Formula 1™ goes ballistic

Carbon composite test sample used in ballistic tests, 2008

Modern F1™ drivers can walk away from high-impact crashes virtually unscathed, thanks to the reinforced materials and crash structures built into the cars to disperse the energy of a collision. The sturdy shell of the driver’s seat also helps by holding the driver securely in place.

Racing cars are made of carbon-composite materials. As this test sample shows, the material is strong enough to absorb the high impact energy of a bullet or explosion. Troops in Afghanistan and Iraq make use of the material to help reduce serious injuries caused by mine and car-bomb blasts.

F1™ engineers have designed a carbon-fibre seat shell for use in lightweight ‘jeep’-style vehicles. This includes a special aluminium honeycomb structure placed beneath the seat that absorbs the energy and reduces 50 g blast acceleration to 20 g, greatly increasing the chances of surviving an explosion.

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