Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing’s Romain Grosjean who was involved in a serious accident during the Bahrain Grand Prix last year, suffering severe burns after piercing a guardrail with his Haas car bursting into flames and being cut in two.

The FIA, Formula One’s governing body released the findings of its accident investigation and came up with some recommendations such as reinforcing driver gloves to protect drivers against severe burns.

The FIA investigation stated:

Increased functionality for Circuit Safety Analysis Software (CSAS) including quantitative impact probability classification
Review of existing circuit barrier opening installations
Review of guidelines/process for circuit homologation and licence renewal
Driver safety equipment

An investigation into improvements to the gloves’ Heat Transfer Index (HTI)
Ongoing research project: Visor opening/locking mechanisms; project scope extended to include requirements to ensure that visor opening systems are operational after being exposed to fire
Ongoing research project: Extinguisher system for open cockpit cars; project scope extended to include investigation of improved activation mechanisms
Medical and Rescue

Investigation of options for proximity warning systems and electronic visibility aids
Research into retrofit and upgrade options to improve impact performance of existing guardrail barriers

It is this writer’s opinion, it is time that guardrails are withdrawn from all motorsport around the world so that we never have a repeat of what happened to Romain Grosjean again.

Research into novel barrier systems, effective across a wider range of impact conditions
Research to assess current fire extinguishing media, firefighting equipment, and personal protective equipment and assess new technologies.

It is not just the guardrails that need to be got rid of. Paddock Eye can reveal that Roger Penske, owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the NTT IndyCar Series was so impressed with the new barrier structure being installed for the Music City Grand Prix in Nashville by Geobrugg that he has asked the organizers of the street races in St Petersburg, Toronto and the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach to consider this new barrier and fence combination. It is also understood that the Geobrugg barriers will be installed in Detroit.

The SAFER barrier may be expensive, however, you can’t put a price tag on safety and something that will save a driver or spectator’s life.

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