Poll>>should Open-wheel Cars Have Closed Cockpits?

The tragic loss of Dan Wheldon in a horrific Indy Car crash in Las Vegas has prompted lots of discussion about motorsport safety. More specifically the safety of open-wheel race cars.

Even before the crash there has been talk of using enclosed, fighter jet style canopies on Formula 1 cars in order to better protect drivers from debris and accidents. One needs to look no further than Felipe Massa's scary incident a couple years ago to see the safety benefit closed cockpits could provide.

At the same time, many fans believe open cockpits are defining features of F1 and Indy Car, giving fans a unobstructed view of the driver and adding a sense of "purity" to the sport.

For this week's poll we thought we would ask the Speedhunters community for their thoughts on the issue.

Should open-wheel race cars introduce closed cockpits to better protect drivers?



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

I think the open cockpits being a "defining feature" or "adding purity to the sport" should be a non-issue. There was an interview Tony Stewart did a while back where a reporter asked him if he thought the new NASCAR cars were "too safe." When you think about it, it's a similar question to what you're asking here. He got a little upset with the reporter, but his answer was basically, "nobody wants to see their favorite drivers getting hurt. Safety should be a top priority in car design." I think I agree. Anything that can be done to improve the survivability of a crash at racing speeds, should be done.


But how would that be safer? It would have to be made of some sort of plastic right, but then if that breaks it's just more debris for the driver no?


Personally i think so. Nowadays it makes no sense to spend millions of Dollars/Euros in safety, when you leave the head of the driver exposed to debris like in Massa's case.


NO.. and I cant even believe that opinion is within 20% of each other...


An issue with a closed cockpit would be, what if the hatch gets stuck shut then and the driver needs to get out right away?

Deaths are a tragedy, but the deaths in open wheel cars are smaller than ever and the deaths in motorsports is slim. It is a risk those drivers take.


This is a discussion that has been happening for decades. When cars become to dangerous to drive, and every time there is an accident some dies then I say "yes" otherwise, no. When we start driving things like the RedBull X1 then WE BRING ON THE ROOFS!!!!



What if said car flips and catches fire. How does the driver exit the vehicle quickly? Look at Alan McNish from this years Le-Mans. He was lucky it landed that he could get the doors open, if not then you're trapped upside down in a potential fire ball.

You will never be able to make motorsport 100% safe, just minimise the risks involved. All those that participate know the risks involved and still thrive on the competition and thrill of the race.


This may sound kind of harsh but ALL racers know what they are getting themselves into when they choose a particular sport. It's like everyday jobs that are hazardous. Even though there's plenty of safety equipment and safety precautions and checks and balances, there's always the possibility. Therefore as an open wheel driver you know there's always some element of that particular danger. Therefore for the past 70+ years men have been acknowledging that risk and doing it willingly.

Death hurts but they do what they love.


I think they should introduce it as an option for the driver, but not make it mandatory.


Ayrton Senna. Do I really need to say more? Safety should be the most important thing.


Don't forget it's extreme sport. And should stay like that.


and why dont we all live in plastic bubbles because the world is so crazy dangerous! Absolutely not.! Open cockpit is the way the sport should stay. Maybe some more protection like a roll bar that at least will take the blow when it flips like the drag race cars that are open cockpit. Having a sealed cockpit is a bad idea waiting to happen. What if the car catches fire and the latch becomes damaged that could kill someone as well. Some sort of emergency deployed pod that covers the driver when the crash occurs would be a better idea. The idea is nice to keep people safe is great n all but there is a certain point where it is going too far and I think this would be a step too far.


Explosive bolts could open the canopy in an emergency, similar to the solution employed on the Mercedes-Benz SLS.


