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Cockpit Cover: Ipotesi e Proposte


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  • 10 months later...

rivendomi Fast and Furious 6, mi è venuta l'idea su come dovrebbero fare un cupolino che consente il ricambio d'aria e di non bloccare il pilota nella monoposto in caso di cappottamento (è presa da un film si, ma credo sia fattibile).

questa era la monoposto che compariva nel film



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Il 21/5/2017 at 10:56 , marco91 ha scritto:

A proposito di cupolini: Kurt Ahrens nella sua Protos al GP di Germania 1967.


ed eccolo qua, si chiama Shield e se tutto va bene impedirà di vedere le infradito,  verrà provato dalla Ferrari nelle FP1 a Silverstone. 


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  • 7 months later...

Closed Cockpit: A controversial subject, with past, present and future

Written by 'Αγγελος Φωτσεινός
Closed Cockpit: A controversial subject, with past, present and future

Translated by Vagelis Kelemenis

Open wheels as well as open cockpit (open-wheel and open-cockpit series) are, admittedly, the most distinct and fundamental features that distinguish a F1 type of car from a Prototype of endurance racing.

Even though closed wheels were never a field of controversy for F1 fans, the same cannot be said about closed cockpit, that became, with a multi-year delay since its ‘’experimental’’ usage, a rather controversial choice.

The reasoning behind the introduction of the closed cockpit, was, is and will always be the improvement of the driver’s head protection, undoubtedly the most vulnerable security place of the cars nowadays.
The solution of a cockpit cover (canopy) is believed to be able to prevent or at least limit the possibility of such serious accidents, which either had a tragic outcome (like the cases of Henry Surtees, Dan Wheldon, Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi) or resulted in a serious injury like Felipe Massa’s, from happening again.

On the other hand, those against the adoption of a closed cockpit, bring up the issue of the ‘’distinct difference’’ with the Prototypes as a traditional and fundamental principle that separates the two types of racing cars, as well as the possible delay that the driver might have from getting out of a car in case of an accident, due to the cockpit cover.

That’s it however with the presentation of this confrontation; it’s time to write down the history of closed cockpit in single-seater racing, a solution that was tested by Auto Union and Mercedes before World War II, only for it to return post-war in the US and then in Great Britain.


Daywalt Sumar Special

So in 1955, Sumar Racing Team, in preparation for the Indy 500 race, placed on the cockpit of their car Kurtis-Kraft, a cover made of Plexiglas and also covered the wheels, hoping that these excessive modifications on the car (named Sumar Special) would result in an improvement of aerodynamic performance and straight line speed, so that driver Jimmy Daywalt would have the chance to fight for the victory.
However, reality proved to be very different: during free practice, a handful of laps were enough for Daywalt in order to point out that his visibility was limited due to the dust on the Plexiglas and that he could not check tyre wear as the wheels were covered.

Before qualifying, Sumar removed not only the cockpit cover, but also the bodywork that resembled a sportscar.
Daywalt qualified 17th while driving the most ‘’naked’’ car in the history of Indycars.
He stated that it was the most difficult drive of his career, but in the race he managed a remarkable, considering the circumstances, 9th place.


Daywalt Sumar Special Naked

In F1, closed cockpit made its appearance 3 years later.
Every car had a distinct type of windscreen during those days and the great Frank Costin, designer at Vanwall and one of the first to thoroughly study the subject of aerodynamic performance, made an attempt to see the possible aerodynamic gains of a closed cockpit during free practice for the 1958 Italian GP.

Moss Vanwall VW5 Italy 1958

The fact that almost no fresh air was getting into the cockpit with Moss reportimg that ‘’he was being cooked’’ when driving the car and that the sound of the engine was multiplied because the cockpit was a closed chamber so it had nowhere to go, made Costin abandon the idea, only temporarily though.

Moss Vanwall VW5 Italy 1958 2

That temporariness lasted for 9 years.

In 1967, Costin designed Protos F2 (you can read a tribute here) providing it with, among other stuff, a closed cockpit.
F2 that, apart from the closed cockpit, had its chassis made by plywood took part in the Formula 2 series of that year as well as in the German GP of Formula 1, since the organizers allowed F2 specifications cars to take part in order to fill the grid up.

Hart Protos Germany 1967

During the Italian GP of the same year, Jack Brabham and Ron Tauranac, also a pioneer duet in terms of car design, tested their own version of a closed cockpit. 
‘’Black Jack’’ tested a version of BT24 with a semi-closed cockpit (there were gaps for fresh air to get in) in free practice – but again, aerodynamic gains were not as expected so the idea was abandoned. 

Brabham BT24 Italy 1967 2

So far, it is conceivable that the closed cockpit solution was exclusively tested for aerodynamic reasons - despite the lack of safety levels, the protection parameter was not met with particular thoroughness.
The mandatory use of a second roll cage in 1976 seemed theoretically a sufficient solution, while 1985 saw the introduction of pre-season crash tests.

In June 1985, McLaren tested their solution of canopy at Silverstone, as the great John Barnard wanted to increase the aerodynamic efficiency.

Prost Canopy Silverstone 1985

Since the death of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger, there has been an increase in driver protection, which has led to extremely high levels of safety.
But as much as understanding the effort to minimize the risk of driver head injury is, the introduction of Halo or some other solution in the years to come does not negate the fact that the "uniqueness" of the open-cockpit element is lost and that a unattractive touch is added to the car.
The ban on the use of cranes similar to those used in Japan's 2014 GP should be a priority: and in order not to eliminate the open cockpit, a revision of its construction specifications by the introduction of a windscreen would be a much more 'acceptable' solution: Indycars are already headed towards this direction, which not only preserves the open cockpit, but also is historically acceptable.

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