Button: Time for closed cockpits


A devastated Jenson Button has admitted that he has had a change of heart over the use of closed cockpits in F1 following several tragedies in recent years.

Former Formula 1 driver Justin Wilson was killed in August after he was hit by debris from another accident during an IndyCar Series at Pocono. It came just a month after Jules Bianchi died from the severe head injuries he suffered when he crashed into recovery vehicle at the Japanese GP last year.

Henry Surtees, son of former World Champion John, lost his life in 2009 after he was hit by a loose wheel during a F2 race while Felipe Massa was seriously injured when he was also struck by debris from another car.

In the wake of these incidents, the FIA has confirmed that they are exploring the possibility of using closed cockpits and Button believes the time has come to introduce them.

"It's very sad to see what happened and I think we're all pretty devastated by it. One, because you know the guy, you've raced against him in karting, raced against him in Formula One as well, but also because this just shouldn't happen at this time in motorsport. It's not the Seventies, we should know better," the 2009 World Champion said.

"I was one of many drivers that said this is open cockpit racing and 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 headrests on the cars and things, I think you've got to get a canopy on the car of some sort because we can't have this happening as much as it has over the last few years. 

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

Button believes "a canopy is the way to go", but he admits IndyCar will probably introduce them before Formula 1.

"A canopy I think works. Having blades around your head – obviously they're not supposed to break but from an unusual impact possibly they could, I don't know. A canopy is probably the way to go. Obviously that takes time, I can't see it happening for next year in Formula One. 

"I personally think it has to happen sooner rather than later and I think in IndyCar it has to happen because they seem to have a lot more issues than we do. Because of the speeds they're travelling as well and every accident there's debris because you can't get away from the banking when you crash. So I think it would be good if we could see canopies sooner rather than later."