If you’re a fan of F1 then you’ve probably wondered just what equipment is essential in order to drive such a high-powered vehicle. Safety is extremely important for F1 drivers since driving at such high speeds means there’s a considerable risk of injury and death.
The right clothing is essential for F1 drivers. One of the most important aspects of the suits that F1 drivers where when they’re racing is that they’re flame-retardant. This has been required by the FIA since 1975. Years ago, in order to adhere to this regulation, F1 drivers would have to wear heavy, multi-layer suits that could protect against fire. However with the advancement of technology and the introduction of Nomex, the suits that F1 drivers wear nowadays are lightweight and much more suitable for comfortable use while still offering excellent protection. Not only does the main fabric used for the suit have to be flame retardant but so does the zip, any sponsor logos and the lining. The suits must also have two handles on the driver’s shoulders so that in the event of a crash, the driver can be pulled out of the vehicle quickly in order to reduce the risk of serious and complicated injuries.
F1 suits are subject to rigorous cleaning, drying and testing before they’re approved for use.
In addition to the right clothing, there is also a number of safety equipment that must be in place in order for an F1 driver to be able to compete safely. Some of the essential safety equipment required includes –
- A fire extinguishing system in the vehicle – This must be discharged into the cockpit and can be operated by the driver when seated, even if the car’s electrical systems fail.
- A circuit breaker switch in the cockpit – This is situated in the dashboard and can be used by the driver to cut all the car’s electrical systems.
- Two rear view mirrors – This might sound basic but rear view mirrors in F1 cars must adhere to strict regulations and the drivers must pass tests to prove their visibility using these mirrors.
- Special seatbelts – Seatbelts are of course a requirement for F1 drivers. F1 seatbelts must adhere to strict FIA regulations.
- Extra padding in the cockpit – There must be extra padding in the cockpit in order to protect the drivers head from all sides.