F1 plans to add biometric driver data to safety mix

Tue Jun 7, 2016 3:14pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One is planning to add more cockpit cameras and gather biometric data from drivers, possibly as early as this season, to provide a better understanding of accidents and improve safety.

High-speed cameras, pointed at the driver and taking frames every 100th of a second, were installed in cars at the start of the year and provided detailed information about Fernando Alonso's Australian Grand Prix crash in March.

Drivers' radio earpieces now also incorporate tiny accelerometers, wired through to the car's electronic control unit, that measure the forces the head is subjected to in any impact.

Laurent Mekies, the General Manager Research for the governing FIA's Global Institute, said that there was more to come.

Biometrics, gathering data such as a driver's heart rate, body heat and sweat levels, were the next step.

"I hope that we will be able to put something on a driver before the end of the season, at least in a test," he told the latest edition of the FIA's Auto magazine.

"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."

Mekies said plans to introduce a cockpit head protection system next season, with a so-called 'halo' device favored, also offered the opportunity to place additional cameras above the driver.   Continued...

Formula One - Monaco Grand Prix - Monaco - 29/5/16.  Renault F1 driver Jolyon Palmer's car is seen after he crashed.  REUTERS/Eric Gaillard