After the accident Romain Grosjean in Bahrain last year, where the French driver burned his hands, the FIA launched a search for additional protection, in partnership with equipment manufacturers. With the agreement of the FIA Stewards, five drivers and four suppliers took part in a free practice prototype test at the Turkish Grand Prix, mainly to assess the feeling with these gloves on the track. These were Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz for Puma, Daniel Ricciardo equipped by Sparco, Sebastian Vettel with Alpinestars and George Russell via OMP.
« As a result of the Romain incident, this is an area we started working on from the start », said Michael Masi, FIA race director, interviewed by Motorsport.com on this subject. « And I think we quickly identified that this was an area that could be improved with the manufacturers. »
“The feedback from the riders was ‘It’s all good’. There are a few things to tweak with some brands, but nothing insurmountable there. We are very grateful to the riders and teams who tested them. . And it shows that we are trying to increase that level of protection as much as possible. The second and a half that I believe we are aiming for seems small, but as we saw in this kind of scenario, every ten thousandth of a second account. »
Masi insisted on the close collaboration of the FIA with the various manufacturers concerning the development of the new gloves. « It’s a project that the security department [de la FIA] leads in detail, in particular via our research group, which works with all these brands « , continues the Australian. « We have indeed reached an important stage: to be able to test them. Nuno Costa, our director of security for all personal equipment in particular, was there [en Turquie] and worked with everyone to oversee this test this weekend. «
Masi also stressed the importance of a test on the track to ensure that the drivers are comfortable with these gloves. « And we have our safety goals to achieve », he added. « But obviously the feel of the pilot is just as important. We can’t change that side completely, because they have to have that level of feel, especially with something like the gloves, given all that they are. must do. That’s why we did this practical test to get their feedback in real life. «
“It was literally a question of riding comfort, similar to what we did with the suits a few years ago when the new standards were put in place. We also tested a few, purely for the pilot comfort and ergonomics. «