The FIA has recently announced important changes in its pursuit of the best design for a cockpit protection system ahead of the next Formula One season. Following a meeting of the F1 Strategy Group and Commission in Paris yesterday (25 April), several changes to the sporting and technical regulations have been agreed, as indicated by a statement from the FIA. One of the decisions the groups made is to turn its back on the “halo” concept, which was going to be introduced from the 2018 F1 championship:
“A number of more integrated solutions for additional frontal protection have been studied, and the decision has been taken to give priority to the transparent ‘shield’ family of systems. The FIA aims to carry out track tests of this system during this season in preparation for implementation in 2018.” – the FIA said in the official statement. Red Bull Racing has already tested an “aeroscreen” concept during practice for the 2016 Russian Grand Prix that was similar to what the FIA is now considering. That design was favored by drivers and fans over the “halo” for its aesthetics, though Red Bull wasn not willing to spend more money developing it to improve its structural strength.
The new “shield,” which the FIA presented to drivers at the Chinese Grand Prix, would go on the safety cell ahead of the driver, rather than wrap around the cockpit itself, according to reports from Motorsport. The transparent screen essentially would be a continuation of the imaginary line that stretches from the nose cone to the top of the air box, which the regulations require drivers’ heads to remain below. In theory, this should offer more complete frontal coverage than the “halo” idea without influencing on the drivers’ abilities to quickly exit the car. Some drivers reportedly are skeptical of the new concept, while Haas F1 Team’s Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen have little faith cockpit protection will ever arrive in modern Formula One.
Other sporting and technical changes include:
Pirelli will be allowed to develop 2018 wet weather tyre compounds using previous specifications of cars and wheel dimensions
In the case of a red flag period during a Grand Prix, the race will be resumed from a standing start.
Driver names and numbers – Information was given to the F1 teams that, from Barcelona (12-14 May 2017) onwards, the sporting regulations will be strictly enforced to ensure that visibility of drivers’ names and numbers on the cars will be clearer.