Safety in motor racing has increased and improved over recent years, but with risk lying in every corner, it still remains a dangerous sport.
For this reason, it is imperative for a driver to use the correct equipment every time they climb into the cockpit and ultimately, they are the guardians of their own safety.
In order to uphold this attitude of wellbeing, drivers can only use equipment that has been homologated by the FIA which, when put on, equates to four layers of protection.
Here at ROKiT Venturi Racing, we benefit from the support of Puma, with the world-leading sports brand acting as our Official Team Supplier.
For the past 70 years, Puma has pushed sport and culture forward as one of the world’s leading sports brands, designing and developing performance products for the world’s fastest athletes.
Puma’s fireproof underwear – composed of 58% Aramid, 39% Viscose and 3% Elastan – acts as the base layer in a driver’s equipment and therefore, their last line of protection.
When worn, this underwear covers a driver from head to toe, with the balaclava, long-sleeve top, bottoms, and socks increasing protection against serious burns by up to 50%.
A racing suit is worn over the underwear and acts as a driver’s primary protection against fire and extreme heat, with Puma’s overalls produced in a triple-layer construction.
These layers are 100% Aramid, being built with a woven layer outside and a felt, knit layer in the middle and inside, while the air in between the three layers serves as an additional protection against fire.
This layer combination gives the race suit the capability of withstanding temperatures of over 800ºC for at least 12 seconds, as required by FIA safety regulations and offers the best protection and comfort.
A driver’s gloves must be flame resistant too and contain 100% Aramid, specially designed with a high-grip, anti-slip coating on the palm to improve their grasp on the steering wheel.
Just like the gloves, Puma’s SpeedCat Pro boots are customised to fit each driver perfectly and match their own personal preferences to provide the ultimate footwear solution.
The design features a lightweight anti-slip, anti-static sole that is also resistant to fuel and oil to provide the best possible feel on the pedals while again being produced of 100% woven Aramid.
Perhaps the most iconic piece of safety equipment is the helmet and this is also the most personal item, with drivers selecting their preferred manufacturer and creating their own unique design.
Here at ROKiT Venturi Racing, our drivers use solutions created by Stilo and Bell which are made entirely of carbon and weigh just over 1kg with the capability of withstanding 55 tonnes of force in an accident.
In Formula E, we use full-face helmets, and of course, size is important. If a helmet isn’t a close fit, it can easily rotate or come off in an accident. The snuggest option is often the best.
Even the design of a driver’s helmet also has implications, with darker colours absorbing heat and therefore increasing body temperature which can impact performance in longer races.
The HANS [Head and Neck Support] device tethers onto the crash helmet and is a driver’s final piece of protective equipment.
Introduced in 2004, the head restraint is worn over a driver’s shoulders outside their overalls and reduces the likelihood of head, neck, and spinal injuries in an accident.
With all of this equipment and once worn, a driver is ready to climb into the cockpit and roll out of the garage, racing in the safest circumstances.