Racing is seen as one of the oldest sports around. It is one of the most intense and mind focusing in the world. One wrong move could end your life, yet millions of people watch racing all around the world, in forms of Formula 1 and NASCAR. This brings us to today’s main focus, are these supped up and insanely fast cars really safe for the drivers?
Over the last 50 years. Racing has really developed, and so have the rules necessary for your car to qualify. Some of these rules are made because of science and testing, whereas others are sadly made only after the death of a racer, like Ayrton Senna. However, Ayrton Senna has not been the only death of the sport, but like I said, they are developing, and the last fatality in the sport was in 2001.
NASCAR and Formula 1 are two very different sports, here’s what makes each one of them safe. For Formula 1, things like an added halo over the car has prevented rouge tires from potentially hitting the driver. Also developments in the chassis have left the car to be remarkably strong, and the use of overhead air intakes prevent the driver from breaking his neck if the car flips. In NASCAR, it is a bit different. The sport is generally safer because it is not open air racing. You are in a fully inclosed car with no possibility of spare parts hitting you, so the safety on the car is irrelevant, but the safety on the outside is. NASCARs are known for driving very close to the walls surrounding them to try and reduce as much drag as possible. They have also been known for crashing into those walls for getting too close to them. As of 2002 The walls surrounding the NASCAR track are all inserted with a special foam to make the energy on impact much less, making the driver less at risk.
What about airbags? Today we are told that all street legal cars have airbags to keep us safe, so why wouldn’t they put them in race cars too? Well, for starters, race cars are much smaller than your average road going car. This also means that the driver is placed much closer to the steering wheel that you typically would in your car. In theory, if you were to put an airbag in a racecar, it would cause more harm than good. To have an airbag blow up in your face with that level of impact and that close will surely break your nose, suffocate you if knocked unconscious, or kill you. Either way it would be a really bad day for you. Instead of airbags, racers wear racing straps that make sure they can not leave the position in the seat that they are in, and they also wear protective gear behind their head to support their neck.
The incredible solutions made from potentially dangerous things have really helped make the drivers stay safe. Now we can watch these amazing event without worry of the drivers well being.