Massa and Alonso open to closed cockpit trials in F1

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In the wake of Jules Bianchi’s accident at last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa have both come out in support of a possible test for closed cockpits in Formula 1 to improve driver safety.

Bianchi sustained severe head injuries at Suzuka after crashing into a recovery vehicle in the final few laps of the race. He remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital in Japan.

The accident has left the paddock in a state of shock and sadness, with all of its thoughts and support going to Bianchi and his family at this difficult time.

It has also raised the question about closed cockpits being introduced to Formula 1, which has traditionally been an open-canopy series throughout its history.

Williams technical chief Rob Smedley explained to Autosport earlier this week that could easily be implemented in F1 to try and improve safety standards, and both Alonso and Massa backed a trial of the innovation.

“I probably tend to agree to at least check and try or test the idea,” Alonso said. “We are in 2014, we have the technology, we have aeroplanes, we have had many other samples that they use in a successful way so why not think about it?

“All the biggest accidents in motor sport over the last couple of years have been head injuries so it’s probably one part where we are not at the top of safety.

“Even in my case, in 2012 at Spa, I could probably have died there in corner one if it had been 10 centimetres closer to my head. If the technology is there and available, and there is the possibility, I would not exclude it, for sure.”

Massa was just as receptive, having himself suffered a severe head injury after being struck by a suspension spring during qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix.

“I totally agree with what Fernando said, so I think it would be interesting to try, it would be interesting to work on that possibility,” Massa explained. “Definitely, for my accident it would have been perfect. Maybe for Jules, I don’t know.

“But I think maybe it could have been interesting for so many different types of accident, including the one I had, but I totally agree with Fernando.

“I think it could be an option and we will see when we could try something or see something to understand if it’s positive or not, but I totally agree with him.”