The same way formula one has made let's and.everything else does everyone think that they are gonna put a cheap pecan window with dzuis fasteners to hold it down....No they will think of anproper way if they are going to do it. I would be interested in seeing the concept and technology employed BUT seeing your favorite drivers helmet would be missed. But as forbeing safe its childish to say well you knew what might happen. Imagine saying that to their family members........but again your entertainment is SOOOOO important you rather see people potentially die.....I say bring on the cockpits


Open cockpit is just the way it is, people are always affraid of change,closed cockpit open wheel racing should have its own event first, if it draws more veiwers, sponsers and ratings than formula 1 & indy then keep it as a motorsport in its own right, motorsport is a dangerous sport teams and drivers dont take that fact lightly, they do their best to make sure driver safety is a key part in car and track development. Traggic accidents often cannot be avoided, drivers take the risk to do what they love. R.I.P all drivers who die doing what they love


An example of the closed cockpit for F1 being tested:


read and watch the the full page to get the entire picture


If closed canopy means we get something like the Redbull X2010 Concept, I am ALL for it.


Motorsports are dangerous period. Open cockpits make it more exciting. Every driver knows the risks going into a race, so its their choice. If you want a closed cockpit, go race something else.


There's also anecdotal evidence to suggest that increasing safety measures, can increase the risks that people will take. Take the NFL for instance; The fully padded players seem to suffer significantly more injuries than say the players from Rugby Union.


I think we should think of a semi-closed design since 99% of the debris are coming from the front. It would allow to keep a sufficient space above the driver's head if he has to get out of the car in emergency, and allow everybody to see clearly helmets. Here is a little sketch (don't have time to photoshop it right now), the O is the helmet

_ |\

/ \ O | \_


If we adhered to the idea that "motorsport is dangerous, and thats the way it is," drivers would still be opting not to wear seat belts so they could be thrown from their cars, like they did in the 50's. The death rate for drivers as late as the '70's was appalling. Improvements in safety and medicine in racing have made it drastically safer. Lets keep moving in the right direction. Go the explosive canopy.


Safety should always be first priority.

However, why is this an all or nothing? Why not have a option for a front windscreen to protect from debris, but still leave it open to be able to extract the driver easily?


No, they should stop racing cars on pointless oval courses.


It already takes drivers long enough to exit a vehicle ablaze, would not imagine a canopy would make matters any better..


No, they should not although I think in the future they certainly will. The tragedy that occurred in las vegas was more the organizers fault than the drivers.


Death is apart of life, and how we choose to have death meet us is our way of doing things. It is very tragic that Dan Wheldon died, but he is in one of the fastest motorsports on Earth with the least amount of comparable technology. Rather than throw a closed cockpit, how about improve the technology to F1 standards and notice how this incident is the stepping stone for new technology in American Motorsports.


if yes... do we need cages around motorcycles?


Personally i think they should have closed cockpits.

There's no point in spending millions of Dollars/Euros in safety, if you leave the head of the driver exposed. Best example of this was Massa's accident.

As for the "purity" of the sport. Open wheel racing lost it's purity long ago.


First, tear down all the oval speedways and replace them with top notch road courses with wide runoffs. Oval track racing isn't racing, it's freeway driving in rush hour traffic at triple the safe speed. Genuine racing involves turning the wheel to both the right and the left.

That should solve the problem by itself. If it doesn't, then consider changing the car design.


Safety comes first!!!


I understand that its a lot more of a thrilling type of race due to the fact that the cars are so bare bone and all, but wouldn't it make them more aerodynamic if they had a roof of any sort over their head? This is purely speculation on my part i don't even want to pretend like i know a thing or two about the physics behind it all. It would just make sense to me to increase safety and while doing that make the cars more aerodynamic.


Safety in F1 is second to none, there are too many restrictions as it is and putting a lid on the drivers is a step too far in my opinion. Bring back the screaming V12's :)


No, it makes open wheels cars what they are. I understand why they would want closed pits but the drivers know the risk when they strap in.


The issue with a closed or partly closed canopy is keeping it clean.

However, I think it is time to put a lid on F1 cars. Even a polycarbonate bubble would have saved Massa from his near-death-experience.


From a safety point of view i couldnt agree more with closed cockpits however from a spectators point of view, no way! As explained in the post, its pure, its the driver and the car at one with eachother, if roofs are introduced where would the 'red tape' stop? F1 is meant to be the pinnacle of motorsport, what every race driver dreams of racing, its not meant to be 'safe'! end of rant!


just look at the Redbull X1 - that is all


I think Indy needs to move away from the oval track. if there was more run off, and the cars weren't so packed together a lot of the indycar accidents would not of been as bad. It would also make Indy more interesting. The Cars are safe. Look at Mark Webbers Accident last year at Valencia. In any type of automotive racing there's a risk involved. There always has been, and always will be. Thats what draws so many to the sport. And why racing do what they do. Does track and field get as much coverage as Motor sports?


And what happens in the event of a fire? Will there be an ejector button?

I think having the ability to quickly jump out of a car is better than having to open a cockpit to jump out.

They'll put cockpits on the cars and something else will kill the drivers, as sad as it is, the sport of racing is and always will be dangerous. That's just its nature.


Safety first always, but the choice doesn't necessarily state that have a closed cockpit makes the car safer. In some events it could be more dangerous. However under the premise that it would make the car safer yes most certainly.


I think so, I drive Formula 3 cars. Its nice and easy to get in and out of, however there is not really a better sensation while driving the car (as visibility is restricted from the opening of the helmet). Secondly there are a few rare times where a driver forgets to do up the helmet; and you wouldn't believe how hard the wind works to rip the helmet off your head, a canopy would also help this. Third thing is, some cars like the World Series by Renault have a really small headrest which restricts the driver getting out. The headrest is to prevent your head from smacking the monocoque during a collision but many cars like this one make it extra narrow (just the width of the head) for aerodynamic purposes. For example why you see Vettel and Webber take their headrests off after a race as well. With a canopy, maybe you could have airbags fitted in the side, so in a hard impact they will deploy instead of having to large headrests fixed. Also, there's so much stress on the drivers now, if they can enclose the cockpit maybe they can provide aircon into the monocoque like in closed cockpit leman cars. :P

I suppose the only thing to figure out is, how to make it safe to escape when theres a fire.


I say yes. While I am a purist, I think the added safety of the cockpits outweighs the disappointment of watching open cockpit cars race. It wouldn't have to be completely enclosed. Just a large windshield that protects the driver from oncoming debris with enough space at the top to allow the driver to escape a dangerous situation. It would improve the cars' performance as well by reducing drag. Yes motor racing is a dangerous sport, and yes there are deaths, but a cockpit would be one way to decrease the chance of deaths. What could be more important than that?


No, because you don't see so much fatal crash very often.. And also, F1 don't have fatal crash since 1994..


Regarding being able to exit the car quickly, look at LMPs. The shape of the car means that the driver is a;ways able to open at least one door. Even if the car is upside down it will be canted over to one side due to the shape of the roof and the fin. This always leaves one door exposed to the air and thus the driver can exit. Maybe have prototype-style doors on these new canopies?

Also, (it'll sound pedantic but anyway) McNish's Audi could never catch fire as it runs on diesel.


Massa's incident was bad, however at least he walked away. Let us not forget Henry Surtees who was not as lucky. He was tragically killed when struck in the head by a tire. i guess it's a risk that must be taken into account when racing.


It is ridiculous everytime a driver dies they enforce more safety rules... Say Dale earnhardt (sorry to bring up NASCAR) he died because he didn't wear his neck restraint... but AFTER that it was mandatory, thats infuriating along with wheldons passing now their looking for more ways to make the indy cars safe?? Why do the passing of drivers suddenly alert such issues when it should be checked and triple checked anyways?


No. Racing is always dangerous.


Is the safety of many GREAT drivers more important than some non-nonsensical excuse? YES...their lives are by far more valuable. Just think of how many drivers could've been here today if our safety measures were more up to par.....


The question is phrased incorrectly because a closed cockpit would not nessasarily "protect" the drivers.

First off the reason why Dan Wheldon was killed was not because there was no closed cockpit it was because they put too many really fast cars on a really fast oval track with absolutely zero margin for error. Throw in a few rookies that have barely or never driven an Indy Car and you have a recepie for disaster.

A closed cockpit my shield the driver from some debris but it could cause as much damage as it presents due to complications (getting stuck, shattering on impact, glare from the sun, flying off at speed). There is also the fact that closing off the cockpit would only make the cars faster and an excesss of speed is what contributed to the terrible events at Las Vegas in the first place.

