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DATE News (chronologically)
08/07/09
f1
Burti: Helmet visors must be strengthened    Former F1 driver Luciano Burti has called on the FIA to strengthen helmet visors in the wake of Felipe Massa's horrific Hungarian qualifying accident.

Massa is set to miss the upcoming Valencia and Belgium races, if not more the remainder of the season, as he recovers the injuries sustained when a spring came loose from Rubens Barrichello's car, hitting him on the visor and knocking him unconscious.

The accident, while deemed by many to be a freak incident, has already prompted FIA President Max Mosley to ask the FIA Safety Commission to prepare a report into Massa's debris-related accident.

However, Burti, who himself suffered a huge accident at Spa back in 2001 that resulted in a brain concussion similar to Massa's, believes the first step towards improving safety is to strengthen the helmet visors.

"After Felipe's accident at the Hungaroring, I can see the helmet's evolution since my accident in the Belgium GP 2001," Burti told his website.

"Looking at the pictures of my helmet, we can see that if it was made of carbon fibre, like they are today, the damage would have been be less significant.

"This shows the merit of the FIA and helmet constructors on improving drivers' safety.

"But at the same time, I would like to point something out. You can see on my helmet, even with the strong front impact against the tyre barriers, the visor remained attached because it was fixed by four screws, different than most helmets which have two screws only for visor fixing (to reduce weight).

"But on Felipe's accident, we could see the visor became loose because the screw didn't resist the strong impact, and with the face exposed, he could have suffered worse consequences, especially for his face.

"I would like to make clear that I trust the FIA and the helmet constructors, I already said they are doing a fantastic job regarding drivers' safety.

"But looking at those facts, in two different accidents, we can see the visor's fixing, for all helmets brands, needs to be improved to make sure it doesn't open or get detached when the helmet suffers strong impacts.

"It is still a clear improvement when compared with a helmet of eight years ago. As I had my own experience in 2001, I felt responsible to make the point about it."
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