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Old 7 Apr 2002, 16:17 (Ref:254211)   #1
bobdrummond
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Roll-Bars & Sportscars

In a rather too-explicit-for-my-liking report (www.speedvision.com) , the coroner tasked with examining the Jeff Clinton crash reported that the roll-bar failed leaving the poor driver with little chance. My question is whether we need to look at sportscar roll-bars. While I am sure that Lola have the finest engineering resources available, is it perhaps the fault of the regulated design? Should sportscars revert to closed cockpits? I can't help but wonder if Michele Alboreto & Jeff Clinton would still be around if that were the case.
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Old 7 Apr 2002, 17:05 (Ref:254238)   #2
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I always obected to the high roll bars because they are ugly, but i also wonder if their length gives more leverage to rip them off with.
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Old 7 Apr 2002, 17:28 (Ref:254254)   #3
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Sounds logical Doc. I don't know much (if anything) about these things, but cars (whether single seater or sportscars) have run with roll hoops for years - have there been many deaths or serious injuries arising from cars inverting and the hoop breaking prior to Michele's accident last year?
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Old 7 Apr 2002, 17:48 (Ref:254270)   #4
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Hello, Bob,

We have been discussing this subject under the thread

http://tentenths.com/forum/showthrea...threadid=19417

Take a look there. To put my opinion in short terms:

- it is EASIER to design a roofed car to be safer. One cannot take for granted that roofed cars are safer.

- it is EASIER to design a safer double-hoop roll bar. One cannot take for granted that such a design is safer. Clinton's tragedy sadly confirmed this.

- roll bar impact tests should consider the possibility of multiple impacts (barrel roll accidents). A roll bar (as any other mechanical structure) would show quite different physical integrity and deformability results when submitted to single- or multiple-impact tests.

Our friend cybesrdorf also said (quite correctly, in my opinion) that "perhaps Jeff Clinton's accident simply put the structure under a stress nobody ever envisaged it would have to endure. (...) I still believe that Alboreto's crash was not survivable, no matter what car he would have been in."

I am not saying that Clinton death is to be simply accepted. It is not, of course. But the fact that motorsport is a dangerous discipline - and that fatal accidents will continue to occur - is certain. Nevertheless, it is the role of all of us somehow related to racing - FIA and other organizing bodies, circuit operators and administrators, teams, drivers, designers, part suppliers, press and OURSERLVES FANS - to actively contribute to make it safer and safer.

This takes me to the something that I did not completely agree in your message. Please do not take it as a personal attack: I am just making a bridge into something else. I do not think the Speedvision article was too explicit. Although there are very subjective elements driving your and my vision about the character of the article, I think we both agree that accidents need to be openly debated. And, to ensure that, information needs to be available.

Otherwise people can be misled and reach quite distorted conclusions (see my three messages under another thread, http://tentenths.com/forum/showthrea...&pagenumber=2, I was astonished to see people simplistically blaming the FIA for some crashes and their consequences).

It is disappointing to see so many accidents being discussed under a lens that mixes intuition, irrationalism and sheer lack of knowledge. Lately, political correctness has been added to this dangerous recipe. Attitudes like "oh, this is too disgusting to see or to read about and nobody should have access to it" follow this rationale and may cross the edge into limiting free access to information, and censorship. (and it also puts people into the wrong direction, as per the other thread I mentioned)

Don't take me wrong: decency and privacy MUST be preserved. For example, I very much agree that the pictures of Dale Earnhardt nave made the press - his family requested so, and as matter of respect this should be understood, and period. But we have to talk about it – for the own sake of safety.

Although I recognize that accidents are unsettling, only open and rational debates about safety can help the sport that we love. Behaving like those three chinese monkeys – no see, no hear, no talk (and also “no think”, I would add) - and aiming to impose the same behaviour onto others is hypocritical and misleading.

Regards,

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Old 7 Apr 2002, 18:01 (Ref:254285)   #5
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Dear Doc (and Ayse),

You are absolutely right. The shearing force to brake a tall roll bar away is lesser than the one to break a short one.

I fear that the Grand-Am organizers made a mistake on mandating those rather large roll hoops. It is like they were driven by intuition rather than technical investigation of what happens before, during and after a crash.

They also believed that just because the roll hoops are of a "double" configuration it would be stronger, and the car would be safer, just as a fact. Again, Clinton's death proved them wrong.

That's why I get quite disappointed to see people do not investigating (or debating) crashes based on rational concepts.

Foor for thought: the Grand-Am organizing body is very close to that of NASCAR, who - in my opinion - has behaved on a very questionable way regarding safety for many years, and has let many of its safety-related ordinances being driven by, again, what I call intuition.

Regards,

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Old 7 Apr 2002, 18:24 (Ref:254302)   #6
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Muzza



"- it is EASIER to design a roofed car to be safer. One cannot take for granted that roofed cars are safer."

A roofed car has a smoother surface. There is nothing to dig into soft grass or garvel and get ripped off. If you peel the roof off, you are probably going to die any from the impact alone.


