Aeroscreen makes its track debut on Ricciardo’s Red Bull

2016 Russian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Red Bull’s Aeroscreen has run on track for the first time during practice for the Russian Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo tested the cockpit protection canopy on his RB12 at the Sochi Autodrom.

Red Bull also issued a video showing the effectiveness of the canopy being tested by firing a wheel assembly at it:

2016 Russian Grand Prix

    Browse all Russian Grand Prix articles

    Author information

    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...

    Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

    44 comments on “Aeroscreen makes its track debut on Ricciardo’s Red Bull”

    1. to me this solution looks way better than the halo system .. but in general, i think we can say, we have always seen creative solutions from RedBull..

      1. it might loook better, and it will have far better / easier Aero to plan on using. But in that video the tyre still touches the head of the driver @milansson, so it seems it fails to do the job it really should be there for.

        1. It does easily enough to save the driver’s life though, even if there is a glancing blow it’s better than getting it full in the face by a factor of a million.

          1. Seems clear the Halo did a better job at protecting the head from a large object Jack. I would think RBR needs to look at the difference in profile and adjust the upper bar (maybe give it the same kind of triangular area ahead?) to offer full protection.

            As Keith mentions @petebaldwin, unless we limit the size a driver is allowed to be, there is no sense in having a safety system that protects only smaller drivers.

            1. Well, Surtees would prefer the Halo, but Massa the Aeroscreen. Maybe if they enlarge a little bit the aeroscreen it can do it.

        2. petebaldwin (@)
          29th April 2016, 8:25

          @bascb – having looked again, the head in the test it much “higher in the car” than Riccardio.

          1. @petebaldwin To get meaningful data from this test the helmet would have to be positioned at the upper limit of where the driver’s helmet could be within a cockpit as defined by the rules.

            Keep in mind that Justin Wilson, whose death after being struck by debris in an IndyCar race last year gave fresh impetus to the calls for great cockpit safety, was one of the tallest single-seater racers. In other words, there’s no point developing a system which keeps Ricciardo-height drivers safe but doesn’t work for Wilson-height drivers.

            1. Agree with the overall point, but just because a taller driver is slightly less protected than a shorter one doesn’t mean the system doesn’t make them safer too. If the system saves one of the two drivers from a head impact, then it’s better than the previous system which saved none of them.

        3. Tyre do not touch the head it go,s over the head so it is all good

          1. @rego45

            0:12 seconds – notice the scuff mark? The tyre touched the helmet – given the speeds and forces involved, that could well be enough to inflict spinal damage or a basal skull fracture.

            Ideally, the dummy driver head would need to be mounted on a gimble or flexible stand to test out the forces on a drivers neck. My guess is it would be bobbling like mad after that first hit.

            1. Given the drivers use the HANS device, they’re not going to get a basal fracture, spinal damage however could occur…

              I would like to see this test done on the car model, as I suspect that the shell would be coming down on the drivers head (given the deflected direction of the wheel)…

        4. Don’t forget that tyres aren’t the only concern. Where the halo would fall short is protection against debris (such as springs and carbon fibre). I think this solution is far more elegant whilst providing scope for better protection.

          That said I am still not a fan.

    2. Martin Pankratov
      29th April 2016, 8:21

      This is a joke. A fully enclosed cockpit would be much safer and better looking.

        1. Oh my god, that is absolutely *horrendous*!

        2. I really don’t think a Deltawing car is a good comparison point. It’s a pretty ugly car from the start…

            1. wrong @fullcoursecaution, because those canopies are not fit to run in a race that goes for 300 km, doesn’t go in corners, nor does it run when its heavy rain and neither does it have to account for other cars closely around it.

              Now I agree that the Deltawing was not great looking even before the cockpit was put on. But you can clearly see what putting a LMP1 style closed cockpit does to a car that is not as wide around the cockpit etc as it was made as

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      29th April 2016, 8:23

      That I thought – you can see there is rubber left on the head in the first shot!

      1. @petebaldwin Yeah, looks like some really bad editing that compromises the entire concept.

    4. Sean Newman
      29th April 2016, 8:28

      If they can make it work in the rain then this is the way to go.

