• Is the "Safer Wall" to blame? Update: It Wasn't

      I know this is a crazy idea, but after watching the video a couple of times, and using common sense, I ask, was the safer wall a contributing factor in the breakup of Wheldon's car?

      By its very design, the safer wall is a band-aid, not a fully baked solution. And it has a potentially fatal flaw, especially for narrow single seaters, the gap between the concrete and the safer wall itself. Look at my crude drawing:

      It would appear that Dan's car hit the gap between the fence and the safer wall. There is room enough for the top (or nose, or sidepod, etc) of a single seater to get wedged between both walls. The rest of the car become a giant lever and rips the roll hoop and anything else caught in the gap right off the car.

      I possibly have a solution to this, but what do you think? Is this an issue that needs to be looked at?

      That is what I worry about. And this is what lurks behind that foam:

      An upside down crapwagon could easily hit the top of this, as we have seen. And I bet those straps and very rigid closed cell foam blocks would do some damage at 220mph. I still see a possibility that Wheldon impacted this area of the safer wall with the roll hoop of his car. It could be the fence, a fence post, or the exposed top of the safer wall.

      Lose the wheels and the sidepods due to crash damage, and that is one dangerous position to be in, not even looking at the fence.

      Quote Originally Posted by cartcanuck View Post
      I think an ideal situation would be a safer barrier that is flush, or closer to flush, with the fencing or retaining barrier above it. That maybe it would all move as once piece, but that 2 or 3 foot gap would not exist. A car hitting half barrier, half fencing now would be knocked for a real ride because of the difference between barrier and fencing surfaces. If these surfaces could be closer together and could move as once piece to absorb the energy from a flying or crashing car, maybe that's a future tragedy avoided.
      That's what I am thinking too, it all has to be one piece, and not a fence. I am thinking more of tubular steel rails about 10-12 inches apart from each other, my drawing is crude, but the idea is there. The idea is that the wall and rail are one unit, and move together. The rails need to be spaced so that nothing significant can get through, and they need to be strong enough to not deform. Visibility would be impacted slightly, but not a lot. ALso, the fence would not be designed to slow or stop the car, that is not necessary, and is very dangerous. I'm not sure how best to attach the rails to the wall, so I used the standard poles, but these could be moved back and out of the way, but if you can't penetrate the rails they are less of an issue. The whole idea is to hit and slide, not stop. The fence can also be designed to guide the car back down through its shape..

      Again, this whole accident just got my mind buzzing on the stupid design of these fences...

      So I just saw a new video angle that I had not seen before, Wheldon totally hit a pole, very high up too. The safer wall had nothing to do with it. I do still hold that it has a potentially fatal flaw though.

      Leo, the blinds thing doesn't really work, think of it as more like bars on a window. A 2 inch tube every 12 inches would be practically invisible from 50 ft, and up close, well you can hardly see the front straight from the low seats as it is, cars are generally to close to the wall anyway. At naz, in the first 15 rowa, you would only see the roll hoop go by.

      At 2:36 you can clearly see the impact.

      This article was originally published in forum thread: Is the "Safer Wall" to blame? started by mclark2112 View original post
      Comments 1 Comment
      1. Chief's Avatar
        Chief -
        Matt, all due respect but the fence posts are the problem. Fences, netting, plexiglass, whatever...they all need support. This is really no different in cause-effect than Jeff Krosnoff's shunt at Toronto 1996. But in Toronto's case, they cut trees down and moved posts. Ovals you can't do that. The only thing possible is a hard, flat surface like Knoxville, Iowa has in the corners (Armco stacked 8 rows high). This eliminates the poles and is higher to keep cars in the "park". Other than that, better balance and aero redesign to prevent flips....and I think that's the best you can do for an open cockpit racer. The rest is in god's hands.