Ferrari is testing a version of the FIA’s planned head protection system at the Circuit de Catalunya.
The ‘Halo’ system was originally proposed by Mercedes and has emerged as the front-runner from three different designs which were under consideration.
The designs were tested by the Global Institute for Motor Sport Safety by firing an F1 wheel from a cannon towards the structures at speeds of up to 225kph (139mph). The Halo successfully guarded the helmet area from the wheel and performed well in other tests.
Lead researcher Andy Mellor praised the Halo device in an interview with the FIA’s magazine Auto. “It’s very impressive that although the structure is positioned close to the driver’s helmet to provide protection from all angles, it is still able to prevent the wheel from contacting the helmet,” he said.
“In the very short distance available, a huge amount of energy is absorbed and the wheel is successfully redirected.”
The two other designs tested were the Additional Frontal Protection system, a series of three vertical find mounted in front of the drivers’ helmet, and the Centre-Line Roll Hoop, which affixed three bars extending from the roll hoop to the front of the cockpit.
The Halo designs presents less of an obstruction to the driver’s vision than these designs. “We need to avoid creating any blind spots as that would introduce an unacceptable additional risk during racing,” said Mellor.
“We’re looking to achieve a structure that provides a full panorama of forward and sideways binocular-vision, allowing only very small areas of monocular-vision restricted by the structure.”
The Halo adds around five kilogrammes in weight to the car.
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