Red Bull canopy, Sochi, 2016

Red Bull’s ‘Aeroscreen’ cockpit canopy revealed in Russia

2016 Russian Grand Prix

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The first pictures of Red Bull’s canopy design, which they call the ‘Aeroscreen’, have appeared at the Russian Grand Prix weekend.

The cockpit protection system has been designed as an alternative to the Halo device which was run by Ferrari during pre-season testing. The FIA intends to introduce enhanced cockpit protection on next year’s F1 cars.

Red Bull will run the canopy during first practice tomorrow.

2016 Russian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 81 comments on “Red Bull’s ‘Aeroscreen’ cockpit canopy revealed in Russia”

    1. Looks pretty ace to me! One wonders if, with the screen extending to the side of the cockpit, the high ‘shoulders’ around the cockpit area could be lowered? (Think pre ’95 era)

      1. Probably not, because they are supposed to “hold” the driver’s head in case of lateral displacement.
        But, they could be seated higher.

        1. and even closed racing cars have those shoulders now.

      2. On the contrary, I hope it gets slightly raised higher to protect the driver’s head from side impacts should the halo bar fail due to impact from a massive force it cannot withstand.
        From a side view, with the driver seated in the car, the bar is on the same level as the drivers head. If it fails, it is certainly rocketing inside the driver’s compartment. Let’s hope extensive tests are carried out and the structure superbly reinforced.
        Overall, I think it is better looking. I have always wondered why Mercedes left their own version open when it was obvious even to a child that a screen is needed around the halo frame.

        1. Mercedes have not ruled out the option of integrating a clear screen into their concept, and did indeed preview a version of their Halo which featured screens, but they have had difficulty with resolving some of the issues that the screens have introduced.

          One issue is the fact that the sharp curvature of the screen tends to distort the field of vision, making it harder to judge distances – some of the drivers in closed cockpit prototype sportscars have complained about that issue in the past, and the tighter radii of Red Bull’s concept would potentially exacerbate that problem further.

      3. William Jones
        28th April 2016, 15:48

        Presumably the pit crew will be managing the tear-offs

    2. How can i insert the “shut up and take my money” meme here?
      Pre-answers:
      – yes, is not a full-on canopy.
      – a eletric current passing thru can get ride of water drops.
      – teflon(tm) can thwart most oily spills
      – seat the driver higher
      – the “canopy” could be detachable, as the seatbelts are, in case of an emergency extraction.
      – yes, a red tinted ferrari “canopy” would look great

      1. I like the idea of tinted canopy if F1 decides to go with Red Bull’s concept for 2017, since since drivers’ helmet wouldn’t be very visible, maybe the drivers can choose their own tint just like each of them has different helmet.

      2. William Jones
        28th April 2016, 15:54

        They will definately still need tear-offs, teflon won’t cut it, but this is still a positive – the pit crews will be managing them at pit stops, and the drivers won’t suffer too much, but we will rid ourselves of these riddiculous plans for glove boxes in the cars to stuff visor tear-off into.

        1. Who’s suggesting a glove box-type thing? All the drivers need to do with the tear-offs is pull them off their helmet and stick them on the cockpit floor.

          1. @zjakobs – lol they will get sucked out or flap around and get in the way there is a big pressure difference between inside and outside the cockpit at high speed.

          2. Drivers aren’t allowed to dump tear-offs any more, and they have enough trouble disposing of visor tear-offs. Glove-boxes wouldn’t be a bad solution, whether this solution to head protection is implemented or not.

    3. Looks good there.. I’ll wait to see it out on track before I decide ;)

    4. Better than the halo, worse than the current cars. Let’s see how it looks on track.

      1. Worse than the current cars? What if it means that the drivers heads are higher in the cockpit. They see more and we see more of them. Currently it feels like the drivers are seated so low that they can’t see much. They can’t even see their front wheels. In the “good old” days, they had their heads high and could see a lot more. Maybe this will help bring drivers heads up in the cockpit?

        It could also mean it is actually safer in the wet as well. It seems right now like drivers are struggling massively in the wet to see anything. It’s not just rain on the visor, it is condensation on the inside of the visor as well. Condensation would be negated and technology may provide a clearer view on the halo glass than a visor offers.

        1. They’re seated so low for center of gravity/racing purposes. No team is going to sit their driver higher due to a canopy.

