Matters of moment, December 1995

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Attention to detail

For a few hours on Friday November 10, motor racing was feeling distinctly uneasy once again. Mika Hakkinen’s accident during qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix highlighted the fact that no matter how much safer racing cars are supposed to have become in the wake of 1994’s tragedies, there are some things against which one cannot legislate. Simply, one should never overlook the fact even if the cars were to be rendered indestructible, you could never do the same for the human beings they carry.

Fortunately, prompt and efficient medical attention saved Mika Hakkinen’s life, and the signs are that he will make a full recovery. That notwithstanding, the incident has given the FIA and the GPDA furtherfood for thought.

Long before Hakkinen’s accident, there had been talk of introducing airbags to Formula One cars, which seems eminently sensible.

It seems strange that a sport which can sometimes operate with such foresight could have allowed the Australian Grand Prix meeting to kick off when a concrete wall on the exit of a fast right-hander was protected only by a single layer of tyres, about which nothing was done until it was almost too late.

It is all very well Formula One taking great strides forward when it comes to the technology of safety, but it strikes us that a little more attention to detail in more basic areas would not be misplaced.

Double standards?

The expulsion of Toyota Team Europefrom the World Rally Championship is the first evidence we have seen of the FIA taking draconian measures against those found to be transgressing the rules of the sport.

Whilst in no way condoning the actions of those at Toyota who were responsible for the illegal, power-boosting device on the rallying Celicas, we find it anomalous to say the least that certain of the infringements uncovered in Formula One last year were punished by fines which, bearing in mind the budgets of those concerned, were frankly risible. Explanations on a postcard please…

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