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BennettRacing

Original Poster:

729 posts

97 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st February 2012 quote quote all

Bit of an open topic here but its been playing on my mind. Just watched the Senna film made going over his career etc and of course his death. In the film it shows quite a few crashes which for want of a better phrase made me feel ill, especially the Martin Donnolly one, the entire seat/seat belts breaks out of the car.

Anyway, it got me thinking about a typical funny car/altered/dragster chassis, there is no protection other than a seat from objects penetrating in a crash, none at all, the driver is so exposed, when you compare an F1 cockpit to drag racing.

Have a look at this link, pretty much what Don Schumacher has just introduced.

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/groups/f1...losed-cockp...

Now I am not saying that funny cars and altereds should have canopies but am just opening a discussion on safety in general in this sport.

One place I think they are weak is side impact from debris/tyre/whatever, thought about welding tabs to the outside of chassis and fitting Kevlar to the outside, so that this stops things going right through the seat etc.

Obviously there have been steps to improve safety such as roll cage shields etc etc and I am not disputing drag racing rules etc, purely want to make our cars safer.

Any comments/suggestions?!


topfuelgb

144 posts

64 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st February 2012 quote quote all
good point and i thought ALOT about this while racing in TF.
We wanted to enclose the cockpit then, moreover i did, mainly due to stuff flying AT you.
All is well when going forward, but upside down, backwards etc doesnt get thought about so much.
Main idea i REALLY liked, was not just an enclosed cockpit, but a re-inforced one



It would be kinda like this one on george schreibers jet car, but if you imagine the white vertical posts as chrome molly tubes with lexan between them you get the idea.
I really hate to draw comparisons, but this kinda thing would have 'possibly' saved mark niver when he crashed last year.
I do understand you can overthink this stuff, but in an open altered, ie bantam or t, youre really exposed to the blower, injector going pop in your face, or in a few peoples cases, a bird strike!
The idea of more shields around the driver are always a great idea, everyone spends alot of time thinking how to go fast, and need to spend more time on the 'what ifs', because they can and have happened!

Tet

1,064 posts

90 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st February 2012 quote quote all
I never felt the need for an enclosed cockpit when I was driving a dragster (admittedly somewhat slower than Darryl), but the lack of side impact protection was certainly on my mind and I'd be happy to see moves to improve that.

Flying Toilet

3,384 posts

97 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st February 2012 quote quote all
I thought Mark Nivers death was due to the steering going back into the cockpit?

topfuelgb

144 posts

64 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st February 2012 quote quote all
Flying Toilet said:
I thought Mark Nivers death was due to the steering going back into the cockpit?
i think it was a combination but im really not sure thats why i said 'possibly'.
Im sorry to say i saw it on tv and it 'looked' like the front end of the car hit the net and snapped back - literally - folding over and entered the cockpit.
i dont want to dwell on what happened at all, and maybe i shouldnt have mentioned it, but i just like the idea of a re-inforced canopy/cockpit cover from safety standpoint.
I hate to say i do have personal experience of this when Micke crashed and nearly took me with him into the field.
Biggest problem after the car had gone was all the parts and pieces bouncing at me.
I know i am no expert at all, and much more highly qualified people than me im sure, can suggest something easier and safersmile



Edited by topfuelgb on Wednesday 1st February 16:23


Edited by topfuelgb on Wednesday 1st February 16:24

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BennettRacing

Original Poster:

729 posts

97 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st February 2012 quote quote all
topfuelgb said:
good point and i thought ALOT about this while racing in TF.
We wanted to enclose the cockpit then, moreover i did, mainly due to stuff flying AT you.
All is well when going forward, but upside down, backwards etc doesnt get thought about so much.
Main idea i REALLY liked, was not just an enclosed cockpit, but a re-inforced one



It would be kinda like this one on george schreibers jet car, but if you imagine the white vertical posts as chrome molly tubes with lexan between them you get the idea.
I really hate to draw comparisons, but this kinda thing would have 'possibly' saved mark niver when he crashed last year.
I do understand you can overthink this stuff, but in an open altered, ie bantam or t, youre really exposed to the blower, injector going pop in your face, or in a few peoples cases, a bird strike!
The idea of more shields around the driver are always a great idea, everyone spends alot of time thinking how to go fast, and need to spend more time on the 'what ifs', because they can and have happened!
I pretty much think about safety 50% of time, we added cross brace to our chassis in 2005 and Butler head protection too. Not trying to sound like a hero but your right, going faster is great but safety needs to follow hand in hand.

I don't want to make a comment to upset or offend friends/family of Mark but I feel you might be right, like you say we don't know exact details of that crash but from what I gather the front end folded up and struck him. At low speeds too (in drag racing terms).

Just feel that when you actually look at a chassis for example a funny car all you have for side intrusion is frame rails and then an ali or carbon seat, carbon fibre being the stronger but I just feel that on the outside of the chassis there should be extra protection.

I am already looking into adding a 'cocoon' around legs/feet areas of our cars too, now I am not trying to say my Bantam is a 4 seconds nitro car but as an example Senna crashed at 135mph which my old 23T wasn't a million miles from in speed.


BennettRacing

Original Poster:

729 posts

97 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st February 2012 quote quote all
Tet said:
I never felt the need for an enclosed cockpit when I was driving a dragster (admittedly somewhat slower than Darryl), but the lack of side impact protection was certainly on my mind and I'd be happy to see moves to improve that.
Same here in my 23T its never entered my mind but even at 100mph I wouldn't really fancy having a crow hit my helmet, as you say side impact too. Cars are very limited in this respect.

