Daniel Ricciardo admitted the running he did with the aeroscreen head protection system during free practice at the Sochi Autodrom on Friday was a different experience for the Red Bull Racing driver.
The Australian debuted the Red Bull-designed system and gave his first impressions of the aeroscreen, feeling that all-round visibility was good from behind the wheel, while also admitting that the system will still need more testing to see whether it is a logical step forward in the search for better head protection in the sport.
Ricciardo believes it would be disrespectful not to explore a head protection system after recent incidents in both Formula 1 and other forms of motorsport that cost drivers their lives.
“It was different this morning running with the aeroscreen, not having the wind rolling on me and the engine sound was different as well,” said Ricciardo. “The visibility was pretty good, so first impressions were fine, it was driveable.
“Where we have the structure in place is pretty much where the mirrors are so I wouldn’t say it hindered any more than we are now in terms of visibility. Peripheral vision was fine as well.
“The talk about open cockpits has been going on for a while and that’s fair enough. It would be great to keep it as it is but obviously with accidents that have happened, especially more recently, I think not exploring this seems a bit disrespectful.
“The plan is to probably try it again on a different circuit with different scenery, a bit more undulation or something like that or maybe a night circuit. The lights could be interesting how they reflect off the screen so we’ll give it a bit more running.”