dinosaurs like me...pity. :well:
 
ST :wave:

Per 'dinosaurs,' you are most certainly not alone, Sebastian. :-)

#25 Roger Clark

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 08:37

.... and in 1958 the jig to shape that Vanwall cockpit canopy was the very first job tackled by Keith Duckworth when he set up Cosworth Engineering. See COSWORTH, THE SEARCH FOR POWER.

Yes, I know - 'Useless information department' ....

Hardly!

#26 sabrejet

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 09:23

F1 or Grand Prix? Many Grand Prix cars had closed cockpits: Miami Grand Prix ran to IMSA rules for a number of years but there are many others.



#27 Stephen W

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 09:46

A chap tried fitting one to a Formula ford 1600 for sprints at Aintree in an attempt to improve aerodynamic efficiency. All it did was partially collapse at high speeds as the air pressure deformed the 'structure'.

 

:down:



#28 bradbury west

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 10:24

Moss of course had already experienced closed canopy driving in the Lotus 11 at Monza, as did Allison later. Interestingly I believe Duckworth was involved in one of the  later 11 exploits at Monza when he was at Lotus, so there is a direct inter-connection with ACBC, Moss, Duckworth ( & to include Costin), Cosworth and Lotus for the  Vanwall  experiment. ISTR that the 11 canopy was an external-only opening device, other than via a "letterbox" on the OS, rather akin to the AU and Protos.  Rob the vital Protos fastening was via  nut and bolt fixing at the forward end of the canopy, so the owner told me at the FoS 

If we think FFord 1600 we must always think of Hugo Spowers and his Prowess car, not a style adopted elsewhere.

Roger Lund


Edited by bradbury west, 28 February 2016 - 10:26.


#29 kayemod

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 11:27

ISTR that the 11 canopy was an external-only opening device, other than via a "letterbox" on the OS, rather akin to the AU and Protos.  Rob the vital Protos fastening was via  nut and bolt fixing at the forward end of the canopy, so the owner told me at the FoS 

 

Yes, it was a while ago, but that's more or less what I remember the Goodwood guy telling me, we shared a joke that the slot in the screen was there so that the car's occupant could reach through with a spanner in his hand to release himself after any mishap. He also said though, that the car wasn't raced like that, surely someone here must know how it was in F2 races back then? It would never have been allowed on a track in it's current configuration, slightly surprised that it is now, even for demos.



#30 bradbury west

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 13:37

Rob, that is how I remember it. Was it not Hart at Enna Pergusa with a full canopy? Must look for pictures.

RL



#31 Tim Murray

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 14:36

IIRC the Protoses always raced with the canopy fitted, even at places like the Nürburgring:

http://aws-cf.caradi...s Protos 67.jpg

Whilst looking for Protos photos I came across a thread about cockpit protection in Readers' Comments which included a couple of posts with photos of some of the examples of closed cockpits we've been discussing. Looking at the side-on shot of the Protos I reckon the driver would have been able to wriggle out without too much difficulty in an emergency:
 

I have a couple of things to add.

First of all, I'm not quite sure I understand all this talk of the "DNA" of the sport. It's not like it hasn't been tried before, even from an aerodynamic point of view.

foto-8-600x313.jpg

va9dleyhr5fjvnxhi2ro.jpg

std_1967_protos_f2.jpg

Also, there's a lot of talk about the canopies and how they would be opened in the case of an accident. How about having the canopy held by some sort of electromagnet which can be overridden from both inside and outside of the car which can cause the canopy to drop out in an emergency or release easily?


Those aren't open-cockpit cars. Not really. Surely they can't be F1 cars.

protos12.jpg

67hock10.jpg

acgwrelzjddbjogyjol1.jpg



#32 Charlieman

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 18:13

Is there any engineering rational for open cockpit cars? Surely not aero or structural rigidity . Since all you see of the driver these days is a full face helmet-I have to ask- what's the point? Perhaps only the sheer joy of driving open wheel-open cockpit race cars. In today's world, that's probably not enough.

It is the sport.

 

I think we have to go back to when Jackie Stewart strapped a spanner on his steering wheel so that he might be released. So it is about psychology (perception of escape) which may/not correlate with real life. Earlier generations reckoned that it was best to be thrown from a broken car; JYS reckoned that it was better to be belted in.  

 

In 1976, it is unlikely that Niki Lauda would have lived without the efforts of fellow drivers, notably Art Merzario who put his hands and head in a fireball to release Lauda's belts. 

 

Something changed between Roger Williamson's dreadful death and Lauda, 1976. At Nurburgring 1976, drivers pulled out of the race for an accident (they did not who, what) and took control.

---

Apologies for garbled argument.



#33 eldougo

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Posted 10 April 2016 - 22:49

Prost  tyre test at Silverstone 1985 with closed cockpit.
 
 
 
 

Edited by eldougo, 10 April 2016 - 22:57.


#34 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 10 April 2016 - 23:24

And you notice everyone of these canopies had a slot in front for the driver to see out of.

The halo is really very dumb,,,, it MAY keep a wheel out but not an errant shock/ spring, other smallish shrapnel yet alone earthmoving equipment!

Plus the drivers will have to reprogram their brains like a horse too sort out in effect two images.