Red Bull Racing have become the second F1 team to trial the halo cockpit protection system, after junior driver Pierre Gasly headed out onto track on day one of the Silverstone test, with the prototype attached to the RB12.
Scuderia Ferrari are the only other team to have had the opportunity to trial the device, which was originally developed by Mercedes AMG PETRONAS in conjunction with the FIA, having tested the first version with Kimi Raikkonen at pre-season testing in Barcelona, before trying out the halo mark 2 on Sebastian Vettel’s SF16-H during the first practice session of the British Grand Prix weekend. Vettel was not overly complimentary about the halo following his one lap stint with the device attached, stating that it had “quite a bit of an impact on visibility”.
The Milton Keynes based squad had developed their oven version of cockpit protection, the Aeroscreen, which driver Daniel Ricciardo tested out in Russia, however the FIA were not keen on continuing down that avenue after safety tests conducted on the screen, had been inconclusive. They did however stipulate that the Red Bull device would not be completely cast aside, and the Austrian owned team still have the option to continue development, if they wish their concept to be considered for 2018.
Though the FIA have not officially confirmed the halo device will be in operation next year as yet, they are hoping that it can be implemented for the 2017 season, and have advised teams that a decision would be made by the end of this month.