BennettRacing

Original Poster:

729 posts

97 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st February 2012 quote quote all
Flying Toilet said:
I thought Mark Nivers death was due to the steering going back into the cockpit?
This is another subject too, think about most centre steer cars, in an impact where does steering/shaft go???

topfuelgb

144 posts

64 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st February 2012 quote quote all
BennettRacing said:
This is another subject too, think about most centre steer cars, in an impact where does steering/shaft go???
All have a collapsable joint in the middle.
mainly to stop precisely that happening!

Tet

1,064 posts

90 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st February 2012 quote quote all
BennettRacing said:
At low speeds too (in drag racing terms).
That's something Frank Hawley pointed out when I drove a dragster at his racing school. If you're turning off the track at the top end, half the time you'll have to cross the path of the vehicle in the other lane. Even if they're well off the throttle, there's every chance they're still idling along at 50mph and if you cut across in front of them, the lack of side impact protection could result in very unpleasant consequences. I'm sometimes alarmed at how little attention people pay when turning off the track. Not all drag racing incidents happen at high speeds.

BennettRacing

Original Poster:

729 posts

97 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st February 2012 quote quote all
topfuelgb said:
BennettRacing said:
This is another subject too, think about most centre steer cars, in an impact where does steering/shaft go???
All have a collapsable joint in the middle.
mainly to stop precisely that happening!
But I'd bet that 99 out of a 100 front impacts result in some or all ending up too near the driver.


BennettRacing

Original Poster:

729 posts

97 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st February 2012 quote quote all
Tet said:
BennettRacing said:
At low speeds too (in drag racing terms).
That's something Frank Hawley pointed out when I drove a dragster at his racing school. If you're turning off the track at the top end, half the time you'll have to cross the path of the vehicle in the other lane. Even if they're well off the throttle, there's every chance they're still idling along at 50mph and if you cut across in front of them, the lack of side impact protection could result in very unpleasant consequences. I'm sometimes alarmed at how little attention people pay when turning off the track. Not all drag racing incidents happen at high speeds.
Exactly. Great point, whenever I raced someone and I am in the lane furthest from the exit I ALWAYS made sure I let them go first.

BennettRacing

Original Poster:

729 posts

97 months

peterwalters

229 posts

97 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st February 2012 quote quote all
Quote from Schumacher..

"People say, 'What if you're on fire?' It's a high-pressure area. It's not low-pressure. Air come sup the front. you’re pushing air through it. Fire should not be able to push up inside of it. I have a three-pound fire extinguisher system in it, like the Funny Cars have. IF I'm upside down and IF I'm on fire and IF it won’t open and IF I'm knocked out and IF Safety Safari takes the weekend off and If my fire bottles don't work, I might get hot"

CH3NO2ADDICT

55 posts

52 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st February 2012 quote quote all
Just a thought ...

I wonder if the resourcecs of our governing body could be drawn upon? (I bet they have more money than you can shake a stick at).

The FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety and Sustainability could perhaps do research into dragster safety topics or provide guidance about existing research and its relevance to our sport?




Burndown

711 posts

52 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st February 2012 quote quote all
CH3NO2ADDICT said:
Just a thought ...

I wonder if the resourcecs of our governing body could be drawn upon? (I bet they have more money than you can shake a stick at).

The FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety and Sustainability could perhaps do research into dragster safety topics or provide guidance about existing research and its relevance to our sport?
I think this is the most important point. Safety changes need to be backed up with testing and scientifically proven to be an improvement.

Teams could make changes that they perceive to be a safety improvement, but can actually could make things more dangerous. It might seem obvious to enclose the driver more to protect them from objects entering the cockpit. However this needs to be carefully considered as the "improvement" could decrease the chance of a driver being hit by debris, but increase the chance of them being stuck in the cockpit if the chain of events work against them.

BennettRacing

Original Poster:

729 posts

97 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st February 2012 quote quote all
Burndown said:
I think this is the most important point. Safety changes need to be backed up with testing and scientifically proven to be an improvement.

Teams could make changes that they perceive to be a safety improvement, but can actually could make things more dangerous. It might seem obvious to enclose the driver more to protect them from objects entering the cockpit. However this needs to be carefully considered as the "improvement" could decrease the chance of a driver being hit by debris, but increase the chance of them being stuck in the cockpit if the chain of events work against them.
Agree to a point. Enclosing drivers is not a new idea, I've already been sent photos of a funny car with enclosed cockpit and is safer.
I think bodges could be worse but anything done right will add to making cars safer.

BennettRacing

Original Poster:

729 posts

97 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st February 2012 quote quote all
CH3NO2ADDICT said:
Just a thought ...

I wonder if the resourcecs of our governing body could be drawn upon? (I bet they have more money than you can shake a stick at).

The FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety and Sustainability could perhaps do research into dragster safety topics or provide guidance about existing research and its relevance to our sport?
Great idea. Emails sent :-)

Burndown

711 posts

52 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st February 2012 quote quote all
Does anyone know if Fuel cars now have the rear wheels tethered? After Antron Browns wheel flew into the crowd. That must be over a year ago now.

BennettRacing

Original Poster:

729 posts

97 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st February 2012 quote quote all
Burndown said:
Does anyone know if Fuel cars now have the rear wheels tethered? After Antron Browns wheel flew into the crowd. That must be over a year ago now.
If they haven't then they should. To a degree cars over a certain HP should all have.

Anyone wanting to argue with that one, tell that to the family of the lady killed by that wheel. And no I am not blaming Antron or DS Racing in the slightest, was purely a bad bad accident.
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