"- it is EASIER to design a safer double-hoop roll bar."

I think it might be easier to protect the area above the driver's head than worry about the mythical passenger too.
I don't see why the monoque can't be made higher than the driver's hear.

Both roll hoops are very strong, but i am worried about the hoop istelf digging into gravel or another soft surface. like Diniz' F-1 accident a couple of years ago. High cockpit sides (and a high monoque) is the only thing that saved him. A wider bar does spread out the load over a larger area, but it also offers a better chance that some part of it will dig in. A roof spreads the load out over
an even bigger area while all but eliminating the possibility of digging in. When was the last time you saw a roof ripped off?

Audi did extemsive research on roll bars, and the R8's is EIGHT times (Audi's figures)the strength required by the FIA tests. But the test merely checks for impact protection. There is no test currently that simulates a car sliding upside down and having the roll bar get hooked on the ground or in gravel. Gravel is used because it grabs parts of the car and slows it down. If all it grabs is the roll bar, bad result.




"One cannot take for granted that such a design is safer. Clinton's tragedy sadly confirmed this."

I think the GrandAm requires full-width roll hoops. I might be wrong on that. I know the Lista car had to add bars to be legal.





"Our friend cybesrdorf also said (quite correctly, in my opinion) that "perhaps Jeff Clinton's accident simply put the structure under a stress nobody ever envisaged it would have to endure."

It sure seems that most fatalities lately have been from something unenvisioned, doesn't it? People always say this or that can't happen today, but we keep getting rude surprises. As far as safety, you always have to keep looking over your sholder so nothing unexpected crops up. Even then, it is still going to happen.





"(...) I still believe that Alboreto's crash was not survivable, no matter what car he would have been in."

Maybe if he had been wearing a head restraint and the bar held. I still say the biggest travesty in motorsports is the HANS not being required in ALL series.




"I am not saying that Clinton death is to be simply accepted. It is not, of course. But the fact that motorsport is a dangerous discipline - and that fatal accidents will continue to occur - is certain."

Absolutely.





".... I think we both agree that accidents need to be openly debated. And, to ensure that, information needs to be available."

Right ON, Muzza. How else can we make things better if we aren't allowed to discuss the facts? While there are some (no one here, of course) who take ghoulish fascination in accidents, all of us here are interested in what happened merely so we can form opinions on how to make things better.



"I was astonished to see people simplistically blaming the FIA for some crashes and their consequences."

While i agree in principle, the FIA is going to be directly responsible for the next accident caused by dirty tricks. They refuse to enforce their own rules, so the litigation on that one is going to be extreme.



"Attitudes like "oh, this is too disgusting to see or to read about and nobody should have access to it" follow this rationale and may cross the edge into limiting free access to information, and censorship."

Right ON, Muzza.




"Although I recognize that accidents are unsettling, only open and rational debates about safety can help the sport that we love. Behaving like those three chinese monkeys – no see, no hear, no talk (and also “no think”, I would add) - and aiming to impose the same behaviour onto others is hypocritical and misleading."

Right ON, Muzza. In fact, you are so right on that you have left me with little to say except to agree with you.
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Old 8 Apr 2002, 21:05 (Ref:255125)   #7
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Hello, Doc,

You are right - the Grand-Am rules demand double-hoop roll bars.

I wonder how misled was/is the Grand-Am organizing body by demanding double-hoops and then simply EXPECTING the cars to be safer this way. This is the sort of decision that I really believe was INTUITON-driven, without significant research to back it.

As I said above, Nascar - to what Grand-Am is associated - is another category that has behaved on a intuition-driven mode regarding safety, with rather disastrous results. Sadly the death of Dale Earnhardt is just another number in the statistics. Take a look on the unacceptably high number of Nascar drivers suffering from the effects of brain concussion and similar injuries.

About swerving: Doc, I'm with you (and Mariov and other guys - who is not?): the FIA policy towards deliberate swerving is a shame.

Regards,

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Old 9 Apr 2002, 22:26 (Ref:256035)   #8
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Just to explain - what I meant about Alboreto's accident being "not survivable" is that I believe that with the car travelling at such a speed, and such a violent impact I don't think there is any structure that would have protected the driver adaquately. This one was beyond the limits of automotive design and manufacturing - a Worst Case Scenario, unfortunately.
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Old 12 Apr 2002, 15:18 (Ref:258195)   #9
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[QUOTE][i]Originally posted by cybersdorf

Just to explain - what I meant about Alboreto's accident being "not survivable" is that I believe that with the car travelling at such a speed, and such a violent impact I don't think there is any structure that would have protected the driver adaquately. This one was beyond the limits of automotive design and manufacturing - a Worst Case Scenario, unfortunately."


Several interesting points about alboreto's accident. Not only were all four wheels still on the car, but even the nose splitter was intact. The biggest structural damage i could see (from admittedly poor photos) was the roll hoop. Now if the car had a roof, maybe we could have seen Alboreto survive, especially if he weere wearing a head restraint. I still say the biggest travesty in motorsports is that head restraingts aren't required in all series.
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