Side impact protection improved for 2014
25 June 2013 – Formula 1 cars will feature a renewed side impact protection system from 2014, following a lengthy collaboration between the teams and governing body the FIA.
At present, crushable tube structures attached to the side of the chassis form the basis of side impact protection, but indirect collisions, such as Robert Kubica's dramatic accident during the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix, can lead to them breaking off. In a bid to make improvements, reigning World Champions Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes and Marussia have been working with the FIA Institute for the past year.
The result is an evolution of the current system, proposed by Marussia and enhanced by Red Bull, using carbon tubes with a custom external and internal geometry. As opposed to shattering upon impact, the structure will gradually crush and slow the car down in a more controlled way, with nearly 40kJ of energy absorbed in recent tests.
The design of the structures and the way in which they are implemented will also be standardised in the rules, theoretically reducing teams' expenditure on crash tests.
Renewed side impact protection: