If you try to pick the worst weekend in the history of Formula 1, the first place you can safely give the Grand Prix of San Marino 1994. Exactly 26 years ago during one phase died just two riders and one injured. During the practice race in a serious car accident just a young Rubens Barrichello, who even lost consciousness, suffered injuries, but survived.
In qualifying the accident occurred with the participation of Roland Ratzenberger. On the car, the Austrian came off the front wing and the car at speeds over 300 km/h flew into the concrete wall. Despite the death of the pilot, the next day, may 1st, the race started and at the 7th circle in an accident the legendary Ayrton Senna. Again a departure from the road and hitting a concrete wall at a speed of about 210 km/h.
It is well known that the majority of safety standards in various aspects of life (same flights) are written with blood, and the situation with the Grand Prix of San Marino has accelerated the introduction of new rules and equipment of the pilots, and the design of the cars. The cause of death of Ratzenberger and one of the reasons for the death of Senna was a fracture of the skull base, and new security measures were aimed at reducing this threat. When a serious accident the head of the rider with great speed lurches forward, and then, after stopping the machine it with the same speed back, which leads to severe injuries of the skull.
In 1987 in the United States began the development of the HANS system (Head And Neck Support device, the support system of the head and neck). Now she looks like this, and all have been accustomed to this device on the head of the pilots.
On the use of this system began to speak just after the black weekend in San Marino, but full application in f-1 it is found only since 2003. Only in 2008, the FIA has made HANS mandatory for all racing series.
“The problem began to discuss after a series of accidents in the major racing series. Ratzenberger died due to fractured skull. I think Senna had the same damage, although he doesn’t die from it. Gonzalo Rodriguez died from this injury, and there were many similar incidents in NASCAR. People have realized the need for such a device,” said Robert Hubbard, the inventor of the HANS.
Important are not only the equipment of the riders, but also the reliability of the cars themselves. In addition to reducing the overall speed of the cars was to reinforce the provisions of passing crash tests, reinforced monocoque, which houses the pilot, and taken other measures for the safety of the athletes. Many accuse Formula 1, they say that safety standards will soon become more important races, and the pilots should take risks and stuff like that. However, the example of even a single accident can be seen that modern safety standards are working. For example, it is a terrible accident of Robert Kubica in Canada in 2007.
It is doubtful that in the 90s the pilot could survive that. And compare video accident Senna (go to Youtube). Seem to get modern race car in the accident, the pilot did that upset that dropped out of the race. Kubica got only stretching your legs and using the stage back in the car.
After the death of Senna directly to the official racing f-1 fatal incidents was not until 2014 (was death in events under the auspices of the FIA and other series). When it seemed that the pilots are protected to the extent possible, given all the risks of racing, there were a number of wild coincidences, which tends to work to increase security.
At the Grand Prix of Japan in the rain from the highway flew the car Adrian Stile. In order to remove the car, went special tow truck and it crashed into the car of Jules Bianchi, who is on a wet track, lost control. Unfortunately, the race car f-1 itself is very low, and the front part of it went under the tractor, causing the Frenchman has severe head injuries. For a long time Bianchi was in an induced coma, but the 17th July 2015 the family of the pilot has announced his death.
Not to say that this accident has led to the emergence of the system of Halo, but clearly accelerated its implementation in f-1. Overall, the idea to protect the heads of drivers in cars with open wheels started to push back in 2011, and in 2016 pilots Association f-1 demanded that the FIA actively moving in this direction. By the way, it is possible to remember and less tragic episodes affecting security measures in f-1. In 2009, at the Grand Prix of Hungary detail from the car of Rubens Barrichello was hit in the helmet Felipe Massa, broke through the defense and inflicted head injury.
The pilot then missed the rest of the season, and in the design of helmets has made a number of changes.
Despite the dissatisfaction of many fans who don’t like the look of cars with Halo, 2018, the head-protection system has become mandatory and perhaps it is not even noticed. Several rescued pilots, including in the lower series. It is important that Halo installed on the cars of Formula-2 and Formula-3. However, do not think that the issue of security more or less solved.
Less than a year ago before the Grand Prix of Belgium was held in f-2, and in a terrible accident killed the rider Antoine Hubert. Even the current strong machine body could not withstand the attack and collapsed, while basic safety rules are intended to ensure that the cockpit was as protected for the pilot.
As you can see, even the most stringent measures to guarantee the safety of the riders, so there is no doubt that in the future there will be tragic accidents, and new ways to protect the pilots.