Dan Wheldon’s death could have sped up efforts to end the long era of open-cockpit racing.
F1’s governing body earlier this year, in response to the F1 and F2 incidents in 2009 involving Felipe Massa and Henry Surtees, tested screens and fighter jet-style canopies for possible use in the future.
Now, days after Briton Wheldon was killed when his Indycar overturned and struck catch-fencing in Las Vegas, former FIA president Max Mosley said of the canopy idea: “I think it could work.
“You’re always in danger, in an open cockpit, of objects striking the driver. It (the canopy) might also help if it’s reinforced with another roll bar, in things like the Dan Wheldon accident,” he told CNN.
“But that’s something that needs careful investigation.”
Mosley admitted that an unwanted side-effect of a cockpit canopy would be its aerodynamic effect.
“One of the troubles is that it would probably make the car quicker, which is just what we don’t want. But there are other means of slowing them down,” he said.
Yet more problems are that dirty canopies will affect driver visibility, while in severe accidents the cover might prevent marshals and doctors from extricating injured drivers.
“All of that will be looked at by a technical working group if it turns out the thing would protect the driver better,” insisted Mosley.
“What I do know is we’ve got some very clever people, looking full-time at these problems.”