The harness that is changing motor sport safety
Back in 1998, the Prime Minister was a fresh-faced Tony Blair, the Spice Girls were in their pomp and Jacques Villeneuve was the reigning Formula 1 World Champion. It was also the year that the last generation of harness standards, expiring this year, was put into place, with the stated requirement of withstanding a 28G impact.
At four times the force generated during the re-entry of Apollo 16, this is certainly not an insignificant feat, but it pales next to the latest standard of safety harnesses, which came into effect in December last year.
Extensive analysis of accidents across many championships has shown that impacts in excess of 70G can now be survivable if good vehicle crashworthiness and safe cockpit environments are combined with cutting-edge safety equipment, leaving plenty of room for improvement on standard 8853/98.