This paper presents the results of an extensive test program conducted on behalf of Stewart Grand Prix at Lear Corporation's Technology Division in Southfield, Michigan. This project was conducted in conjunction with Bell Sports, Impact Medical Technologies, and Kistler Instrumentation.
The scope of this project was two-fold. The 1st goal was to evaluate alternative materials for the current head surround to improve head impact protection in the F1 cockpit. This involved 2 phases of testing. First was a series of headform drop tests to characterize material performance. A hyge sled test program was then conducted to evaluate the effects of the head surround on occupant head and neck loads during crash simulation. A correlation between these two types of tests is investigated in order to define criteria for future development.
The 2nd part of this project involved the evaluation of head acceleration response during the hyge sled tests. The output of accelerometers which can mount in the driver's helmet have been evaluated in comparison to the data generated by the headform of the crash test dummy. The goal is to define a basis for measuring linear and rotational response of the head in actual racecar impacts. Results from such in-field measurements could further the development of a more comprehensive brain injury criteria based on the understanding of the diffuse axonal injury mechanism.