The Eighties

John Watson (GBR) brings the McLaren MP4/1 out of the Silverstone pit garage for its first test. Ron Dennis (GBR) McLaren Team Principal (far right). This car was the very first carbon monocoque F1 car. McLaren MP4/1 First Test, Silverstone, England, 1981. World © Phipps/Sutton Nelson Piquet (BRA) Brabham BMW BT52 fuel and tyre stop German Grand Prix, Hockenheim, 7 August 1983. World © Sutton Nigel Mansell in the Williams. © Williams F1 Race winner Alain Prost (FRA) McLaren MP4/4 reflects on how he scored eleven more points than Senna in the World Championship yet came second overall because of the scoring system. Australian Grand Prix, Adelaide, 13 November 1988. World © Sutton

In the Eighties, the most significant safety development in Formula One racing is the monocoque. McLaren and Lotus are the first teams to make safety cells out of carbon fibre, which provides considerably more impact protection than the aluminium composition used previously.

1981:
- The safety cell is extended to include the driver’s foot area.

1984:
- Refuelling during the race is prohibited, and the fuel tank must be located between the driver and the engine.

1985:
- Initial crash tests are used to determine the effects of frontal impact.

1986:
- Helicopters must stand ready for circuit medical personnel.

1987:
- The FIA regulates safety on permanent racing tracks.

1988:
- Crash tests for the safety cell and the fuel tank.
- The driver’s feet must be behind the front axle.

1989:
- Safety walls must be at least one metre high, and the pit wall must have a minimum height of 1.35 metres.
- Doping tests are introduced similar to those of the International Olympic Committee.

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