The real answer is to not run on ovals anymore (except Indianpolis Motorspeedway).


It may be an extreme sport, but it's not 1901 - I'm sure that racecar constructors can find a way to make sure the driver is as safe as possible without hurting the image of the sport. Datsoon hit the nail on the head - no one wants to see their heroes die on the track. Robert Kubica had a horrendous crash during the Canadian Grand Prix 3 years ago, and walked away with minor injuries thanks to all the safety features that today's F1 cars all have. Back in the 1970s or 80s such a shunt would inevitably lead to the death of the driver (and potentially others, including spectators, track marshalls and fellow drivers).


I'm personally for a canopy, but the whole car would have to be re-thought. Its not a question of just putting a roof on it, the roof would need to be made removable by emergency services, and the temperatures inside the said cockpit would be hellish. So another design problem, how to cool the driver sufficiently. And for those doubting the strength of these materials, those are not your brittle plastics you see around your house, purpose made engineering materials do the job they are designed for.


I agree...it's an extreme sport - and definitely a defining feature of F1. For those who want safety - join another class of racing. IThe drivers know what they get into, and ultimately they are the ones getting in the cockpit. Everything has a risk


I agree...it's an extreme sport - and definitely a defining feature of F1. For those who want safety - join another class of racing. IThe drivers know what they get into, and ultimately they are the ones getting in the cockpit. Everything has a risk


No amount of extremity, purity and tradition should ever trump the value of a man's life. Yes, risks are inherent, but as a society and as fans of motorsports we need to realize that possible death for the sake of a sport's entertainment value is wrong.


No, those accidents were just bad luck, You can be killed in a cockpit also. It's like askin should motorcycles have 4 wheels as they can so easily flip on 2? Or why to bother to put driver to the car altogether, they could drive it remotely.. It's not like the drivers dont know the dangers, they do.


Open cockpit is just the way it is, people are always affraid of change,closed cockpit open wheel racing should have its own event first, if it draws more veiwers, sponsers and ratings than formula 1 & indy then keep it as a motorsport in its own right, motorsport is a dangerous sport teams and drivers dont take that fact lightly, they do their best to make sure driver safety is a key part in car and track development. Traggic accidents often cannot be avoided, drivers take the risk to do what they love. R.I.P all drivers who die doing what they love


Only situations where there should be a closed cockpit:

1. Once F1 goes super extreme with literally no restrictions so cars like the Red Bull X1 become real.

2. In outer space.

3. There is no number three.


"giving fans a unobstructed view of the driver"

There's not much fans can see besides their helmets


Marco Simoncelli died during a crash in MotoGP, should we create some type pod motorcycle for the series? All Moto series? The answer is a definitive NO. Should F1/Indy/Karting be any different? Again, no. Open cockpit should remain open cockpit. If they want to implement some type of windscreen to deflect debris, then that is what should be done, but to add an entire canopy seems a tad excessive. The odds of a fatal accident happening would change very little with such an addition, as it is human error that causes the accident in the first place. That human error could just as easily result in a piece of flying debris as it could a catastrophic explosion. Such are the risks of any racing discipline.


I'm of the mind that these changes should be driven by engineers hoping to go faster. I don't believe this consideration should be taken strictly for safety reasons. It's true, that there will be additional risk to the driver, but that's a risk that the driver assumes each time they get in the car. We as spectators have to respect their decision. If drivers were all screaming for closed cockpits, it would be a different story. Are they? I can't quite hear them...

Safety focus on other things (not the least of which - what type of track/ appropriate pace for track safety features/ etc.) should be managed by the venue, and through series rules instead of forced design changes to the car. One aspect of open wheel racing has always been pushing technological limits, and hindering that in any way is ultimately bad for the sport/industry in my humble opinion.

Deadly accidents will still happen with closed cockpits if they are taken as the cure all for these types of scenarios. Driver evacuation, extraction gets slower, and with that is lost critical seconds in a life or death situation. I don't see that as a lesser evil necessarily. Engineers and teams should be able to decide for themselves.

