The FIA’s push for further accident data-gathering will next focus on biometrics, with a view to trying a system before the end of the 2016 Formula 1 season.
The governing body has released the results of its investigation into Fernando Alonso’s high-speed crash in the Australian Grand Prix (above). It was the first time it had analysed data from the high-speed camera, installed on cars at the start of this season, in conjunction with its accident data recorder and in-ear accelerometer tools.
The camera, which took video frames of the driver every one hundredth of a second, showed Alonso’s helmet made contact with the left-inside part of the headrest twice during the impact, corresponding with two peaks seen on the ear accelerometer data.
Laurent Mekies, general manager of research for the Global Institute for Motor Sport Safety that compiled the report, said a “significant step” had been made but there was still more to do.
“It’s an exercise that never stops, but it is certainly a very significant step,” he said in an interview in the FIA’s Auto magazine. “The next step is biometrics – gathering data from drivers such as heart rate, body heat and even sweat levels. I hope that we will be able to put something on a driver before the end of the season, at least in a test.
“Biometric data will help us to assess the driver’s conditions before, at the time of the crash and after the crash, as far as the rescue operations are concerned.”
The biometric data tools will be in addition to plans to have further cameras on cars pointing at the drivers.
The FIA is also set to introduce the halo cockpit protection device next season, which it says will offer more potential locations for camera placement above the driver.
Mekies added: “You could imagine a million things tomorrow – you could imagine us trying to estimate the loads on the actual upper body of the drivers through the safety belts, for instance.
“It is something that will never stop as much as safety research will never stop and we will continue to push the boundaries to gain a deeper understanding.”