          1. Unless it gets mandated by the rules, which is a possibility

          2. They’re also seated lower for safety reasons. I don’t see why someone putting in a halo to avoid debris would raise a driver’s head to put it back in the way of the debris…

        2. Drivers are also seated lower in order to lower the overall center of gravity of the car.

    5. I think it looks great. I have no problem seeing that on F1 cars in the future. Looks much better than the halo concept – looks like it belongs on a racing car.

      1. Agree, it looks like the little wrap around screens F1 cars had in past eras. It looks like my doodles on a notepad at work when this head safety subject came up, if it saves drivers it cannot be questioned that it looks good to my eye is a real bonus.

        1. That’s my problem with it. Looks like PAST eras. It’s 2016. A reflective mess drawn up by a 9yr old. If you’re going to hide the driver, show some artistry. And before the purists shout, you CAN have form AND function.

          1. A modern twist on past eras? What kind of solution would look better?

          2. Why dont you draw something out yourself instead of complaining about this concept. This in my opinion looks allot better than the Ferrari Halo concept shown in testing and it looks safer as well.

            1. Ferrari tried it but it was a Merc concept.

    6. How will the visibility be in rain? There are two layers in front of the drivers’ eyes now, helmet visor and this.

      1. Possibly better; the visor will likely be coated with a zero-friction compound to allow water to slide off, and the canopy is probably far more aero-efficient than the driver’s helmet, so there will be a shorter contact period of rain on the canopy…
        Given the speed these cars travel at, I’d say its fairly unlikely there would be any / much rain entering the cockpit, least not coming in contact with the driver’s helmet visor.

        1. – Given the speed these cars travel at, I’d say its fairly unlikely there would be any / much rain entering the cockpit

          Although airflow is mostly channeled over and around the driver’s cockpit, there is I believe, some amount that gets in to aid driver’s comfort. I remain worried about driver comfort especially in such places as China, Malaysia, Singapore and the likes where temperature and humidity tends to rise. With this screen, there is a possibility of greater discomfort as heat and sweat build up within the compartment.

      2. Non-existent during safety car periods in the rain, unless they fit windscreen wipers.

        1. Or treat it with a hydrophobic coating. I don’t really see rain being a big issue here

    7. Nice but why does it need those pillars blocking vision to the left/right like that?

      Why not just the current “halo” design which allows full peripheral vision, and with the screen also?

      1. For strength mostly. But also, the uprights are in line with the mirrors, so it’s not like the driver sees an awful lot there anyway. And they’re certainly going to be a lot easier to see around than the pillars on a Le Mans prototype. I don’t think they’re likely to be much of an issue, but then that’s why they bolt it to a car and try it out – to find out.

        I’d be more concerned about distortion caused by the curved windshield.

        1. I guess its up to the drivers to say whether they feel more ok with having a central pillar like with the Halo (wow, was that wide on the top though) or these 2 pillars in line with the mirrors (should really integrate rear view cameras and ditch the mirrors altogether!) @mazdachris, Tristan.

          Either of those will surely be needed to give it any stability under load to make it actually work. From the top view, I really wonder how a driver will get out of this (that probably goes for the Halo exactly the same). But yeah visibility might get an issue with the distortion and depending on how they solve dirt buildup on the screen

          RBR mentioned on planning for a tear off. But just last race DiResta mentioned how you normally want to get rid of the first tear off in the lap or 2 after the start, because that is when you get a lot of oil etc on them. The driver would have to wait until their first stop (or will ge wet “stop and go penalty for driving with dirty Screen”?? How would they even steward that). And with rain, well, lets say I am curious.
          Also the issue of changing light, I can see how low sun might mean quite a spectacular effect on visibility with this.

          1. Low sun would not be an issue as the driver still has the helmet visor strips that start off tinted then ones underneath are clear, like they used in Abu Dhabi

    8. Is it possible to get rid of the full helmet in case we end up with a full canopy? I can accept an f1 car with a full canopy i.e. Redbull X2010, provided we can see more of the driver.

      1. Propably not @mijail. Just look at sports cars, they always have helmets on for extra safety as well (as do rallye cars, NASCAR and all touring cars)

      2. Yup me too @mijail, that would be a big step. They just need clearance to the sides and a headband for HANS.

        IMO @bascb requiring helmets with no risk of head contact is just the organisers lacking courage. In those circumstances the extra weight just increases loads on the neck.

        But I would ban tinted visors anyway. They don’t really need them, like not everyone wears shades, it’s just for a feeling of comfort.

        1. Zantkiller (@)
          28th April 2016, 17:42

          @lockup
          You are aware that the HANS device which is standard in pretty much every motorsport does require a helmet to work?

