Formula 1 Cars to Have Head Protection System from 2017

The Halo cockpit head protection 1 photo
Photo: G. Piola animation
No matter how many safety rules are implemented, driving at 200 mph (322 km/h) in an open cockpit car involves some risks. In this regard, F1 drivers unanimously voted for a head protection system and better tires starting with 2017.
The head protection is not something new as FIA officials have been trying for some years to find new ways of protecting the drivers. Unfortunately, some recent events made them want to implement them much faster.

In July 2015, the motorsport world was shocked when ex-Marussia driver Jules Bianchi died as a result of severe head injuries after he had crashed into a recovery vehicle at the Japanese Grand Prix ten months earlier. A month from this horrific event, ex-F1 driver Justin Wilson was killed after being struck by flying debris during an IndyCar race in the US.

After some different ideas were tested last year, one particular design might now get the green light. Called “The Halo,” the device was developed by Mercedes and has two curved arms stretching forward from the back of the cockpit and arching around to meet at the front, where a vertical strut supports the entire structure.

The research the FIA experts have done is very thorough, and the process has brought forward a clear solution. Now the drivers feel it’s time to implement the extra protection at the latest in 2017,” Grand Prix Drivers’ Association Chairman Alexander Wurz commented.

This new safety feature is expected to be discussed at a meeting of F1’s technical leaders on Friday.

Obviously structural changes are required to the chassis but, with almost a one-year lead time, I don’t see any technical person speaking against such substantial safety improvements, especially given the last big accidents in open-wheel racing involved head injuries. So all the drivers, and I, hope that passing the additional head protection will be a formality,” Wurz also said.

Another problem that drivers want fixed concerns the tires. Since it returned to Formula 1, Pirelli's rubber was not to all pilots' liking because the tires are very fragile and promote too many pit stops, killing the show.

Drivers are now trying to convince Bernie Ecclestone, CEO of Formula 1 Group, to make a change for the sport to become spectacular once again and the drivers to be able to push their cars to the limit every race, as the BBC reports.
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