Teams consider closed canopies to protect drivers

Nuerburgring: Formula One teams are considering covering the cockpit of cars to protect their drivers following Felipe Massa`s freak accident in Hungary two years ago.

Renault technical director James Allison, the head of the Formula One Teams` Association technical regulations working group, told reporters at the German Grand Prix on Friday that various ideas were being discussed with the governing FIA.

"We are trying to look after the driver`s head," he said, recalling Ferrari`s Massa being struck on the helmet by a bouncing spring and suffering serious head injuries.

"There are various suggestions around. They are all in very early discussions."

A canopy, which would enclose a driver like a sportscar, a visor or a roll structure on the front of the car are possible options if a radical change is decided upon.

"The closed canopy would have an aerodynamic effect," Allison added, saying it could in fact speed cars up although trying to keep the transparent structure clean would prove difficult.

Safety, and the quick extraction of a driver in the event of a crash, would also be a concern -- particularly if a car overturned.

The International Automobile Federation`s Institute recently conducted tests that involved firing a Formula One wheel and tyre, together weighing 20kg, from cannon at a jet fighter canopy at 225kph.

Bureau Report

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