          1. @lockup @zantkiller Yes they still need helmet, thats why i was talking about dropping the full helmet and going for a half helmet like in WRC. But now i know that WEC uses full helmets so probably not possible even with the full canopy

          2. Why is a headband not sufficient @zantkiller @mijail? WRC use open-face and the top of the helmet doesn’t do anything.

        2. Tinted visors are glorious things.
          I wear a tinted visor and in the sun they are definitely needed. They also give a clearer image of what’s happening everywhere apart from in really low light.

          1. Tinted may be preferred @crispin I agree, but are they needed? These guys have some of the best-adjusting eyes in the world. We didn’t evolve with tinted eyeballs did we? :)

            1. @lockup they have tinted visors now. And they can help us know who is who (if they go for different colours)

              remember the words of Pat Symonds:

              “Filipe baby, stay cool, we will bring you the visor, stay cool”

    9. A million times better than the halo. A million times worse than either a closed cockpit or the current open cockpits.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        28th April 2016, 16:08

        agree 100^3%, @geemac.

        * If accepted we should rename it cabrio-racing
        * will the Merc’s now get the ‘airscarf’
        * can’t they develop it to open/close in case of an accident/UFAO (untethered Fast Approaching Object)
        * ‘getting hot in here’ might become the new song for Magnussen.
        * will this allow NR to race without helmet to protect his hairdo

    10. It’s great that they’re trying it. I wanna see F1 Wash/wipe tho.

    11. Doesn’t look too bad, I guess, but It appears to me that it surely must have a negative impact on fresh air intake for the engine. I suppose the intake could be raised a bit if necessary.

    12. It looks out of place in the current cars. Maybe if the regulations would force a bit more ‘bulky’ car it would not feel so much like a patch.

    13. Looks much better than Halo to me, and it will deflect smaller objects which would have gone through the halo’s gap. I also prefer this to the current cars.

      I’d still prefer a full canopy on a car designed for it, but this seems the best solution so far.

    14. Looks better than the halo. Makes me wonder is this was the plan all along. Show everybody the ugly halo then a few months later show us the design they planned all along! That way way we were all mentally prepared for a dramatic cosmetic change to the cars and relieved that it’s better looking than the other option…

    15. They should delay the 2017 rule change.

      Use this canopy or the halo as a bolted on solution for next year while setting about rewriting the next masterplan of rules in a way which properly integrates the canopy design into the structure of the car. Ripping up the proposed rule changes not only gives them more time to reach a better aero consensus but with the canopy involved in the thinking makes for a cleaner looking car concept.

      It looks safe, and that’s great, but it just looks “tacked on” because it kind of is.

    16. Love the look, but it needs an efficient way of regularly cleaning it during the race or visibility will surely become a concern.

    17. Not sure how this is aesthetically any ‘better’ than Ferraris Halo, its basically the halo with a screen.

      Looks ok from some angles, but it’s going to look hideous from the T-cam like Ferrari’s did.

    18. I think it looks ugly personally.

      also given how the light is reflecting off it in the garage i can see this introducing a whole new set of problems with visibility etc.. this is narrower than a windscreen in a touring car or lmp car so light reflection & distorted vision as well as keeping it clean in the rain or from oil etc… is going to be far harder because its hard to find a wiper system that is going to clean something as curved as that.

    19. transparency international
      28th April 2016, 16:49

      Better than the canopy. Protection for the driver, still an open cockpit – sounds like a decent compromise.
      How much this affects visibility remains to be seen (pun attempted), but I’m more inclined towards accepting a somewhat compromised overall visibility rather than a halo that completely blocks the drivers’ view in a small area.
      Visibility in the rain and under difficult light conditions is what could stop the canopy from seeing the light of the day (pun attempted).

      1. transparency international
        28th April 2016, 16:51

        Curse it!
        The first sentence should actually read: ‘Better than the HALO’

    20. It looks better than the Halo but i’m still not really totally fond of it.

      I get the safety arguments & I’m all for improved safety but I just kinda like open cockpit racing & while i’m sure i’d get used to whatever solution they went with but….. I don’t know there’s just a big part of me that would prefer it to stay fully open cockpit like it is now because to me that is what this type of racing is/should be about.

    21. Looks way better then the halo Ferrari used for sure!

    22. Duncan Snowden
      28th April 2016, 17:15

      Looks like a no-brainer to me. Probably improves the aerodynamics too. In a parallel universe somewhere, F1 never developed those tiny vestigial “windscreens” in the first place…

    23. Better than halo, but does it offer better protection? In any case looks good and tasty, bring it in for 2017.

    24. Looking much better than the halo, but the visibility question still remains when it rains and when oil and dirt and flies get there; see how dirty the front of every car is after 10-15 laps. how could the driver reach and peel off a foil like from their visor.
      Well, F1 has the most ingenious minds around, so i’m sure they’ll figure out a system for keeping it clean.
      Also i’m not sure if it will not deflect some of the air that was going towards the intake.

