Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Overalls and undies

The driver’s overalls look similar to a baby’s romper suit. They zip up the front and cover their arms and legs. These suits are made of a special material called Nomex that is fire-resistant. The sport’s governing body, the FIA, demands that the material used must protect a driver from a fire of up to 700 degrees centigrade for at least 12 seconds – and the sponsors’ logos have to comply with this as well.
To increase the drivers’ protection, they also wear T-shirts, underwear and socks all made of Nomex. All of this makes it very hot in the car for the driver, but it is a small price to pay in the quest for safety.

Helmet technology – Top Gun in a car?

Formula One drivers could soon be making use of the kind of high-tech Heads Up Display (HUD) technology that is now used every day by fighter pilots. Although the use of pit boards and radio communications now mean it is very easy for a driver to keep in touch with his team in the pits, there is still plenty of room for improvement. German car manufacturer BMW is looking at ways for special displays to be used in the helmets of their drivers that would warn them of dangers ahead on the track. The display could include information about warning flags, oil on the track and whether other cars have crashed out of the race.
Grand Prix bosses are also looking at ways of automatically slowing down cars if there is an accident ahead, or if there is a chance that they might hit another car in poor weather conditions. This technology would have to be completely foolproof before it could be used in the sport though.