MSA to optimise cost of safety equipment for competitors
The Motor Sports Association (MSA) has committed to an in-depth review of competitor safety equipment over the next two years. This will explore a raft of initiatives, including strategies to reduce the burden on competitors of the unnecessary replacement of seats and harnesses, while ensuring suitably high standards of safety are maintained in the sport.
A cornerstone of this new initiative will be to provide greater education for competitors in respect of their own safety and to place more responsibility on the competitor to maintain a level of safety equipment, above a defined MSA minimum standard.
As a first step, the MSA will recognise an extended life for certain FIA-homologated seats and harnesses in the UK. The MSA Board has approved the following Motor Sports Council recommendations with immediate effect:
In stage rallying, seats homologated to the FIA 8855-1999 standard are granted a two-year extension at the end of their initial five-year life. Across disciplines requiring a homologated harness, the MSA will recognise a 10-year life for harnesses homologated to the latest FIA 8853-2016 standard. This homologation is for six-point harnesses as a minimum, and is tested with higher loadings than the previous standard.
The MSA will be publishing new guidance on installing seats and harnesses, while giving scrutineers further training in this area. The governing body will also be reiterating scrutineers’ powers to retain or invalidate homologated equipment if they have serious concerns regarding its condition or know it has been involved in a major accident.
Looking ahead, the MSA is investigating new ways of tracking homologated components as well as evaluating more cost-effective accident data recorders (ADRs) for wider use.
“As the governing body, one of our principal roles is to grow motorsport at grassroots level while promoting safety within the sport at a realistic cost for competitors,” said MSA chairman David Richards. “I firmly believe the time has come for a wholesale review of our approach to safety across the entire motorsport landscape and this review will be delivered by 2020. It’s therefore appropriate to allow our competitors to continue using their recently purchased seats at least until then, when the outcome of this review will be published.”