Top F1 drivers call for closed cockpits

Jenson Button says it's time for closed cockpits on open wheel cars

Formula 1 driver Jenson Button says the time has come for closed cockpits to be introduced to open-wheel racing following the death of IndyCar driver Justin Wilson.

Wilson was struck by debris from a crashed car during the Pocono IndyCar race last month. Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, who has recent experience racing with a closed cockpit when he won the Le Mans 24 Hours, came out against the idea earlier today at Monza but Button disagreed with the German.

"I was one of many drivers who said, 'This is open-cockpit racing, it should stay as open-cockpit racing,'" Button said. "But I think we've all had enough now and it's time to do something serious about it, not just changing the headrest.

"You've got to get a canopy on the car of some sort, because we can't have this happening as much as it has over the last few years. It just shouldn't happen at this time in motorsport. It's not the '70s, we should know better.

"Canopies probably are the way to go, but obviously that takes time. I can't see it happening for next year in Formula 1. I feel it needs to happen sooner rather than later."

Fernando Alonso agreed with his teammate adding that other categories have successfully used closed cockpits.

"I think I'm open to any solution that the technology in these days, in 2015, [allows for] a closed cockpit with no big issues," he said. "There are other categories like the World Endurance Championship that has the closed cockpit and nothing happened."

While Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton was unsure about F1 adopting closed cockpits, he agreed that something had to be done to protect the drivers from debris.

"It's a difficult one," the reigning world champion said. "I'm torn.

"I see a closed cockpit as potentially the future, but growing up watching the sport, it's always been open cockpit. So it's difficult to change, but sometimes change is the way forward.

"I don't know if I'd like it. It would really feel strange if you had a canopy or a window over your head. But we're in a time where we've had too many fatalities.

"While it has been lot less than it was years ago, it's still too many. We shouldn't have had any.

"Maybe it doesn't have to be closed. There are different mechanisms we can have, with people exploring ideas."

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen added: "There are always good things and bad things with all of the rules and everybody is trying to make it as safe as possible but there is also those odd things happening.

"You can hit very closely a wall and hurt yourself in the car, or have a massive accident and nothing happens. I don't think there is one right answer to those things." Lawrence Baretto/Autosport.com

Leave a Reply