Interviews with Forghieri and Dallara on saftey

The Italian website 422race.com had two exclusive interviews to engineers Mauro Forghieri (12 times World Champion as Ferrari technical director) and Gian Paolo Dallara (founder of Dallara, which will build the Campos F1 cars in 2010) about the ...

The Italian website 422race.com had two exclusive interviews to engineers Mauro Forghieri (12 times World Champion as Ferrari technical director) and Gian Paolo Dallara (founder of Dallara, which will build the Campos F1 cars in 2010) about the recent accidents in motorsport and their ideas to improve safety.

Mauro Forghieri: "I can say that today's Formula One cars are very safe. Of course they are not made to resist to bullets. If one shots with a bazooka, cars cannot resist. A spring like the one recieved by Massa, at that speed, is like a bullet. Also the accident of the poor Surtees son is similar. In races you can encounter very different situations, difficult to evaluate. I've heard about canopies. Even if you could realize that, I'm very skeptic, also for visibility reasons: today you already hear that Formula One is boring. If we also cover the driver, he coudd see nothing. You cannot hope to resist to bullets. Let's remember, for instance, Jacques Villeneuve's accident in Australia or Kubica's in Canada: if something like that happens and the car goes towards another one, what could a canopy do? The cars would destroy. You cannot anticipate every situation. If I had to choose - I wouldn't be the right man - I would put a roll-bar in front of the driver's head, without affecting the visibility. We did something like that in some situations on some cars. But this would bring important complications. One thing, instead, would be more important. The spring went away from a car. Cars have a minimum weight that they reach with a ballast put in the bottom of the car, to be able to move it on the left or on the right and so to set up the car. This year the difference between the KERS and the non-KERS cars is that the former can use just 40 kilos of ballast, the latter almost 80. This is why, probably, the non-KERS cars are faster than the other ones. Shouldn't we impose a minimum weight without the ballast, so we could avoid to build pieces so on the limit?"

Gian Paolo Dallara: "There is an unprotected zone. If the resistance of the cars in general has improved, the area ahead of the driver is still open. It's a difficult problem to solve, but we have to try. We must remember the possibility of the driver to leave the car quickly. Then we must define standards: any protection has to resist a given weight at a certain speed. We have to evaluate if there are technical solution to respect these standards. We cannot reach 100% safety. Of course we see how dangerous is a rock on the highway, even at lower speeds. But to higher the standards is possible. The spring has a little weight, with a tyre the solution is more complicated. Now there is another ranger, above all in the junior Formulae. Driver think they are immune. They can suffer whatever accident, going above the limit, and the worst problem they have is a money one, to buy the spares. This is very dangerous. We have to do everything possible to make motorsport more safe, but at the same time the drivers must always remember that thay have to be very careful. Speed itself is dangerous."

The complete interview (in Italian) is available at www.422race.com.

-credit: 422race

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve
Teams Ferrari