FORMULA 1′s halo safety device has been given a test run by Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen.
“First impression on the visibility test is positive,” Raikkonen said. “The structure does not hamper (visibility).”
The FIA is looking at ways of improving cockpit security to leave drivers less exposed to the risk of head injuries after French driver Jules Bianchi and British IndyCar driver Justin Wilson died last year. Brazilian legend Ayrton Senna died in 1994 when a piece of dislodged suspension struck him in the head during a crash at Imola in Italy.
The “halo” design works by forming a kind of semi-circular barrier around the driver’s head and is the concept most favuored as it offers protection against flying debris without completely closing the cockpit.
Although approved in principle, the concept still needs to be ratified by the World Motor Sport Council by April 30 in time for the 2017 season.
Governing body FIA still needs to run more tests and the design itself also needs to be finalized to ensure, for example, that the halo does not impair visibility.
“My opinion is it really is a massive step in safety,” PETRONAS Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg said of the halo device.
“This would have saved those people, so it’s a huge step, definitely needed.”
The halo is a a metal bar in the shape of a “Y” stretching around the cockpit.
A closed cockpit has been rejected because that would make drivers suffer intense heat as well as impede access for emergency personnel in an accident.