There are a lot of examples of things like this in motorsport. There are a lot of angles to approach it at, but others that come to mind and have irked me for a while:
Why do motorcycle races occurr at any venue with concrete walls? Why do we fill barriers with water at some of the USA’s premier karting events?
Why do sprint cars still lack a starter? Doesn’t the benefit of not waiting 20 minutes to push start 30 cars after a red flag outweigh ‘tradition’ in the current fan era?
Why is there no standard safety cert for neck support devices in karting?
Why are HANS devices not mandatory for every racer on oval tracks?
etc. etc. etc.
Ultimately, there are many questions that I simply don’t have the answer to, as they simply seem like pretty valid questions regarding safety that never are really discussed. Often, you hear the BS excuse of ‘well, it’s always been like that,’ which to me is infuriating. I do see the perspective of danger attracting certain folks, and I accept that. However, there are times when it seems motorsport in general is simply just asking for unnecessary danger as in the cases cited above…It would be interesting to consider the accidents and outcomes of quarter midget accidents vs. karting accidents.
Perhaps another factor to consider, which maybe now is a bit harder to nail down is the notion of the ‘cage mentality.’ Basically, if you have a roll cage, could it be argued that drivers would feel more confident in their chances of safe outcome in an accident? Belted in, etc., would we see more reckless or dangerous accidents, or less? While it’s smart to consider how to make drivers safer in a crash at all times, it’s also valid to consider whether certain devices would actually make the group mentality regarding competition and sportsmanship better or worse.
In karting, it seems that many of the ‘old guard’ aren’t a huge fan of the full-width rear bumpers, as it seems to have encouraged at a national level a bit more of a “eh, i’ll just drive through them” mentality at times. Could this be a point to view additional safety measures from that illustrates how a good idea can have unintended consequences? Perhaps? I think it is also valid however to argue that with the advent of these devices once an accident does start to occur, the likelihood of an up-and-over flip does seem a little less common.