Page 4 - Dallara Magazine

Motor racing safety is an on-going process
that will never be completed. Engineer
Pignacca, what are Dallara’s current
objectives in this field?
Our cars are designed and built in
accordance with FIA technical regulations,
or Indycar regulations in the case of the
cars produced for Indianapolis. Our
challenge is to satisfy the requirements of
the approval tests using the lightest
possible structures, as well as the most
aerodynamic forms, bearing in mind that
these two aspects do not always coincide.
Our most recent objective has been to
produce cars that are as safe as their F.1
counterparts, but at a much lower cost, for
example the GP2 and the Renault World
Series. This enables us to guarantee the
safety of young drivers while offering them
the opportunity to go almost as fast as
their colleagues in F.1, but in a
commercial” car».
Which areas will see the most significant
developments in the future: materials,
active safety, electronics?
Our competition cars currently feature
passive safety measures only: we develop
and implement materials that offer drivers
increasingly effective protection.
By contrast, street cars are produced with
more and more built-in safety features
that, fortunately, have less and less impact
on the overall price. Unfortunately, or
fortunately depending on your point of
view, the use of electronics in motor racing
is limited, and this means that it is not
possible to implement active safety
Are the current FIA regulations
covering enough the different categories,
or do they need to be modified? And if
so, how?
The current F1 regulations are excellent
and it must be said that FIA has done a
very good work over the last 15-20 years. I
was particularly impressed with the idea
of extending the zylon panels to zones that
were not protected before. There is also a
good chance that we could see cars fitted
with air-bags in the not-too-distant future.
However, I hope that FIA does not get
carried away and attempt to impose
solutions that will be prohibitively
expensive, with the risk that these are
implemented only in F.1 and not in other
categories such as GP2. Recently, there
have been interesting technical discussions
centred on the idea of introducing a
transparent “canopy”, similar to those
used on fighter aircraft, in order
to prevent kind of accidents that
happened to Surtees or Massa.
We are also conducting research
in this area: it is an interesting,
but highly complex proposal».
Can motor racing still contribute to
improving safety in production cars?
Which devices currently used on the track
are we likely to see on the road in the
near future?
Motor racing demonstrates that certain
materials may also be suitable for
To tell you the truth, we haven’t altered anything in the
Indycar in the wake of Dan’s fatal accident. We had already
increased the lateral protection significantly by introducing
more extensive zylon panels. The roll-bar is designed to
withstand higher loads and the vehicle shape has been
designed to reduce the risk of “coupling” between cars or
tipping over in the event of high speed spins. Lastly, we
have developed devices that would prevent cars from
taking off when one vehicle runs into the back of another”
The zylon reinforced
panels on the new F312