Formula One: Closed cockpits must be considered, says Claire Williams

Manager of injured Marussia driver Jules Bianchi of France, Nicolas Todt (2nd left) speaks with Philippe (left) and Christine (2nd right) Bianchi, parents of Jules and president of the FIA Medical Commission Gerard Saillant (right) at the Mie General
Manager of injured Marussia driver Jules Bianchi of France, Nicolas Todt (2nd left) speaks with Philippe (left) and Christine (2nd right) Bianchi, parents of Jules and president of the FIA Medical Commission Gerard Saillant (right) at the Mie General Medical Centre in Yokkaichi on Oct 8, 2014. Williams racing team deputy principal Claire Williams has called for Formula One to consider the introduction of closed cockpits in the wake of Bianchi's life-threatening crash at the Japanese Grand Prix. -- PHOTO: AFP

SOCHI (AFP) - The deputy team principal of the Williams team, Claire Williams, has called for Formula One to consider the introduction of closed cockpits in the wake of Jules Bianchi's life-threatening crash at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Speaking at the Leaders in Sport conference in London on Wednesday evening, she said the sport needed to look at all possibilities for making racing safer for the drivers.

Williams, daughter of team founder Frank Williams and a 17-year-old fan at the time of Ayrton Senna's death through injuries suffered in a Williams team car 20 years ago, said safety was always paramount.

Senna was the last driver to be killed during a Grand Prix weekend.

Williams said: "Enclosed cockpits aren't easy technically for us to integrate into a Formula One car and, of course, they change the very nature of what a Formula One car looks like.

"We have to look at all the options available to us whether it's an enclosed cockpit or not, but I think those conversations need to go on behind the scenes.

"Safety is always paramount so we have to find ways to ensure our drivers are as protected as possible. I don't think what cars look like is important."

As Williams spoke in London, Bianchi battled for his life in Japan where he remained in a "critical but stable" condition after he suffered a traumatic brain injury when he crashed into a recovery vehicle.

The 25-year-old Frenchman, who drives for Marussia, remains on the intensive care unit at Mie General Medical Centre in Yokkaichi.

In Sochi, his name remained emblazoned across his half of the Marussia team garage at the Olympic Park circuit where the inaugural Russian Grand Prix takes place this weekend.

Williams added: "The FIA and the event organisers need to do a full analysis into the accident that happened on Sunday and I think everyone's concern in our sport at the moment is with Jules and his recovery."

"Our sport is dangerous at times, but a lot of work has been done behind the scenes in the past 20 years since Ayrton died at Imola in 1994.

"You see a lot of accidents in Formula One where you don't necessarily expect drivers to walk away and certainly, prior to 20 years ago, they wouldn't necessarily have done so."