FIA safety delegate Charlie Whiting is confident that the radical ‘Halo’ head protection system is on course to be introduced into Formula 1 next year.
The structure, which fits to the cockpit of the cars to protect the driver from debris, made its public debut at the pre-season Barcelona test earlier this month.
In a media briefing at Albert Park Whiting announced that development of the system is progressing well with the FIA aiming to bring in the concept next season.
The Formula 1 race director acknowledged an alternative head protection design submitted by Red Bull but stressed that the Halo remains the FIA’s system of choice.
A thorough risk assessment will be conducted before final sign-off, with the FIA working to a May deadline to deliver details to teams.
“I think we are on a course for the Halo that has been tested thoroughly and we feel it offers the best all round protection,” said Whiting.
“I think it is going pretty well. It has been tested quite extensively now and I think it will offer quite good protection for a flying wheel.
“That is the main way it has been tested so far. We need to do a through risk assessment on it and a number of related things like extrication and to talk to medical crews about it.
“We have a got a separate working group to deal with that which is headed up by Mercedes and Ferrari. I would say they are doing a good job with that.
“The Red Bull system is an alternative to that, it is considerably behind in development and it has never been tested,” he added of a design that includes a frontal screen.
“It could offer additional protection but I have got my doubts as to whether it could be implemented for 2017 whereas the Halo could.
“I don’t think we would delay it because we felt there is another better one coming.”