Drivers want to drive, and sometimes bad things will happen. I'm hopeful that when any driver dies from an injury sustained on the track, they did so doing what they loved.


Closed cockpits would be faster and safer. There is no downside. Other then stuck-in-the-past purists who hate change.



The moment they go to supposedly "safe" breakaway cockpit pods, one will break free of a car and onto the track.

F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport competition. The drivers are the most Alpha-male in the world, and the danger of them careening down the start straight in a ball of fire has always been there and one of the reasons its so exciting. YES safety is very very important and nobody ever wants to see a driver killed. However, I see closing off the driver in a cocoon is one small step away from removing the driver and driving by remote, a la Xbox.

Drivers should be driving with a clear unobstructed view and challenging their senses, not wrapping them in pillows or driving a video game.


The cause of the accident was two cars touched wheels. So if I follow the logic of the canopy, we should put on wheel covers or fenders. No way!


No amount of extremity, purity and tradition should ever trump the value of a man's life. Yes, risks are inherent, but as a society and as fans of motorsports we need to realize that possible death for the sake of a sport's entertainment value is wrong.



Over the recent years, we have seen numerous crashes in Formula 1, but there have been no disasters similar to the one of Wheldon. The monocoque has proven it's safety and stability. What happened to Felipe Massa is an isolated case as far as I know. I can't believe this is even being discussed and that the votes are split almost evenly. If anything, the only issue is that Indy Cars need to start adapting Formula1-type technology.


An enclosed cockpit probably wouldn't have helped Dan in the accident.


they know the risks when they get in the car


I don't necessarily favour the idea of a closed cockpit because it does seem to take away the "purity" of the sport. However, given that technology is constantly improving these days and the cars become faster and faster, I think this has to be compensated somehow. Hence I think safety should be factored in.


Yes, it may take away from the purity of the cars, but driver safety must be first and foremost.

@LBH188, so glad you posted that video, any of those who say no should take a watch. A similar canopy could have saved the lives of Henry Surtees, Senna, etc. Need we say more?

The sport must continue to evolve, and just because the car has a canopy does not mean the racing has to suffer.


History of Formula 1, this is an open cockpit. Moreover, in a closed cabin will have a zero razrobatyvat entire security system. In fact rider must leave the car in seconds. What if you close the cockpit will make more difficult. Although the dream can be a system of shooting bubble cockpit, in the style of the fighter interceptor.

?.?. ??? ??? ???????? ?? ??? ??????????)

PS Once again, sorry for my english)


Indy + Nascrap oval = Fail


when you decide to get in one of these machines and do what they do you assume the inherent risk......only the drivers have a vote here in my opinion, anyone else's vote matters not as they aren't taking any risk


Lol at the emergency deployment idea


At face value it seems like a yes. But now imagine an open wheel car upside down and on fire. How would you get the canopy open in time if its stuck on the ground?


This is only my opinion, but as far as the open cockpit being described as a defining feature, i believe it always will be, with no question about it. Open cockpit adding a sense a purity to the sport, i see where anyone would think that but we all know the driver is still in that cockpit, and those who follow the sport will always know who is who. I agree with the answer Tony Stewart responded with, and that safety should always be top priority, especially with F1 speeds. It kills me to say it ultimately, because im not a fan for the safety of any street car or track car, i don't wear a seat belt and i hate backup censors and dings to let you know the keys in the ignition, learn to drive. I think they should switch to closed cockpits, but in the end, if it is going to happen, it wouldn't be our choice.


For people that are wondering about the closed canopy design. You all do realize that it's the same canopy used on military fighter jets? Basically it can take a giant turkey at sonic speeds and not be destroyed. They launched a tire at it and the tire just bounced off. So it's not the same plastic you find in your bic pen...



I'm surprised how many people said yes. In the long run, an open cockpit would be safer to have in my opinion. If F1 or IndyCar want more top-side protection, they should add stiffer roll bars, or in IndyCar's case, attempt to keep the cars on the ground.


Yes...nearly all other motorsport with fast cars have closed cockpits AND a ROLL CAGE...

Why hasn't F1 of all motorsport not see the need to protect their PILOTS?

