Jenson Button calls for introduction of cockpit canopies in F1
"I think we've all had enough now," McLaren driver says in the wake of Justin Wilson's fatal accident
By Mike Wise
Last Updated: 09/09/15 1:13pm
The subject of cockpit canopies is back on F1's agenda in the wake of Justin Wilson's tragic accident in an IndyCar race two weeks ago, with most drivers saying that they should at least be looked at.
Wilson died in hospital the day after he was struck on the head by a piece of debris from another car at the Pocono Raceway on August 23. The accident came less than two months after Jules Bianchi succumbed to head injuries he suffered in last year's Japanese GP.
Asked ahead of this weekend's Italian GP whether cockpits should now be enclosed, both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso said it should be considered. However, Jenson Button was particularly adamant.
"I've always been one for saying these are open-wheeled cars and they should stay as open cockpits," he told Sky Sports News HQ. "But I think we've all had enough now. Something has to be done and it's always a shame that it takes a death for people to really pay attention and change things.
"It's the same for all of us; you just go along and you think 'I'll be fine, I'll be fine'. And I think it's proven time and time again that it's not. We've got to do something and if it's canopies, it's canopies."
Daniel Ricciardo agreed. "Formula 1 cars have come such a long way and the safety's been amazing. And that's, for me, the last piece of the puzzle," he said.
"Recently, we've had two tragic ones and I don't really want to see that again."
Yet Martin Brundle expressed caution and pointed out that canopies might create problems as well as solve them.
"I'm not against closed canopies to an extent," he said. "The framework is going to look really ugly and you've got other issues then of getting the driver out after a big accident - if the car's upside down or on fire, as we saw with Lewis Hamilton last year in Hungary. You've got to make sure you don't create bigger issues.
"If we can find a good way and it's effective... But there are injuries, for example, with Jules Bianchi, that no canopy would have saved his life. And it's the same in other crashes as well.
"And then you've got issues of visibility - flies, oil, wipers, fogging up - or if it is a frame, the visibility of the driver."
The Sky Sports F1 commentator also said that while risk should be minimised, it's also intrinsic to the sport and part of its attraction.
"Motor sport will always, and I think, should always be dangerous. You're going to go round here at well over 200mph, you're going to have to take some risks," Brundle added.
"Now if you don't want to do that, don't do it. No-one forces the driver to get in.
"That's not to say we shouldn't keep improving safety, of course.
"You can't stay at home because more people die at home than anywhere else. There's going to be some danger in this, but let's keep trying to move it forward."