In the wake of Justin Wilson's tragedy, it's natural for people to grasp for solutions to prevent a repeat. Given the circumstances, that means cockpit canopies are again being talked about.
How greater head protection is introduced in open-wheelers, if it it comes to that, will be dictated by the science, which is more complicated than many appreciate. But let's zero in very closely on one specific aspect of the debate: tradition.
Open-wheel racing cars, spearheaded by grand prix machinery and Indycars, are and always have been open-topped. But does it follow that they therefore always should be?
The appeal is very clear. Being in an open-cockpit car, particularly one with a small deflector shield, makes drivers feel far more connected to the environment and the track around them.
Would a re-vamp of the look of single-seaters have to be considered a bad thing?
During my own days as a (slow) amateur racer, I always enjoyed open cars more than roofed ones even though the risks involved were made clear when a small stone pierced my visor and drew blood at the top of my nose during a race at Castle Combe.
It was a very trivial 'injury', one that was barely noticed, but it underscored an unavoidable truth that what happened at Pocono on Sunday night exemplified.
When tradition comes up as an argument for or against anything, you must always be on guard. The concept has been invoked throughout human history, sometimes to support the most good and honourable causes and sometimes the most bad and despicable.
So simply saying "it's traditional" isn't good enough. All you are saying is "that's how it has always been, so it must always be" - it's circular reasoning and therefore not reasoning at all.
Digging down into the argument and breaking into more fruitful seams is the way to go. Firstly, as already established, from a driver's perspective I suspect the majority prefer open-cockpit cars for reasons of immediacy.
At the same time, most will also recognise the potential safety benefits of a closed car and would embrace that. There's no cowardice in not wanting to be struck on the head with serious or fatal consequences, it's just common sense.
Then there is the argument of fan appeal. Fans have lost the connection to the organic heart of a racing car because it's now so difficult to see what the drivers are doing.
For very good reasons, the arms, hands and shoulders of drivers have become cocooned in a survival cell. The helmeted head remains visible, a reminder of the skin and bones inside it, but that's all.
Because of that, it potentially could be better for fans if the drivers were more enclosed. It might allow cameras to be placed in such a way that the work going on behind the wheel is easier to see, maybe allowing a little more scope for the driver's style to be communicated as it is in certain other closed-cockpit categories.
It could also allow for better accommodation of taller drivers - a cause of which Wilson himself would doubtless have approved.
Drivers have gradually become more enclosed over the years © LAT
There is also the question of the 'brand'. The basic look of, for example, an F1 car has largely been unchanged since the late 1960s: front and rear wings, airbox, driver, tightly-packaged sidepods, exposed wheels.
To enclose the driver would modify that look substantially and, by and large, change isn't generally embraced by people.
But perhaps there is an opportunity here to redefine the look of single-seater racing? Projects like the DeltaWing, the Nissan ZEOD and the current Nissan LMP1 car have attracted a great deal of attention and interest precisely because they are different.
Whether that positive effect could be had depends on the nature of the implementation of a canopy. A sleek, jet-style canopy certainly has more appeal than the boxy 'greenhouse' style ones adopted (for extremely valid reasons) in sportscars.
Talking of sportscars, would enclosing formula cars not eradicate the distinctions between categories? A little, perhaps, but there is no reason why an enclosed formula car would not look significantly different to a sportscar.
Besides, the styles of racing - sprint versus endurance, one driver versus two or more - are the more obvious differentiating factors.
Dynamically, there would not be a huge impact to the way closed single-seaters would handle compared with open ones. In fact, there could also be interesting gains in terms of aerodynamics and, crucially given the direction of motorsport technology, efficiency.
As Audi LMP1 driver and Formula E ace Lucas di Grassi, not just a fine driver but an intelligent thinker on the sport, mentioned on Twitter: "canopies will be used in every single formula [open-wheel] series in the future. Not only for safety, but for aerodynamic improvement."
The tradition argument therefore looks even shakier. If the debate is not only about whether it goes against tradition, but also a potential new avenue for development and technical interest, then that further undermines the traditionalist argument.
F1 cars are, by regulation, open. There's a strong chance designers would have enclosed the cockpit already by now if they'd been given the opportunity in the rules.
Personally, I very much like open cars - not just single-seaters, but also the kinds of Le Mans prototypes that are currently being phased out. So the tradition argument does have some resonance.
But when you start factoring in safety improvements, the fact that the walls of civilisation would not collapse if cockpits were enclosed in F1 and IndyCar, the potential for creating a new vibrant look for machinery in which interest seems to be dwindling, all of that is far more powerful.
Closed cockpits doesn't have to mean a 'sportscar' look for single-seaters © XPB
This is not an argument for canopies or for any other 'bolt-on' deflection structures - it is simply tackling one of the major negative arguments that crop up. In short, if you want to say no to the idea, you need a better argument than that of tradition.
So it is only right and proper for all racing categories to be open to the idea.
There is one very important proviso - that it should be well-researched and introduced for the right reasons, not as a knee-jerk.
Without knowing anything more than the visually-obvious factors in the Wilson crash, it seems reasonable to assume that an enclosed cockpit would have significantly increased his chances of survival (although, it should be noted, this would probably not be the case in such an extreme accident as Jules Bianchi's).
But all a canopy is doing is changing, rather than eliminating, such an accident.
Only with proper understanding of all the consequences of a change to the global picture - the driver being hit, the other cars on the track and the crowd - should changes be made. Without that diligence, the law of unintended consequences will bite back.
But to dismiss the idea out of hand for nebulous reasons such as "tradition" would do a disservice to the honour not just of Justin Wilson, but drivers such as Henry Surtees who have suffered a similar fate.