Vettel to give Shield Free Practice Debut at Silverstone

The Shield cockpit protection device will make its track debut at Silverstone on Friday - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Sebastian Vettel will be the first driver to test out the new Shield cockpit protection system, with the device breaking cover for the first time at Silverstone on Thursday.

The German is expected to do a short run with the system around the British track before it is removed to allow Scuderia Ferrari to run it’s usual programme, but the Shield is the latest device being trialled that is aimed at protecting a drivers head in the result of an accident.

Many drivers last season got a taste of the Halo head protection system, but the planned introduction to Formula 1 was delayed until 2018, with the FIA using the extended period to check on alternatives.

“Tomorrow I’ll test the Shield protection for a few laps in P1,” said Vettel. “So far I’ve only seen it on a computer screen, so I’ll check it out.”

Despite the FIA being insistent that a head protection system is coming in 2018, Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner believes that the Shield will need to be properly tested in all conditions before it can be safely introduced into the sport, much like the Halo system was last year.

“There’s all kinds of issues concerning it,” said Horner. “I am not sure it’s been through the same amount of testing that the Halo did. I would rather get the job done properly for ’19 than rushing some through for ’18.

“Let’s see. We are going to be relying on the feedback on one driver in one set of conditions.”