Former Ferrari star Rubens Barrichello has told Motorsport.com that only science should be used as evidence to mandate the use of closed cockpits in Formula 1.
Barrichello, 43, who won 11 Grands Prix from 322 starts, says it is up to the experts to decide when data from crash testing proves that a closed-cockpit solution would be safer than an open design.
“Only science can show us what is right and what is wrong,” said Barrichello. “Formula 1 always had open cockpits, and we'll have people complaining and people thinking that it's fine to continue.
“Actually, motorsport will never be safe. But if we had a recovery vehicle on the track, you can have a cockpit made with whatever – you’re still gonna hurt yourself.
“But if you crash where cars are supposed to crash, with the new race tracks there is a lot of safety. But only crash tests and science can prove one thing or another.”
Burti “not in favour” of changes
Fellow Brazilian Luciano Burti, who also suffered facial injuries and concussion in a huge crash in the 2001 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa that effectively curtailed his F1 career, remains adamant that open cockpits are in the sport’s “DNA”.
“I am not in favour of this change,” he said. “I say this despite having had a big crash in this way in F1. It's difficult to give your view about this, because maybe a closed cockpit could have saved [Jules] Bianchi's life?
“So, thinking like this, you cannot be against. But thinking just about the sport, I don't wanna see this change. It's even called open-wheel, so it should be like this.
“I will never be against something that brings more safety to the championship. But, at the same time, F1 has this DNA. The concept of a formula car is the driver's head being visible, something that we don’t have in a touring car. If you change this, will be bad for F1.”
Interviews by Gabriel Lima