Drivers wear fire proof clothing to help protect them in the event of a fire. This protection gives the driver time to vacate the car and for the fire marshals to put out the fire if the driver is trapped inside the car.
The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) is generally accepted as being the world governing body for all motorsport (we exclude North America from that statement) and the FIA defines the specifications and lists the approved products relating to the safety aspects (helmets, race suits etc). The standard by which the safety clothing system must comply is 8865-2000.
A summary of the clothing safety requirements are detailed below:
ABSTRACTS FROM THE FIA 8856-2000 STANDARD
- Design elements (stripes, piping…) must be made in aramid fabric (ISO 15025A standard)
- Shoulder pads are compulsory
- Badges backgrounds must comply with the ISO 15025A standard and be fireproof
- Thread used to attach badges must comply with the ISO 15025A standard and be fireproof.
- Resist a flame for a minimum of 11 seconds
Protective clothing is split into two parts, these being the inner garments (known as underwear) and the external (suit, shoes and gloves).
Each driver has his own preference for the inner and outer layers based upon their individual shape and size.