LED to indicate the severity of F1 crashes

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A Marl LED is to be fitted to all Formula One cars as the warning light in a mandatory crash severity indication system, which alerts medical rescue crews to the seriousness of an accident.

A ruggedised Marl LED has been tested and approved by the FIA, the governing body for Formula One motor racing worldwide. It will be used to show race marshals attending an accident that a driver has been exposed to potentially damaging levels of shock during a crash. The FIA’s system consists of a number of sensors around the car that measure the forces on the driver during a crash. If these exceed a specified level, the indicator light illuminates, and the driver is subjected to a compulsory medical examination.

The Marl LED specified operates at the 5V DC voltage of Formula One vehicle electrics. It is a blue lamp, featuring a smoked lens to give the maximum on-off contrast. The LED has been brightness enhanced and is fully potted and sealed to protect it against the cleaning chemicals used, as well as spillages of fuel and other substances. According to the regulations, the warning light is connected to the data logger and faces upwards. It must be recessed into the top of the survival cell no more than 150mm from the car centre line and the front of the cockpit opening and as near to the marshal neutral switch as is practical.