Cultivating a generation where safety in motorsports is paramount.

Tuesday 9th July 2019

Cultivating a generation where safety in motorsports is paramount.

In recent years, attitudes towards safety in motorsport have changed remarkably. Fatal incidents have drastically reduced in comparison with the early years of racing where deaths amongst both racers and spectators were numerous.

Why the change?

Human nature thrives on improvement. Just as we have seen racing vehicles evolve into high spec models of engineering at its best, so we see every element within the sport progress. Improvements in safety have been key to ensuring longevity in motorsport.

Within the last 10 years, there have been distinct changes imposed by the organisers of motorsport championships to reduce speed and improve safety. These changes include weight and fuel restrictions and limitations in engine capacity.

Year on year, Formula One makes changes to improve safety. They strive to determine efficient measures is one that is constant. Innovation is at the helm with an aim to develop protective devices to defend key anatomical structures while minimising hindrance to the driver.

Where there is no cure, there should be prevention

Despite these changes, there is no escaping the fact that motor racing is dangerous. Any sport where high speeds are reached come with risk. Managing the risk is vital – as well as physical advances in the vehicle itself, managing the risk can be achieved by focussing on education and awareness.

There is now a culture of safety; people are talking about it. Fatalities are investigated and causes are addressed. Where there can be improvements, changes are implemented.

In order to ensure that motorsport retains its success, a culture of safety is paramount. Nobody wants to do something that is inherently unsafe and thankfully for younger drivers entering the sport, there are now strategies in place to aid awareness and promote safety.

Progression in education – the Sean Edwards Test

The Sean Edwards Test is a test given to drivers prior to races, meant to assess the driver’s understanding of the rules of the track and race. The SET is designed to account for the increasingly global nature of motorsport competition. Currently, there is no standard process for obtaining an international racing license and with pre-race briefings being given in English, it is hard to determine whether participants have a clear understanding of what is expected of them

SET was introduced as a pilot program at SRO GT series races in 2015. Since then, more than 1,000 drivers have participated and feedback—including race directors, organisers, and marshals—has been overwhelmingly positive. The consensus is that SET is a critical component of providing a safe racing environment.


The future of motorsport depends on a committed approach to the prevention of fatal injuries and the change in attitude in recent years is encouraging. The development of strategies like the SET has been pivotal in ensuring that a new generation of drivers is suitably educated in order to limit incidents – ultimately it is education and awareness that aids prevention.


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