Part Four - tunnels, tests & training
Since 1950, the speed, technology and glamour of Formula One racing has attracted people from all over the globe. And as the sport has developed, with the cars getting faster and the drivers younger, safety has become an increasingly important consideration for everyone involved.
In the early days, serious, even fatal crashes were almost an accepted part of a Grand Prix weekend. Nowadays, however, the FIA, the teams and event organisers all work to maintain the very highest safety standards. Extensive regulations, dedicated personnel and ground-breaking technology unite in managing the risks so that the fans can concentrate on whats really important - the race!
Did you know ?
- that the pit lane is divided into two driving lanes for safety reasons? The lane along the pit wall is the fast lane, and the other in front of the garages is the inner lane. It is only permitted to work on the cars - for instance, during a pit stop - in a specified area of the inner lane.
- that the FIA made the 400 metre-long tunnel in Monaco safer for the drivers by installing better lighting? Since 2001, an optical system has redirected sunlight into the tunnels interior, creating a cone of light that makes entering the dark concrete tube easier for the drivers and provides almost optimal illumination inside the tunnel.
- that helmets have been compulsory in Formula One since 1953? Modern helmets consist of three main substances: carbon fibre for rigidity, fire-resistant aramide and polyethylene, which is designed to make the helmet shell impenetrable. A modern Formula One helmet weighs only about 1,250 grams.
- that there are now there are five dynamic tests as well as 13 static loading tests during crash tests in Formula One, which were originally introduced in 1985. The chassis is driven against a wall head on at 15 metres per second (54 km/h), sideways at 10 metres per second (36 km/h) and backwards at 11 metres per second (39.6 km/h).
- that the monocoque, the safety cell for the driver, consists of up to 12 layers of carbon and weighs less than 60 kilograms?
- that the 557 marshals and the 177 fire-brigade staff deployed at the Malaysian Grand Prix are given three weeks training before the race? This is intended to increase the safety for everyone involved.
- that mobile response teams include four salvage cars (S-cars) and two rescue cars (R-cars) as well as two extrication teams? The S-cars are equipped with a rescue cutter and extinguishing agents and, if necessary in an emergency, are able to tow a damaged car. They are manned by two experienced helpers. The R-cars are manned by an emergency doctor, four paramedics and a driver. They can reach any point on the track within 30 seconds.
- that Formula One racing hasnt suffered a fatality since Imola 1994? That is proof that the risks of Formula One racing are well handled and that considerable progress in terms of safety has been made!