Massive Collision Gets Belgian Grand Prix Off to a Bad Start

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Huge crash at Spa Francorchamps has officials racing to switch F1 to closed cockpits.

With 24 cars racing off at once, the start of any F1 race has the capacity to devolve into disaster. All that saves the worst from happening is the drivers' otherworldly skill, but at this past weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, things took a turn for the worse. Heading down the front straight into the corner known as La Source at the Spa Francorchamps circuit, Lotus driver Romain Grosjean squeezed Lewis Hamilton's McLaren into the wall. The two of them then bounced off into Fernando Alonso's Ferrari and Kamui's Sauber.

The ensuing collision sent Grosjean's Lotus flying over the tops of the other cars, taking all four out of the race immediately. The crash could very well have killed one or more of the drivers involved - particularly two-time world champion and current points leader Alonso - but fortunately everyone escaped without injury.

The race officials deemed Grosjean at fault and fined him €50,000 while banning him from the next race, due to take place next weekend at the Monza circuit in Italy. The crash has also prompted the sport's technical gurus to ramp up efforts to move F1 from its trademark open cockpits to closed ones as a safety measure to keep the drivers safer, much like Le Mans Prototypes have done recently.

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