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New flameproof gloves meet with approval

A project to further increase driver glove safety in the wake of Romain Grosjean's fiery Bahrain crash saw prototype testing take place in Turkey.

Five drivers carried out prototype testing of a new glove standard on behalf of the FIA at last weekend's Turkish Grand Prix. Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo and Williams' George Russell all took part in Friday practice with gloves made to a new flameproof standard. This is a project that has been undertaken by the FIA's Safety Department with the intent of improving the heat transfer index of race gloves to reduce the chances of burn injuries to drivers in the event of fire. Last November, Romain Grosjean escaped a terrifying crash in Bahrain when his Haas ploughed straight through a barrier and ignited. Surviving the impact unscathed, Grosjean's worst injuries were burns to both hands as he was engulfed in flames. While his race gloves prevented him from worse injuries, the FIA identified the driver's hands as an area to focus on when the accident report was released earlier this year . Speaking after the Turkish Grand Prix, the FIA's Race Director and Safety Delegate, Michael Masi, explained that the gloves had already met the increased standard but are being tested for ease of use and dexterity by the drivers in order to ensure they are able to operate all steering wheel controls and dials comfortably. "We were fortunate enough that, unfortunately, due to the circumstance, but obviously as a result of Romain's [Grosjean] incident, it was an area we started working on immediately," Masi explained to media, including RacingNews365.com . "I think we identified very quickly that was an area that could be improved together with the manufacturers. The initial feedback from the drivers is good, there's a couple of little fine-tuning elements with a couple of the brands but nothing insurmountable from that end. "So we're very grateful to the drivers and the teams involved to actually run them and we've got that capability, and it shows that we're trying to increase those levels of protection as much as possible. "It sounds minimal, being the 1.5 seconds or whatever I think that we're aiming at, but as we've seen in those types of scenarios, every 10th of a second, every millisecond counts." With several different glove manufacturers in the business, Masi explained that the FIA have been working with the various companies to ensure that everyone is working in the same direction. "I couldn't actually tell you in detail, [as] the Safety Department has obviously been leading our research, but they've been working with them all. We effectively got to a milestone of being able to test them," he said. "The flameproof aspect has already been proven to our standards, it was literally driver comfort. And similar to what we did with the race suits a couple of years ago, when the new race suit standard was introduced, we tried a couple of those along the way as well for purely driving comfort and ergonomics." The new glove standard is yet to be homologated by the FIA, meaning it's not yet mandatory for the drivers to use.

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Flying hasn’t always been nice to my left hand but today I had a painless flight. And that feels good 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/49yYbHXiKF — Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) October 4, 2021

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