July deadline for F1 cockpit protection decision
Formula 1 race director Charlie Whiting has confirmed a decision regarding the implementation of cockpit protection will be made by July 1.
Earlier this year the FIA announced plans to evaluate cockpit safety with the view to introduce a system for the 2017 season.
The Mercedes and Ferrari developed Halo device, which made its debut in pre-season testing, has been under evaluation by the FIA for some time.
Meanwhile, Red Bull’s alternative ‘aeroscreen’ concept made its first public appearance in Friday practice at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.
The FIA is yet to decide which system to implement but is hopeful a decision will be made to allow teams to design their 2017 cars accordingly.
Any decision will however require unanimous support from the F1 Commission.
“The deadline that we mentioned last week was July 1,” said Whiting.
“It would be unreasonable if we didn’t have a clear path by that time.
“Their chassis design is normally fixed by this time. It’s only a small part of the chassis and it’s not going to affect things like fuel volume and those big things, but it’s still part of a complex design.
“Everyone feels that is the right way to go.
“Certainly in the case of the aeroscreen, the screen itself will be made by one company – the one that supplied Red Bull – and it will probably be required to supply everybody with exactly the same screen.
“The structure itself, we don’t know yet.
“Most teams would like to have a single design, whether that is a single source supply or whether it is a design like side impact structures, where the design and layout are all part of the technical regulations and the teams make their own to that precise design.”
Whiting says the FIA will continue to evaluate the two cockpit safety concepts with a focus on ensuring that a driver’s head cannot make contact with the structures in the event of a crash.
“At the moment it’s quite big and is causing a few problems, so what we are doing is some sledwork with a dummy to try to simulate more precisely just how much room you need in order to make sure that the driver’s head doesn’t make contact with it – as they are both substantial structures,” said Whiting.
“That is the next phase of work, which I am told should be completed within two weeks.”
Whiting also confirmed that Red Bull’s ‘aeroscreen’ is set for further testing at the next two races in Spain and Monaco.
The Milton Keynes squad will use these tests to trial coatings on the canopy screen to prevent glare and repel rain.
“This time we hope they will have found or sourced, and they are optimistic they can, some anti-glare coating for the inside,” Whiting added.
“It’s quite difficult where you have tall buildings, trees, low sun, those sorts of effects, that you will probably get in Monaco and Monza, where there are natural features.
“And also a coating for the outside that will repel rain and prevent things sticking to it. But there are no such problems with the halo.”