Button calls for closed cockpits after Wilson death

Thu Sep 3, 2015 2:30pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

MONZA, Italy (Reuters) - Jenson Button has called for Formula One to introduce closed cockpits as soon as possible after the death in America of British IndyCar driver Justin Wilson.

Once a strong supporter of cockpits remaining open, the 2009 world champion said Wilson's fatal crash last month had forced a change of mind.

"This (death) just shouldn’t happen at this time in motorsport. It’s not the 70s, you know, we should know better," the McLaren driver told reporters at the Italian Grand Prix on Thursday.

"I was one of many drivers that said 'This is open cockpit racing, it should stay as open cockpit racing'. But I think we’ve all had enough now.

"It’s time to do something serious about it, not just changing the headrest on the cars and things. I think you’ve got to get a canopy on the car of some sort. We can’t have this happening as much as it has."

Button grew up racing go-karts against Wilson and Dan Wheldon, the double Indy 500 champion who was killed at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2011, and said he was 'pretty devastated' by the latest fatality.

Wilson's death came only a month after many Formula One drivers had attended the funeral of Frenchman Jules Bianchi, who died in July of serious head injuries suffered in a Japanese Grand Prix crash last October.

"Since Henry Surtees, there have been a lot of head injuries that have ended up with death, so it’s got to be changed," said Button.   Continued...

May 17, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson poses for the traditional photo with his car after qualifying for the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports