Formula 1 remains one of the world’s most popular racing events. There was a time when safety was not that important to racers as well as the engineers that designed the cars, and it took a series of unfortunate crashes before proper safety features began to be implemented.
It’s taken many years, but today’s Formula 1 vehicles are safer than ever before; packed with a number of features that are designed to give the driver as much safety as possible while out on the course.
Integrated Roll Structures
Roll hoops can be found behind the driver and are a part of the airbox, but they can also be found just in front of the driver. These are designed to protect the driver in the event that the car flips over on the track. Drivers typically don’t have their heads covered, meaning that it would otherwise be easy for them to be seriously injured in case their vehicle was flipped. These roll structures work remarkably well, and there are plenty of examples of vehicles being involved in serious accidents, but the driver was able to walk away without any serious long-term injuries.
Kevlar Fuel Tanks
The kind of fuel that Formula 1 vehicles use is not the normal unleaded petrol or diesel that’s found at the local fuel station. Instead, these vehicles need a highly refined fuel that’s closer to rocket fuel than regular petrol. During the course of a race, the vehicle generates an enormous amount of heat from both the engine as well as the brakes, which is why it’s vital that this heat never manages to find its way to the fuel tank.
Military grade kevlar is used to make these fuel tanks, providing a level of thermal and kinetic protection that ensures that the fuel inside never has the chance of catching fire. Kevlar is a light but incredibly strong material that’s able to resist high temperatures.
The Survival Cell
Also commonly known as the monocoque, the survival cell is arguably the most important safety feature of any F1 vehicle. It’s the part of the car that surrounds the driver, and its job is to therefore ensure that the driver is fully protected, even in the event of the worst crash.
The survival cell is made of a mix of titanium and carbon fibre, which creates a lightweight casing that’s also virtually indestructible, and used for everything from supercars to tennis rackets, something that anyone interested in Australian open betting would be aware of. If a crash does occur, the survival cell will be able to absorb a huge amount of energy without crumpling in and will keep the driver safe until they can be rescued.
Most people take seatbelts for granted until they need them, but it’s not the same within professional F1 racing. Here, drivers understand and value all their safety equipment, and as basic as a seatbelt it, it remains of the best means of survival for the driver, along with the headrest, tough driving uniform, and their helmet.