      Also whichever device they chose they should name it after Bianchi somehow.

    25. Well unlike the halo design this design can stop incidents like what happened to Massa in 2009 and stop smaller objects hitting the driver, so out of the 2 if they have to go with one for safety this one beats the halo massively in my opinion.

    26. It is better than Halo and the current cars. It would be safer against debris.
      Of course there would be some new problems they have to solve.
      The cockpit has to be:
      1. “self-cleaning” from rain, dirt, vapor etc in order to visibility (or use windshield wiper)
      2. as strong as possible (at least bulletproof)
      3. easily removable from inside and outside in case of accidents or pit stops: brake, dent
      But I prefer fully closed cockpits like these:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Bull_X2010
      http://imgur.com/a/DF5Ra

    27. Tommy Scragend
      28th April 2016, 18:21

      Miles better than the Halo.

      I’d still rather stick with the status quo to be honest, but if they are going to go for the extra protection then of the two we’ve seen so far I hope it’s this one.

      Presumably the FIA will mandate which is to be used, or will teams get a choice, so Ferrari could use the Halo but Red Bull the Aeroscreen?

    28. Well, this design certainly looks better aesthetically than the halo, but I personally don’t think it will work as well from an engineering standpoint.
      The issues of vision distortion, oil/rubber debris, and cockpit cooling are serious, and better addressed by the halo. Also, rain will also be more problematic with this design. The narrow forward pillar of the halo is much better for driver visibility than the dual pillars of the aeroscreen, as cornering views will be more compromised. The simplicity of the halo compared to this design also works in its favor.
      All that being said, it is quite interesting to see what the best and brightest are coming up with to maintain the modern era’s safety standards and maintain an open cockpit.

    29. I prefer the halo, this looks like something taken from a 50’s front engined GP car. Far more technical difficulties also.

    30. I love it. It’s safer for the drivers, looks better and will probably help with overall aero. I do wonder if it will interfere with airflow for the intake in the roll hoop???

    31. knoxploration
      28th April 2016, 19:12

      Looks far, far better than the halo. A good oleophobic / hydrophobic coating would deal with almost all oil / water / dirt issues. If it has good enough protective strength and doesn’t disrupt airflow to the airbox, this solution should be adopted instead of the halo.

    32. I´m pretty sure in the future they are going to have overhead displays on that thing ! That would be so cool to see.

      1. Mustavo Gaia
        29th April 2016, 2:40

        lets dream: thermo images to help driver on the rain.

    33. A more elegant solution yah halo but what troubles me is when a wheel or piece of debris hits that, it’s going to launch it skywards, and at that angle potentially over the catch fencing and into the crowd.

    34. Looks like a sophisticated device nevertheless it looks strange on the car as is the case with the “halo”. Anyhow running this device is the same as not running at Monaco, nonsense. The only solution is to go LMP1 or get rid of all sources of medium sized projectiles.

    35. Safety aside, not a fan of its looks. I think it looks cheap and boring…

      On an unrelated note, it reminds me of those boat racing screen I’m guessing visibility in rain wouldn’t be that bad. Surely they’ve figured it out by now (from boat racing)

    36. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear that they find they are suffering from some power loss or the turbo is running at slightly higher RPM to compensate than it would without the canopy. That looks like it would interfere with the engine intake quite a bit at different speeds.

    37. Better than the halo. It seems that it is providing even more protection than the halo and it looks a million times better. The ‘aero shield’ looks like it integrates into the car whereas the halo looked like it had just been bolted on and looked like an afterthought.

      I feel that the halo would be a constant complaint of the fans that would not have a end but I feel we can be support this. It is really inevitable but it much better than I anticipated.

    38. Sorry but i just think this whole idea is rubbish. I know they should do everything in terms of safety but im really against it and yes it is more because of aesthetics, not going to lie. I just see F1 so safe at the moment that this is maybe a step too far. Maybe i watch too much MOTOGP

    39. Keep it as it is…these guys know they have a chance to die every time they strap in yet they do it…..because they love it…..try it in gp2 for a year before you decide to to take it past the hybrid era into the hybrid/halo era.

    40. How is this system going to protect the head though?

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