PAIN BARRIER: IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe underwent surgery after crashing at high-speed into a barrier at the Indy 500 on May 18. Image:Youtube
LONDON, England - IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe's crash on Monday (May 18) has raised questions about the safety of the sport.
Hinchcliffe sustained horrific injuries during practice for the Indy 500 when a suspension arm pierced the car, went straight through his right thigh, and into his left upper thigh and pelvis, cutting a major artery.
The Canadian is expected to recover.
International Automobile Federation technical delegate Joe Bauer gave Wheels24 his opinion on whether similar incidents could occur in Formula 1.
VIDEO: James Hinchcliffe crashes at Indy 500
As for whether a similar injury could be sustained in F1, Germany's Auto Motor and Sport claims that is unlikely.
F1 CARS REINFORCED WITH ZYLON
First, F1 suspension arms are made of carbon fibre, not steel as in Indycar, and, crucially, F1 cars are reinforced specifically for anti-penetration with a super-strong material called Zylon.
Bauer said: "We have Zylon over length of the cockpit to prevent parts penetrating from outside."
Zylon is also used in Indycar, but in F1 it protects the entire chassis, so it is possible Hinchcliffe's broken suspension damaged the reinforced areas.
And also in F1, the mounting points of the suspension are further reinforced with steel. Auto Motor and Sport correspondent Michael Schmidt explained: "Indycar is still catching up in this area."
AERO KITS TO BLAME?
Three huge crashes in Indianapolis 500 practice earlier in May 2015 have raised one big question: Are the new oval aero kits, along with speeds that have topped 370km/h, the cause?
IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves said: "We're still learning, to be honest. There are so many little details with the new aero kit that we're just starting now to go through that phase.
"My team mates are going through that phase as well and we're just starting."
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