Swiss company proposes to airlift crashed F1 cars

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The Swiss helicopter company Air Zermatt has proposed to remove stranded Formula One cars from the race track by airlifting them away to a safer place, avoiding the presence of recovery vehicles on the circuit.

What may seem to be a strange idea might be effective. The particular idea had already been tested in 2005. At the time, a helicopter was used during the A1GP race of Dubai.

Air Zermatt's recent proposal was triggered by Jules Bianchi's crash into a recovery vehicle at the most recent Japanese Grand Prix. It argues that such accidents can easily be avoided if cars are airlifted away.

"The accident would not have occurred if we had worked our way. That would simply not have been a recovery vehicle in the area", said Jürgen König of Air Zermatt to the Swiss Blick Magazine.

The company also notes that it has proposed to do a test of the system in an F1 test session, but has apparently not had a response from the FIA. This lack of request may have to do with uncertainty on the speed a vehicle can be cleared, as it would either require a helicopter to remain in the air during an entire race, or a deployment procedure as with the medical helicopter. The latter is on standby alongside the track during an entire F1 race to be ready in case of an emergency.

A little less spectacular, but relying on the same vertical removal of cars are the cranes present during the Monaco Grand Prix. These have proven their value for several years, but are obviously more practical and likely less costly. It does not however seem feasibly to implement such cranes on regular, +5km race tracks.