"Up until the 1980's, F1 cars were made of aluminium and plenty of drivers crashed them, with fatal results. These days they're made from composites, plenty of drivers crash them and walk away afterwards."
This has more to do with FIA regs than the materials used. The primary reason for F1 teams using composite materials is performance, not safety, related. The same is true with Boeing.
The difference is that is is (relatively) straightforward to improve the safety of an F1 car carrying just the driver, particularly where all the teams are constrained by the same safety rules and the cars have a very limited lifespan (one season).
Providing an F1 style 'safety cell' for every passenger would more than halve the passenger capacity of the aircraft ( and hugely increase its cost, and that of flight tickets) and, obviously, would be of little benefit in an uncontrolled plunge from 30,000ft.