Fact: an F1 car is the most flimsy and weakest car to crash in


The heat factor alone would bake the driver.

Stop trying to turn racing into another 'sanitized for your convenience' occurence. They've killed the good fast tracks that require the driver to actually drive and tried to keep costs down by adding more expensive regen braking. Leave the cars open cockpit. Jeez, what's next - closed wheels to protect a piece of rubber from hitting someone? Ooooo careful; those tear off visors might cause injury....

It is racing. It is dangerous and sometimes people die. If that bothers you, I'd suggest backgammon...


No the introduction of a closed cockpit could introduce its own dangers as well as change the aerodynamics of the sport as well. This is the big kids go karts, I would be over joyed to get to drive an open-wheel race car, why would I want a cockpit surrounding me. I should go drive gt3 or nascar if that is the case.

Giving the option of a cockpit or not would only create an advantage in aerodynamics for those who chose the cockpit.

Saying that a closed canopy would have saved his life is like saying if only they were travelling 40 mph it wouldn't have happened either. It is tragic he lost his life, but when he stepped into that car he knew the speeds he would be travelling and the risk he was taking.


For me its not a matter of closed or open cockpits but rather should they be driving in Oval Tracks that are designed for NASCAR style draft trains? Other accidents on smaller Oval tracks have been minor (compared to this one obviously). Maybe they should only bring Indy if you will to short tracks like New Hampshire. While personally I wish they were not on the schedule I do understand that some people enjoy them.


Might as well be Le Mans cars......

oh and "Fact: an F1 car is the most flimsy and weakest car to crash in" is just plain wrong.



I'll take a different perspective on this. Although F1 & Indy run open cockpits, they are apple and oranges. The track design & racing style is completely different and I think the bigger "safety" problem. Circle tracks are a lot more prone to danger because cars are always bunched up, traveling at high speeds on avg, and run 28+ cars on a small distance track. With these examples there is bound to be a pile up or touch when entering a corner especially three wide. When was the last time you saw three wide at Suzuka through 130r? Run off area? It is not the same, don't bunch this up as one.

Adding a cockpit will not solve the problem. People will still fucking die if they hit a bank at 180mph. Motor racing is a risk, you choose to take that risk for the thrill and excitement. Now read my header again.


Nope. Accidents happen. Thats that. The drivers know what theyre risking when they get inside the racecar.

Might as well have freakin airbags while your at it


If "safety" is the most important thing, then why not just watch people race against each other on Forza? Seriously. Racing is safer (and not coincidentally) more boring than its ever been. Back in the good old days, race cars were pure, light, and beautiful. Race tracks were beautiful venues with trees lining the streets. It was dangerous. Lotus and Ferrari went through some of the best drivers that ever lived by the bushel. Farrrrr better than the cowardly whiners who like to call themselves racecar drivers today. But that was part of racing. The stakes were high, every race important, and the glory actually meant something. You used to had to have balls to race. Now every loser with a trust fund can do it. These guys today, who want to take every aspect out of risk out of the sport, and then proclaim themselves as a champion, are a joke. Stick to xbox if you are so concerned for your safety. And remember to take a 15 minute break every hour.


No. There will always be deaths in motorsports, its a fact of racing. The cars are already really safe, at least in the case of F1. I think it was on top gear or something that Lewis Hamilton said that you'd have to try pretty hard to kill yourself in a modern F1 car.

Look at closed-cockpit racing, theres still deaths and crashes in that. No matter what we do, we will always have to deal with that. Open wheel should stay open wheel, but by no means should the pursuit of safety be halted. Just look in other areas. I mean is motorcycle racing going to start requiring large "bubbles" around bikes for safety? It's part of the sport.


It would be nice if someone could devise the safety foam from Demolition Man.


Simple answer NO. Bottom line is, racing is a dangerous sport, and there is no way around that.


honestly I think its a good idea, it would be beneficial to aerodynamics too so I dont see it as any loss.


