After we all have mourned for the loss of our great IndyCar friend Dan Wheldon, I think this is the most appropriate time to talk about this subject: How Can Open Wheel Racing Improve? This is a very good question to be very persuasive about. Some reasons are: Chassis and its safety, engine regulations, and tracks to name a few.
First off, Indy Car is introducing a new car for next year which Wheldon tested. The car is supposed to be safer but in my mind it isn’t. I don’t mean to sound like a Robin Miller fan boy but something has to be said about the safety of the cars. IndyCar should switch to a car that has a canopy over the top because the old chassis that Wheldon and other drivers have died in, is totally unsafe and I feel that the new car will mainly be a common copy of the Dallara IR03 chassis. Instead the IndyCar Series should switch to the Red Bull X1. What is the X1? It is the car that Adrian Newey designed for Gran Turismo 5. The car has a canopy and can go very fast. This car would be great because the canopy over the cockpit could save lives. Think if IndyCar would have this in 2011, how many injuries would be saved? Well, definitely Wheldon because it would protect the head by over 50%. Also, if F1 had a canopy car it would’ve saved Felipe Massa’s injuries in 2008 @ Budapest. The same rules for 2013 should still apply but: have Adrian Newey and crew build all the chassis in partnership with Dallara, GM, and Lotus. The engine rules should still be in place for the near future, it is just safety I am majorly concerned about.
Next thing is adding Safer Barriers to all tracks. Did you notice that Formula One uses just guardrails and concrete as there walls? Well, they do. What Formula One should do is install SAFER Barriers into all tracks, it would improve the rate of injuries with these walls. Look at what NASCAR did in 2001 after Dale Earnhardt, Senior died, they installed these walls. For example if there weren’t any SAFER Barriers; Jimmie Johnson could have been seriously hurt last weekend in Charlotte. IndyCar installed these at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2003. All ovals that IndyCar runs has SAFER Barriers, but, not all road courses do. What IndyCar should do is install them into street courses especially because they are fast normally and the hits are hard. Even if the are temporary. A track like Edmonton or Toronto needs them especially because of the speeds at the tracks.
Other things may include adding DRS to IndyCar for Road and Street courses. The passing at Road and Street Courses this year is terrible. This would be a rapid improvement for 2012 or 2013. Also run restrictor plates at Las Vegas, Indy, and Texas. These tracks are the fastest on the IndyCar circuit and I don’t ever want to see something happen that happened on October 16th again. Plus, this would get rid of the 1.5 mile oval curse to say.
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On a side note: After the Formula One Season is over we will still be blogging over the off season but not as much. I plan to have a feature called Thursday Thoughts for every week, still going to talk to some other bloggers on that.