05302017

‘Shield’ device could be dangerous in wet conditions – Kevin Magnussen

Aeroscreen

The proposed shield will be at a shallower angle than the aeroscreen trialled by Red Bull last season

Plans for a transparent ‘shield’ device to protect drivers’ heads have been criticised by Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, who says it could make racing dangerous in wet conditions.

On Tuesday, the FIA said it will prioritise testing a clear screen over the controversial halo device, which was tested by all teams last year.

The FIA is committed to introducing additional protection in 2018.

Magnussen, 24, said: “We’ve seen some pictures. I’m not for it.”

Speaking before the weekend’s Russian Grand Prix, the Dane added: “I think it’s going to be difficult, especially in the wet, with the screen. Even without a screen, in the wet it’s difficult to see anything.

“I’m sure with that as well, it’s going to be impossible and more dangerous in wet conditions.”

The halo – a metal frame that arches over the driver’s head from behind his shoulders and meets at central point at the front of the cockpit – is the only head-protection device that has so far proved suitable for the task of protecting drivers from large flying debris.

The FIA said the halo device would be used next season if a shield did not work.

Red Bull trialled a screen system last season – which was dubbed the ‘aeroscreen’ – but it failed its FIA tests.

A new screen system, known as the shield, has now been proposed with a shallower angle than on the aeroscreen. This is the device that will be tested this year.

The FIA tests will focus firstly on ensuring that the screen is strong enough to deflect a wheel and tyre fired at it at 150mph, and then on whether there are other major issues such as visibility.

The halo has passed all these tests and is ready for introduction, but F1 has already backtracked on a plan to introduce it this year and continues to vacillate over it.

Doubts have arisen from some drivers and team bosses, who feel that its aesthetics are not appropriate for the sport.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen<!–

Ferrari’s Raikkonen tested the halo device during practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November 2016

Shield or halo? F1 drivers have their say

Force India’s Mexican Sergio Perez: “It [the screen] looks better. It’s probably not at the level of halo in terms of safety but there is a lot of improvement that the FIA think can be done. It’s a matter of how much development they can do.”

Haas’ Romain Grosjean: “Can we choose nothing? I was not a huge fan of the halo and not of the shield either. I don’t want to affect safety but I don’t want to change what I have seen in F1 since ever. The next step is a closed cockpit and I don’t want to see F1 being closed cars.”

Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat: “I agree with Romain. I think it is enough for now. The way F1 cars should look now should remain the same. I am quite against both options.”

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas: “I don’t mind the shield, it looks OK. It is definitely a good step on the halo in terms of how it looks. Safety it is always important to keep improving. I wouldn’t mind trying out the shield and seeing if there are any issues but in terms of safety it would be a good step in terms of what we have now.”

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen: “I have only seen a picture of the shield. Until we try it’s very hard to say how it is. Is it better than the halo? I don’t know. Looks-wise I don’t think there is an awful lot of difference.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo: “We got a presentation in China about the shield and we still have to see a bit more. First impressions seemed OK and I guess we will now get some development on that and run it in practices as soon as they can put it on the car. It’s good they’re still looking for the head protection stuff.”

What Next?

Recent Articles

Leave a Reply

You must be Logged in to post comment.