Wurz: Closed cockpits ‘the most logical choice’

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Grand Prix Drivers’ Association chairman Alexander Wurz has become the latest figure to support the drive for the introduction of closed cockpits to single seater racing, believing it to be “the most logical choice”.

The debate about closed cockpits and driver safety in single seater racing has been reignited in recent weeks following the death of IndyCar driver Justin Wilson at Pocono Raceway last month.

Wilson was struck on the head by debris from another car that had crashed and died one day later due to the severe injury that he had sustained.

Other accidents for Felipe Massa (2009), Henry Surtees (2009) and Jules Bianchi (2014) have also prompted many to call for the introduction of closed cockpits to single seater cars, where drivers’ heads are currently exposed.

Speaking to MotorSportsTalk, Wurz explained his involvement in the research into closed cockpits and expressed his belief that they would one day be introduced.

“I’ve been – me, personally, as the GPDA director – in the research group of the institute and we have looked into the canopy and everything,” Wurz said.

“I’m a big supporter of this idea. I always have been. I’ve been quite public a few years ago about it.

“And I think we’re all going to end up with the most logical choices to protect the drivers which is in the closed cockpit.

“It’s called ‘open wheel racing’ and not ‘open cockpit racing’. I think evolution will bring us there in the end.”

Wurz explained how the GPDA is continuing to push for improved safety standards in Formula 1 and global motorsport, with particular attention being paid to head and back injuries.

“It’s always in the spotlight and we’ve always pushed,” Wurz said. “We work very closely with the FIA institute on improving. But such tragic reminders such as Justin or Jules… just keeps accelerating the process.

“We still have a long way to go. We are a long way better than we have been, but it’s an ever-learning curve and currently full attention is on head and back injuries whilst until 15, 20, 30 years ago it was more you were breaking your legs when chassis were ripped apart etc.

“Now it seems we have to really pay attention to quite a few back injuries we have seen with impact forces and compression breaks, and obviously head injuries from Henry Surtees onwards to now Justin.

“So it’s definitely and area we need to look into, and we are looking into.”