Why Do Formula 1 Cars Not Have Airbags?

Why Do Formula 1 Cars Not Have Airbags

Car accidents are the most dangerous aspect of driving cars, much less ones designed for Formula 1 competition. Modern road cars come equipped with airbags to minimize the massive effect of forces due to crashes. With crashes so prevalent in the sport, why do Formula 1 cars not have airbags? Keep reading to find out.

How Do Airbags Work?

Modern cars are dangerous, yet necessary for people who cannot rely on public transit. To mitigate these risks, seat belts were added to provide protection for passengers in a crash. A car’s seat belt is not perfect though. It straps you in and is meant to absorb your kinetic energy and expand, then lock you in once it has expanded to a certain point. Airbags cushion you during that expanding process so that you do not hit the steering wheel or the front of the car and fracture any bones.

Would a Formula 1 Car Airbag be Effective?

Rather than seat belts, Formula 1 cars have massive harnesses that tightly strap drivers in. These harnesses have little-to-no yield and allow for minimal movement. With many straps and points of pressure, Formula 1 six or seven-point harnesses resemble a harness you would find in a fighter jet.

Airbags would be ineffective for Formula 1 racers, because their harness provides them with all they need regarding safety. An airbag is not required because there is no chance a driver would launch into the steering wheel or bump around inside the car, as they are strapped in too well.

Additionally, airbags can increase the risk of whiplash or neck problems for passengers of modern cars. Since Formula 1 racers have the stability of their harness, airbags would be overall less effective in preserving their health.

How Do Formula 1 Drivers Stay Safe?

With the top Formula 1 racecar speed clocking at nearly 250 mph, drivers need solid harnesses. Most drivers use six-point safety harnesses with two straps for the shoulders, two for the legs, and two for the pelvis. Since the G-force experienced by Formula 1 drivers is usually five times greater or more than the force of gravity, their harnesses must also be extremely tight. Racers must be locked in so much that it hurts if they wish to avoid any injury during a crash.