Yesterday, a meeting of the F1 Commission and Strategy Group in Paris decided to get rid of the Halo cockpit protection system to focus on developing the “Shield” concept.
Following fatal accidents in F1 and IndyCar, cockpit protection has been a very important topic of discussion around Formula 1 and open wheel racing in general in the recent past.
The Halo was the first solution that was put forward. It was tested on various F1 cars by various drivers but was met with unanimous opposition due to its ugly aesthetics, and the fact that it hindered driver vision as well.
Photo : Car Throttle
Then came the aeroscreen as a possible solution, which wasn’t given much approval either.
Now, however, the FIA seem to be closing in on the “Shield” concept – a strong see-through screen which does not cover all of the cockpit, as a viable solution.
Photo : Autosport
“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”, said the FIA statement talking about their preference to the shield concept.
“The FIA aims to carry out track tests of this system during this season in preparation for implementation in 2018.”
As expected, the Shield has been met with opposition as well. Grosjean, Magnussen, and Kyvat have publicly said they don’t like it. And this will go on. Propose another solution and some other driver will have a problem with that.
But, cockpit protection is an important issue that needs to be dealt with regardless of preferences. As a purist, while I still believe that the cockpit should be open, I’m open to change. If we have to change, I say go fully open or fully closed cockpit, but I’d encourage testing of these solutions wholeheartedly.
I’d rather deal with a bit of inconvenience to F1 aesthetics than have to deal with driver injury or death.
Feature image : Formula 1
– Aditya Bhat.