I think it was said earlier that the best thing to do is give it a trial run. Test, and test, and test again until the design is at it's best. I'm sure F1's billions of R&D dollars/euros will insure of that. Nobody likes radical changes to the sport they love, and considering this has never been officially employed by F1 before, this change is pretty radical. In the end, it's not our lives and we're not the drivers. Discussion is great, but the lives that are at risk should have the final say, I feel. Also, we've all seen just how sunken into the cockpit the driver already is in attempts to eliminate drag, wouldn't a proper aerodynamic shell be an improvement on lap times?


The open cockpits are just a legacy from the early early days of motorsport. Keeping things the same just because thats the way they've always been is not a valid reason.

If anything they should be using closed cockpits to reduce drag and increase speed. Same argument goes for the open wheels, why do we still have them, the cars could be much faster if they enclosed them.

I applaud Indycar and their new car with semi enclosed rear wheels. Its unconventional and thats good.

Get with the times I say, stop living in the past !


Maybe make THICKER visors or upperbody 'armour' to resit debris better. or a 'mini' windshield so any debris either hits the helmet or is re-directed from the windscreen (2-3" high max)

cockpits are great until your trapped upside down - unless the plastic is so flimsy the driver can just 'bend' it.. but then it'd probably bend under the high speed/g forces of F1.


What about Marco Simoncelli's crash in Moto GP? Are you going to put training wheels on motorcycles now because of the incident? No one is forcing these drivers to drive open cockpit cars, they choose to do it and there are plenty of classes people can race in with rooves. At the end of the day it's one of the defining aspects of F1 cars.

It's just another excuse for the fun police to come in and tell people what to do. Are the drivers calling for enclosed cockpits? I doubt it.


i dont think the cockpit or car is the issue. its the tracks

its the fact that the indy cars (which go extremely quick and rely on aero so much) are hurtling round a concrete bowl so close together. all good for a fullbody car (ala: nascar) to do so, they can rub and bump etc. the moment two tyres touch in indy the cars go haywire

put indy cars on road circuits only. leave the hurrrrdurrr oval racing for fullbodied nascar


Thats a great idea F1 has been around a long time, I mean if they would of put a roof on there cars long ago........oh yea we would have more dead drivers, like all sports and other thing we do willingly there are risk we take. R.I.P. to the man who died I don't follow F1 but its still sucks that accidents happen, but it doesnt mean we have to change anything. You see 1st it would be the roofs and everything would be cool for a while then someone else dies because of the open wheels , then what? Now if the other drivers were the one asking for this then hey let them op in if they want. The only thing I see is that our local government (where ever you live) can learn something here. If seen no so big city let 10 of more car accidents happen before they fix a street and how its set up, but this organization has one REALLY BAD Death and they want to rethink how they race? I don't mean to sound like an ass and I don't want to pizz off anyone but thats just how i feel....BTW the answer is NO!


Think of how cool it would have been to see Hamilton's face as Maldonado ran into him at Spa. That would be funny as hell! That's the stuff we could see happen with cockpits. Open Face helmets and facial expressions. Like Luke Skywalker in the X-Wing. And less pain. Next level.


It wouldn't make a huge difference, you will still be able to see the driver. The drivers do need more protection were it be making a overhead cockpit or a different sort of protection.


When it comes to any motor vehicle, safety should be a top priority, so if closed cockpits really do increase a drivers chances of escaping injury or death then lets close the cockpits. However this is motorsport and the regulations have stifled innovation. Racing vehicles could be much faster with more leeway in rule books and as a result drivers could shatter old records and push the limits again. If you took a driver from the 1930's grand prix era and asked them to race the Red Bull X1 they wouldnt bat an eyelash. They were daring people. Motorsport by definition should have a fine line between the limits and safety.


are we going to add fenders too??..


when was the last death in F1 ? about 15 years ago yes? If i say so my self the stats speak for themselves


If they get more power due to the increased safety -> YES!

if not.. NO


anyone who puts "purity" of the motorsport above safety should go have a nice talk with Dan Wheldon's family. i think that it would be a very good improvement for the cars, aerodynamically speaking. i think that it would be very good if they implemented a fighter jet style cockpit, or put in a roll cage that protects the driver's heads in the event of a roll or collision with a retaining fence.


