F1: FIA will push for closed cockpits on Friday

BY Adam Cooper • January 28, 2016

The FIA is to propose that cockpit protection be introduced for 2017 when team representatives gather at Friday's Technical Regulations Meeting in London.

The FIA's Charlie Whiting and safety expert Andy Mellor have been examining a range of solutions in recent years, starting with the jet fighter canopy idea, and that process took a huge step forward in 2015.

The Halo design – originally suggested by Mercedes – has emerged as the best of the three options that have undergone extensive testing. The Grand Prix Drivers Association has also backed the Halo, and want to see something in place for 2017.

There are still some questions over forward visibility, and the structural implications for the chassis will also have to be fully examined. However, the FIA is now determined to introduce it for 2017.

“They've done a lot of tests and it has intensified over the last year,” said GPDA chairman Alex Wurz. “It was intensified because of all the accidents we've had, and not just in F1.

“As a result the research became very thorough, and everyone was looking for a solution which is implementable in F1, but also other racing categories, and which doesn't throw up any negatives, like extraction – and also cost efficiency, weight and so on. And in order to be very swift in its implementation, and ticking most of the boxes, the best solution now is the Halo.”

Wurz is adamant that it is introduced for 2017: “Maybe in the far future we will move to jet fighter cockpits with the closed canopy, but that is too heavy at the moment, it's too expensive, it would need a longer time to look at this solution. Maybe that will happen, because it has a few other interesting aspects.

“But the experts and drivers agree that the Halo should come in, and we hope it's just a formality on Friday that the technical directors agree.

“I don't know of course the technical aspects of implementation speeds and any issues that one of their clever brains might come up with, and which was not thought about. There's a lead time of 12 months, and many things have been implemented in a shorter notice period. But it's not that it's demanded or decided, it is still in an open loop conversation. I would think it should come, and I would hope so.”

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