Following the Scuderia Ferrari squad’s trial of their Halo system during pre-season testing, the first practice session for the 2016 Russian Grand Prix will see a further cockpit protection concept trialled, in the form of the Red Bull Racing canopy.
The Milton Keynes based squad will run the alternative solution during an installation lap on Friday morning, they have not yet disclosed which of their drivers will run with the canopy on-board however Daniel Ricciardo was photographed testing out the aeroscreen before it hits the track tomorrow. Red Bull are confident that fans of the sport are more likely to approve of their version, after criticism regarding the look of the Ferrari model was conveyed by F1 supporters. With the central pillar removed, the main cause of contention for fans, the Austrian owned squad feel that they are onto a winner.
Testing of the cockpit protection is likely to be ongoing for some time yet, but before continuing down that long road, Red Bull are keen to test driver visibility as well as fan opinion. That is something F1 race director Charlie Whiting would also like to gauge, but stressed whilst speaking to motorsport.com that the final decision on which design would be implemented, would be based on whichever model provided the better safety option. If both performed on equal merit in that area however, then the canopy could be selected over the halo, if teams preferred the aesthetics.
“Personally I would say the canopy is more aesthetically pleasing solution, but it’s only a matter of taste.
“However, if both solutions perform equally well in testing I would be surprised if there’s an overwhelming desire to keep the Halo.”
There are other cockpit protection options also in the pipeline, namely an ‘Additional Frontal Protection (AFP)’ structure and the ‘Centre Line Roll Hoop’.
The Additional Frontal Protection (AFP) structure consists of three curved fins that fan out and appear as vertical pillars in the lower part of a driver’s vision. It would be situated at the front of the car, close to where the nosecone attaches to the front of the chassis, with the aim of deflecting objects heading into the path of a driver.
The Centre Line Roll Hoop on the other hand consists of three curved round-section bars that pass over a driver’s head from the cars existing roll hoop, to the front of the chassis close to the nose attachment. The bars have been designed specifically with the aim of flexing and deflecting a wheel away from the driver.
All concepts have been devised in order to save lives being needlessly lost in accidents that could have been prevented, and so although some people do not like the idea of the system being brought into F1, the sport cannot afford further serious injury or fatal accident to drivers, like we have seen in the last two years – it will be he future, so you might as well get used to it now.