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F1: Closed cockpit Formula 1 cars 'would look ugly'

The idea of closing the cockpits of the Formula 1 cars resurfaced following the horrible crash of Jules Bianchi in Japan.

Separate to the circumstances of Bianchi’s crash, however, is a discussion about arguably the last remaining true vulnerability when it comes to Formula 1 cars -- the drivers' exposed heads.

After Felipe Massa's 2009 crash, and again in 2012 when Maria de Villota crashed during a Marussia test, F1 and the FIA looked deeply into the possibility of enclosing the cockpits with a forward roll-cage or canopy.

However, Germany's Bild newspaper reports this week that Red Bull Racing and Mercedes AMG were the most opposed to the idea, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner saying the proposed solutions were "shockingly ugly".

The issue was then sidelined completely when Bernie Ecclestone argued that closed cockpits were contrary to the basic idea of F1, Bild claims.

Four days after Bianchi’s nasty crash, the idea reappears.

“I think it is something that we have to look at,” Williams Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams told Sky Sports News HQ.

“If it can improve safety then of course it has to be on the agenda as a conversation to have.

“But closed cockpits are not easy technically for us to integrate into a Formula 1 car and of course they would change the very nature of what a Formula 1 car looks like. We have to look at all the options available to us, whether that is a closed cockpit or not, but I think those conversations need to go on behind the scenes.”

UPDATE
Mercedes AMG’s Paddy Lowe on Thursday said he doubts a covered cockpit or a forward rollbar would have helped Bianchi last Sunday at Suzuka.

"If the rollbar was torn off (in Bianchi's crash)," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, "then having more debris around the head could have been even more dangerous."