James Moy/James Moy Photography
Marussia driver Max Chilton is in two minds about implementing greater safety measures in Formula One following the horrific crash of his team mate Jules Bianchi.
Bianchi suffered devastating injuries when he crashed at Suzuka in October and hit a mobile crane sent to recover a car involved in a separate accident. After a spell in a Japanese hospital, he recently returned to his native France where he remains seriously ill.
Asked if he thought an innovation such as a 'closed cockpit' could be introduced to minimise the risk of injury to F1 drivers, Chilton said: : "I think that, over time, more measures might be taken.
"At the end of the day, the head is the one vulnerable area. So by introducing a closed cockpit, you might reduce the risk.
"But in other ways, it might make the risk greater. If there was a fire, for instance, and you couldn't get the door to open, you might be in more danger. So anything new would have to undergo a lot of testing and development to make sure it actually is safer."
Chilton, 23, who made his F1 debut for Marussia last year, continued: "I think in the long run it probably will go that way. People are saying we're making the sport too safe. But that's the way the world goes. Why would you introduce something that makes it more dangerous?"
The search for fresh investment is still underway at Marussia, the Oxfordshire-based Anglo-Russian outfit founded in 2009 but which went to the wall a few weeks ago.
Chilton said: "We're still trying to get Marussia on the grid. And if they are on the grid I'll be there. I'm not losing hope. I've got more to show and I know I can deliver some great results."
Asked if he ever felt concerned for his own safety, Chilton said: "There are certain tracks that do bring that aspect back to you. In Monaco, for example, you are travelling at 160-170mph, and people are drinking champagne on the other side of barriers 10 metres away. You get that real sense of speed.
"Certain circuits do bring that back to you but if you worried about that the whole time, you wouldn't be an F1 driver.
"Accidents like the one involving Jules do bring back to you the fact that it is a dangerous sport. But in any sport, such as horse-racing, showjumping, and as we've seen this week, cricket, there is the possibility of a freak accident."
Author: Dave Brown