In the case of Dan Wheldon, it wasn't the car that killed him - it was his racing environment. Dozens of cars, concrete walls, no run-off areas, no kitty litter and no tire barriers against walls to absorb the impact. Oval circuit racing might be safe for a Nascar Stock car, but in an Indycar its a recipe for death. Formula 1 manages to keep its racing code relatively safe; how many accidents per race are there in an F1 race? Compared to how many accidents per race when Nascar and Indycars are running on the oval tracks?


safe, safe, safe, safe, safe....

bolloccks, motorsport is dangerous, life is dangerous. it was unfortunate what has happened to Dan, but he did what he enjoyed knowing it carried a certain danger and for many this is a major attraction. I cross the road everyday which is dangerous but I accept the danger because I am attracted to the other side for whatever motivation. In the end, it is up to the individual what they are prepared to accept.


yeah, if i brings out cars like the red bull x1 i'm all for it...

otherwise no closed cockpits. like "hello" said the last death in f1 was quite some time ago!


Safety first, as long as it will withstand impacts then a cockpit lid should be introduced. Of course it brings its own risks. What if its sealed and will not release and a fire occurs.

Awful lot of design and complex engineering to consider.


Im sorry but who cares if you can see the drivers helmet? Does that make open wheel racing what it is? IMO, i usually can identify the driver by the car they drive, position, etc. Basically, theres more than one way to know whos who without sacrificing safety.


Closed cockpits are more aerodynamic and safe.

If F1 was really the apogee of motorsport, this wouldn't be a question.


I like open cockpits and what they represent in essence, its similar to motorcycles and i love motorcycles, f1 cars like bikes have a special essence to them because of this that cars don't, but the purpose of the sport is driving and doing it the fastest possible, thats whats interesting, not putting someone at risk. Right now f1 is handicapping by implementing regulations like limiting tire with, wing size, engine capacity, etc. all this to slow down the cars to make them safer, than sucks, if closed cockpits will bring us faster less restricted (due to safety concerns) and more impressive cars I say yes, close cockpits it is, and get rid of those littles spoilers and all those limitations, what ever it takes to let those f1 roam free!


Not only would it be safer, it would also look pretty awesome.


I think the bigger issue is that the cars are all the same. That's the problem with racing these days nobody can spread out. Look at Bill Elliott's Talladega record not only did he set the bar at 216 that year he came back from 2 laps down and won the race. You used to see that kind of thing in racing now we have to give people a lap back. People shouldn't be so quick to want changes, tragedies happen its apart of racing. Look at Indy 1973 Art Pollard, Swede Savage, Salt Walther. Nobody wanted to finish that race it took 3 days to finish it. If you really want to make the cars safer I say go back to the 1966 era like the Eagle T1G, the pre-wing era. If you want to slow them down that's the best way to do it.

Here's a link to the 1973 story,


There are all kinds of old wreck videos on youtube. I think some people who are newer to racing don't realize just how many men have been lost to this sport over the years. Many guys have died trying to innovate and go faster.


Surely the most obvious option, ask the drivers? They are the people that can best assess the risks, benefits and necessity of the closed cockpit. Safety is the most important aspect in motorsport by a country mile and personally I'd rather see the end of all motorsports before I see someone die unnecessarily because some fan boys that have no idea about motorsport cry about the lack of 'purity'.


I voted against open wheelers having closed cockpits, as much as I dislike F1 and other open-wheel series.

Before a professional driver straps himself into a car, he has entered a contract to race that car. There is no coercion, he or she always has the ability to say no. There is always the ability to kart instead, to race SCCA sedans rather than F1 or Indy, but these drivers have made the choice. They've weighed the options and they chose to drive what they drive.

I track my 240 without a roll bar or cage. Do I feel like I'm taking an unnecessary risk? No. I'm out there pushing the car as hard as I can without regard for safety, as there's simply no time to worry when you're attempting to drive as fast as possible.

The peanut gallery has no business meddling in racing, nor do politicians, nor do news outlets. The people in motorsports should consider what an acceptable level of risk is and go from there. This is a function of incorrect application of racing series to a track and nothing more.

Move along, people, your jerking knees aren't helping.