|Will Power flies through the air in Las Vegas. He could easily have landed on JR Hildebrand’s head and killed him instantly. JR was lucky he hit the roll hoop instead of his head first|
A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, I just bought an old IndyCar model. I can see a resemblance. Open wheels, open cockpit. I think it would be a shame if IndyCar became something entirely different like your idea of adding a canopy over the driver.
Bottom line is that you have to consider too, if it becomes too safe, will anyone care? Already we see an entirely different kind of driver because the sport is so safe. I think a major part of a racing driver has always been their control of fear, but still having fear. If there is no fear involved at all because they know that no harm is going to come of them if they chop someone or run them into the grass or the wall…etc, then what is to really stop them from doing so. Sure, you make a rule. But it still changes the dynamic of the sport itself.
I listened to an interview with Jackie Stewart and he was talking about that very thing about today’s drivers, compared even to drivers of a few years ago. You had the Villeneuves…who of course died and that says it all. Then Senna, who also died…and was always reckless and fearless. So I am not saying that their death was good thing, but it does say that there is a price for that kind of attitude. If everyone will be safe and walk away from anything, then what is left of the true racing driver?
I mean, racing is not track and field or swimming. It is racing. It has its own amazing character because of things that…well…might not be that pleasant. Just like any person you know. They might have their faults and annoyances, but if everyone were the same or didn’t have that, we wouldn’t be so interesting. Lance Freespeed
Dear Lance, IndyCars used to have the engine in front and two seats, one for the driver and one for the mechanic. Point is that times change and so do car designs.
We started to look at the history of all forms of open cockpit racing (Sprints, Midgets, F2, F1, IndyCar, NHRA, Hydroplane, etc). The number of drivers that have been killed in open cockpit race cars through the years is staggering. Sure the sport can continue to bury their head in the sand and ignore the fact that the driver needs to be better protected, or they can do something proactive, and make meaningful changes…..like the FIA is trying to do by testing canopies for open wheel cars, so the sport does not continue to kill off its biggest stars.
As for will anyone care if the racing becomes too safe – we doubt all those fans disguised as empty seats at most IndyCar oval races will know the difference. The sport needs a radical change to attract the young race fan, something as radical as the car below. Anything short of that will keep IndyCar pretty much invisible to most sports fans.
As Einstein once said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Mark C.