The FIA Institute have announced a redesign to the current side impact protection system with the aim of improving safety from oblique angled impacts.
The system currently in use is a series of crushable tubes, attached to the side of the chassis, which crush in an impact – decelerating the car hitting them.
However, these had a tendency of breaking off in big impacts, such as Robert Kubica’s crash at the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix, which meant that debris would be spread across the track and potentially cause more damage.
Now, the series of tubes has been redesigned – with the help of Marussia, McLaren, Red Bull and Mercedes – to provide more safety from sharper angled impacts which was the Achilles heel of the current design.
The new designs, featuring high strength carbon fibre and a precise internal and external lay out can absorb up to 40KJ of energy from both a 90˚ impact and oblique angle impact.
The layout of the safety structures are standardised for all teams in 2014 meaning costs are reduced. What is not known however, is how these new structures affect the appearance of potential racers.