Despite extensive testing and development, the FIA has decided that the introduction of cockpit protection in Formula 1 will be delayed until 2018.
Cockpit safety has been a key area of focus as the sport’s governing body aims to improve standards for drivers.
Two safety concepts have been developed with the FIA’s current preference for the Halo device, which has undergone extensive testing.
The alternative ‘aeroscreen’ canopy has been engineered by Red Bull, but has failed FIA examinations.
While the Halo design has passed FIA tests, it has been labelled ‘ugly’ by some drivers and attracted criticism regarding the reduced visibility it offers.
Other drivers have raised concerns that they felt claustrophobic surrounded by the extra structure above the cockpit.
After much discussion, the F1 Strategy Group voted against the introduction, by next year, of a cockpit safety device at a meeting last week.
Teams agreed that more development of concepts is required before giving the green light for 2018.
Cockpit safety has proved to be a divisive issue among drivers, teams and fans.
Many see the open cockpit nature of F1 as part of the sport’s tradition, while others argue that it is time technology helped eliminate some of the inherent risks.
The dangers of F1 have been made clear in recent years highlighted by the death of Jules Bianchi.
The Frenchman succumbed to serious head injuries sustained from a crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix last year.
More recently in IndyCar Justin Wilson was killed when a flying piece from the nosecone from another car struck his head in a tragic accident at Pocono.
In 2009 Felipe Massa was struck on the head by an errant spring from Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn at the Hungarian Grand Prix. The Brazilian made a full recovery from the crash.
The incident came a week after Henry Surtees was killed when he was hit by a stray wheel in Formula 2 at Brands Hatch.
Although vetoed by the F1 Strategy Group, the FIA could have enforced Halo’s introduction on safety grounds but elected against doing so. Only time will tell if this was the correct decision.
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