Five Formula 1 drivers are testing prototypes of new, safer racing gloves in free practice for the Turkish Grand Prix this weekend.
After Romain Grosjean’s accident in Bahrain at the end of last year, the FIA has decided to develop new, more fire-resistant gloves. The Haas driver was involved in a horrifying accident during the Bahrain Grand Prix last year, in which his car caught fire. He was trapped in the flames for tens of seconds, but eventually managed to get out of his car relatively unharmed.
He did, however, suffer serious burns to his hands and that has prompted the international motorsport federation FIA to take another look at the drivers’ gloves. “Since early 2021, the FIA’s safety department has been conducting a research project with the aim of improving the heat transfer protection of drivers’ gloves,” the FIA said in a statement.
When developing the new gloves, attention is not only paid to the fire-resistant capacity, but also, above all, to the practical use of the garment. “The specific changes in glove specifications needed to achieve better protection must be balanced with the comfort and dexterity needed to drive the car safely and for long periods.”
Because comfort and agility can only really be tested on the track, the FIA has given five drivers permission to drive it at Istanbul Park this weekend. Those drivers are Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo, George Russell, Carlos Sainz and Sebastian Vettel.
If the test goes well and the new gloves actually represent an improvement over the current material, the World Motor Sport Council will have to give its approval for their use in official races. The gloves would therefore also be used in other racing classes such as Formula E and the WEC.