    5. Not bad. Tho everything looks good on that Red Bull.

    6. Looks like a helmet visor without the helmet

      1. You went over my helmet?!

    7. knoxploration
      29th April 2016, 9:07

      The projectile in the second video is hardly representative, with a nice rounded curve to its front surface that is basically designed to glance off the aeroscreen. They need to redo that test with a more realistic projectile — once which strikes with an angled corner. As-is, the test is basically meaningless.

      1. Not to mention the way it glanced off resulted in the projectile going up. Could it increase the possibility of debris ending up in the crowd?

    8. How big will the tear offs have to be?!!

      I think Renault had the answer years ago with the Sports Spider road car with the wind deflector, think how powerful that could be at F1 speeds, everything would blow over the top ;-)

    9. oh dear…

    10. Someone needs to do a Lightning McQueen photoshop.

    11. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      29th April 2016, 10:27

      It doesn’t really matter how it looks – no aesthetic argument will ever be enough to dissuade the FIA from implementing if a consensus is reached that this kind of measure is required. Indeed, if hypothetically the data showed that the halo system was better, then I’m sure this aeroscreen would get overlooked.

      The real question is whether F1 can reconcile and define the concept of acceptable risk. F1 has been outstanding and diligent in containing the threat to drivers, team personnel, marshalls and spectators, and has done so largely without infringing upon the spectacle. Implementing cockpit protection of this kind would set a radical and unsustainable precedent, a precedent only worth setting if rolled out to all open-cockpit racing cars. And what would it say of F1’s view of acceptable risk? If a team member were to be killed in a pitlane incident, would F1 consider banning pitstops?

      F1 needs to draw the same line in the sand that every driver on the grid consensually drew following the tragic news of Bianchi’s death when they climbed over the side of the cockpit regardless.

      1. So well said.

        Personally I think halo and canopy are a step too far. I for one will be drawing a line in the sand if this form of protection goes ahead. It seems that is has become socially unacceptable to take any form of risk anymore? People have accused me of being the person who actually wants to see someone die!!! It’s far from that!
        It’s the act of someone willing to push, with great skill, to the edge…in a risky environment… AND NOT DYING that makes them heroic… and that is part of recipe which makes me like Formula one and what I admire in F1 drivers.

        That’s why people love MotoGp, tight rope walkers, backflipping motocross riders and other high risk sports. It’s knowing that these guys are in the edge of danger yet still pushing the limits without going over the edge.

        This could very well be the end of Formula1 in many people’s eyes. Certainly mine.

    12. I really dislike Ferrari’s brace and I really dislike Red Bull’s windscreen. It has nothing to do with aesthetics, because aesthetics in a discussion like this are (or at least should be) completely irrelevant. I dislike the way it screams “SSSSSSAAAAAFFFEEETTTTYYYYYY” at me.

      Hamilton made some comments yesterday that I completely agree with: having a sense of danger and taking risk is a fundamental part of Formula 1, whether you like it or not. Is it a desired part of Formula 1? Well, let’s say F1 is now completely safe and there is no chance of accidents that can harm anyone (drivers, mechanics, marshalls, spectators). To each their own, but in my opinion this would make F1 a lot more boring. I might as well go watch those Shell eco marathons.

      Which is a nice bridge to a point I really want to make. Nowadays, literally every company has ‘being eco-friendly’ incorporated in its policy somehow. There’s of course nothing wrong with that: climate change is a serious issue, so striving to be environmentally friendly is a good intrinsic value. However, companies will do whatever it takes to make sure that their customers know that they are environmentally friendly. Just start paying attention to how often the environment is mentioned on TV ads – why is this even relevant information to customers? It’s almost as if being environmentally friendly is more important than being friendly to the environment. It’s more of an instrumental value then: being environmentally friendly sells more products which results in more income.

      I have the exact same feeling with the way the FIA talks about safety. In their book, there is no limit on safety: if something enhances safety, then it improves safety. End of discussion, let’s do it boys. The problem is that there is no trade-off with other values, most importantly (in my opinion at least) the excitement of F1 and F1 being a sport.

      This trend of making everything safer has accelerated ever since Jean Todt got elected. Whenever he’s not obliged to govern some sports with wheels and engines and stuff, he spends his time making sure road safety is improved all around the world (in Joe Saward’s words: painting zebra crossings in Uganda). He’s even been appointed the UN’s special envoy for road safety… while governing an organisation that should be organising motor races! Does no one see how ridiculous this is?

