Max Chilton wants changes afterJustin Wilson tragedy

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British former Formula One driver Max Chilton has called for the introduction of protected cockpits in single-seater racing following the death of Justin Wilson.

Wilson, 37, was struck on the crash helmet by a piece of flying debris following a crash at the Pocono Raceway on Sunday.

The force of the impact immediately rendered him unconscious and he succumbed to his injuries with his wife Julia at his hospital bedside in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Monday night.


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And Chilton, a former team-mate of Jules Bianchi - the Frenchman who died last month from the horrific injuries he sustained at the Japanese Grand Prix in October - believes changes must be made in order to prevent further tragedies.

In an emotive statement on his personal website titled 'Time For Change', Chilton wrote: "The sport is yet again mourning the loss of another great talent due to a 'freak' accident. No matter how much we try to use the word 'freak' in order to try and ease the pain or understand such an incident, the reality is that if something happens more than once, we need to rethink the use of that word.

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"The sport we love was made a lot safer due to Sir Jackie Stewart with the help of the FIA and Max Mosley over 20 years ago and the time has come for us to make that next step in improving safety. With his vast experience Charlie Whiting is a great man to help us with this along with the FIA.

"Our sport will remain a dangerous one to an extent and we have to accept that. We can't stop huge impacts but the one vulnerable area left is the head and in this area there is more we can do.

"Some won't like the idea but it's time to get cockpits protected. In 10 years' time we will look back to racing today as we look back at the safety precautions 20 years ago and say 'what were we all thinking?'"

Wilson's death came only 37 days after Bianchi, the driver tipped to be a future Formula One champion, died.

It is six years since Henry Surtees - the son of 1964 world champion John - was killed after he was hit on the head by a flying wheel at a Formula Two race at Brands Hatch.

The FIA will renew tests on closed cockpits next month, and Chilton, currently racing in the Indy Light Series, insists it is a concept which must be introduced to single-seater racing.

Chilton, fortunate to dodge Kimi Raikkonen's flying wheel following a first-lap crash at last year's British Grand Prix, added: "It was only last week I was studying the FIA cockpit canopy testing on YouTube, which is something single-seater drivers shouldn't be worrying about, but I'm not ashamed to admit that it's something that concerns me after my near miss with a tyre on the opening lap of the British GP in 2014.

"It shouldn't take the tragic passing of a great man like Justin Wilson to provoke this, but maybe this will be yet another legacy that Justin, Jules and Henry leave us with.

"We all as a united community can get a solution and yes there will be some downsides but the upsides will outweigh them by saving lives."

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