Death of Sheffield driver could lead to safety improvements in racing

Sheffield's Justin Wilson took an emphatic second win of the season in the Champ Car World series finale in Mexico City, unchallenged from pole position, in a dominant lights-to-flag victory, securing him 3rd-place in the Championship table.
Sheffield's Justin Wilson took an emphatic second win of the season in the Champ Car World series finale in Mexico City, unchallenged from pole position, in a dominant lights-to-flag victory, securing him 3rd-place in the Championship table.

The death of a Sheffield-born driver during an IndyCar race could lead to closed or protected cockpits in the future to save lives, according to Formula One ace Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton said he believes they are the ‘future’ of single-seater racing.

The controversial concept is back on the agenda at this week’s Italian Grand Prix following the death of Justin Wilson, who was struck on his crash helmet by a piece of debris during an IndyCar race in Pennsylvania last month.

He succumbed to his injuries a little over 24 hours later.

Formula One’s governing body the FIA will test two different ideas aimed at protecting driver’s heads from flying objects later this month.

And Hamilton, although not a firm believer in the concept, said it is only a matter of time before it is introduced to Formula One.

“It is a difficult one as I am torn - on one side I see closed cockpits as the future, but growing up watching the sport and Ayrton Senna’s generation racing it has always been open cockpits,” said Hamilton.

“It is difficult to change minds but sometimes change is the way forward.

“I don’t know if I would like it. It would feel strange if you had a canopy or a window over your head, but we are in a time when we have had too many fatalities.

“Whilst there has been a lot less than 20 years ago it is still too many. We shouldn’t have any so we have got to make changes to improve, not only in Formula One but in the other classes too.

“Maybe it does not have to be closed, maybe there are different mechanisms that we can have to try and help and I think people are exploring ideas.”