      Another case in point: Formula 1 circuits used to be amazing. The old Hockenheimring and Österreichring used to be amazing circuits, with a lot of character and personality. Nowadays they are just bland circuits, castrated to meet the FIA’s safety requirements. More and more circuits are getting the Tilke kiss of death, which has greatly affected the enjoyment I get from watching races at those tracks.

      At some point, I just want this trend to stop. That’s why I don’t like the head protection proposals. F1 needs that element of risk, that sense of danger – else it just becomes boring. I feel like every safety “improvement” is just another nail in the coffin.. actually let me rephrase that, another blow to the head.

      1. It’s almost like human life is more valuable than the viewer’s sense of excitement.

        1. @omegadetra Hamilton himself said he is willing to take the risk, so why not let them take that risk drivers have taken for decades now?

          1. Hamilton hardly speaks for all the drivers, and expecting safety to remain as is on the basis of history and tradition is silly.

        2. So you’re saying we should ban tight rope walkers? Motocross backflipping? Anything where danger is the main drawcard? Is that your logic?

          1. Impressive strawman argument. An aeroscreen hardly removes all sense of danger, and arguing against it on the basis of aesthetic or overexertion of safety makes no sense. There will always be a risk of freak accidents in F1, no matter how many safety measures are implemented – this is unavoidable as long as people are in cars traveling at such speeds. If your draw is the thrill of death, play Russian Roulette, or watch others play it. I, on the otherhand, can appreciate motor racing with the added caveat of a “halo” or aeroscreen for the sake of safety.

      2. @andae23 You make a lot of good points. I thought it all over and here is my opinion.

        I agree that F1’s safety policies can get annoying. The circuits have become less challenging and duller exactly because of the safety requirements. But I also think that we should judge the safety measures one by one. For instance, I do not think that the Virtual Safety Car has done any harm to the racing and the same can probably be said about cockpit protection. If it can be done without closing the cockpit, making cars ugly and races less exciting, then why not have it?

        It is true that F1 cannot be 100% safe and I think that is not because fans will lose interest if they know that the drivers cannot die or get seriously injured behind the wheel. People also watch other sports where sportsmen do not die and while death might have been part of F1’s dark appeal in the past, it does not necessarily have to be the case in the future. However, speeds over 300kph cannot really be considered safe for a human body so some part of the risk will always remain.

        I believe that the job of the FIA is to draw lines in the right places. As a fan, I would be happier if F1 had more cockpit protection and also more circuits like Monaco and less forgiving run-off areas. Maybe that explains the problem with the current F1 ‘show’: There are a lot of (not) funny social media posts, constant attempts to make racing more colourful and people try to avoid bad press but the drivers do not really get the respect that they as brave sportsmen deserve.

      3. @andae3 I’m sorry but what makes F1 boring is the lack of overtaking, not the halo or aeroscreen. Would you say that wheel theters are damaging the sport? Their purpose is exactly the same as this devices: prevent loose wheels from hitting drivers.

    13. This looks worse than to halo to me, aesthetically.

    14. I fully understand and can respect the sentiments of those that an element of danger should exist in F1 – as with all proper motor racing.

      But I also happen to feel that getting injured from a high-speed collision with a wall due to a lack of cornering adhesion is in a different category as getting smacked in the head by an errant tyre. Its like going mountain climbing and getting all romantic and gladiator-like about your skill and ability to climb steep mountains at high altitude – and then someone accidentally drops a pick-axe on your head from above.

      So the idea of the windscreen is to keep it as “open” cockpit as can be, with the hope of keeping as much of the natural thrill of racing in open air as possible. if it doesn’t quite do it for some people, then I get it. Maybe some of their enjoyment will be reduced. It would for me too. But its the way forward for F1. There will always be motorcycles, hang-gliders, and parachutes.

    15. Kudos to Red Bull for at least seeing that the halo isn’t a good enough solution, and taking the time to design and test something else to put on the table.

    16. I’m in love with this aeroscreen. Safety features aside, this is super, super aesthetic. I hope it’s safe enough and problem-free too in future testing so that it just gets on to the 2017 cars. With their wider track, wider tyres and lower rear wing, the aeroscreen would only accentuate the look of the machines.

      I’m in love with F1 again! Kudos to Red Bull for giving me that feeling…

    Comments are closed.