Date: 9th February 2016 at 10:14am
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With a huge push within Formula One towards proper head protection designs, numerous considerations are being discussed.

The driving force behind this move is via the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association who have opened the discussions regarding the introduction of head protection devices or potentially enclosed cockpits.

Discussions regarding enclosed cockpits arise every so often, often prompted by tragic circumstances such as the death of Henry Surtees who was killed during a Formula Two race at Brands Hatch in 2009. Or more recently Justin Wilson who was killed after he was struck be debris during an Indy Car race.

In Formula One, there has also been the tragic circumstances which led to Jules Bianchi’s eventual death last year.

Changes to procedure under yellow flags and the timing of events have changes since Bianchi’s crash, but now the F1 drivers are pushing for a change to the design of cars.

The favoured option within Formula One appears to be the ‘Halo’.

The device has a vertical strut support in front of the driver and two arms curl around the drivers helmet towards the back of the car which provides some protection from debris.

Last month Grand Prix Drivers’ Association chairman Alexander Wurz told the BBC that he would like to see something implemented in time for 2017.

‘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.’


Charlie Whiting later made it an FIA directive, which for all intents and purposes means it’s no longer a question of whether the Halo would be adopted, but simply about its implementation.

It is now thought that the ‘Halo’ design could see the addition of a clear panel [perspex or bullet-proof glass], creating a type of windscreen for the drivers for future development.

This second stage of the ‘Halo’ concept would help prevent injuries such as what Felipe Massa suffered when he was struck by a spring that had fallen off Rubens Barrichello’s car during the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying.

The first stage of the ‘Halo’ design once fully approved is expected to add 10-15kg of weight to the cars.



 

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