Side-by-side: Compare the Halo with Red Bull’s Aeroscreen

2016 F1 season

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Red Bull’s Aeroscreen. More pictures
The two competing solutions for improved F1 cockpit safety – the Aeroscreen and Halo – have now both appeared on the track.

Red Bull’s Aeroscreen appeared for the first time today during practice for the Russian Grand Prix. The Halo, which was originally proposed by Mercedes, was run by Ferrari during pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya at the beginning of last month.

The structures are intended to protect drivers from being hit by debris during races. They have been developed in response to fatal accidents involving former F1 driver Justin Wilson, who was struck by a nose assembly in an IndyCar race last year, and Henry Surtees, who was hit by a wheel in a Formula Two race in 2009.


Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016


Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Sochi Autodrom, 2016

The Halo structure uses a bar in front of the drivers to deflect large pieces of debris. However a support directly in front of the driver adds some blockage to their vision. The Aeroscreen attempts to address that by using two struts either side of the driver instead.

As the name suggests the Aeroscreen, unlike the Halo, features a windscreen. This potentially offers further protection to the drivers but adds further complications to installing it on a car in terms of how it affects airflow around the cockpit and into the airbox. It also remains to be seen how easily the screen could be cleared of rain, oil or tyre marbles.

Both solutions have been subjected to real-world tests which include having wheels and tyres fired at them to assess their performance.


Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016


Red Bull canopy, Sochi, 2016

The FIA has indicated a desire to introduce one form of increased cockpit protection in 2017. With next year’s technical rules due to be decided in the next few days, one of these solutions is set to become the new look of Formula One.

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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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87 comments on “Side-by-side: Compare the Halo with Red Bull’s Aeroscreen”

  1. knoxploration
    29th April 2016, 9:08

    Looks like the F1 TV cameras will need polarizing filters to combat reflections, at least when the cars are at the right angle to the sun.

    1. I can’t look at the Red Bull without seeing Francesco Bernoulli. I’d love a sponsor to put some eyes on it :)

      1. Lol oh great…now that’s ALL I can think of when I look at it.

      2. I knew it was familiar.

      3. That’s exactly what I thought when I saw the headline pics. Now I know I’m not crazy. Cheers.

    2. The aeroscreen is by far the better option. The halo would never have stopped accidents like the one Felipe had in 2009. If the FIA add something to front for safety it should be able to stop small debris.

      1. So I’ve given it a day and I prefer the halo purely because I can still see drivers helmet still. The riot shield barely shows the drivers helmet so it loses some of the personality of the game.

        However, the halo / bikini / underpants is still pretty ugly. It would look a lot better in chrome or something that’s not just black.

        Work in progress.

  2. Not really into either, although the ‘Riot Shield’ looks the better of the two.

    No where near as cool as Andries Van Overbeeke’s Future F1 concepts…

    1. its simple, the aeroscreen is more pleasing, resembles a fighter jet somewhat so its easier to accept
      and it not only stops large objects like tires from taking out a drivers head but it also stops small debris like Massas incident in 2009. That alone should be a good enough reason.

      Plus, it looks like it has less obstruction in the top middle portion for the likes of spas favorite corner, I cant see driving that part with the halo on.

      its a slam dunk if you ask me…

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        29th April 2016, 21:13

        You could slam dunk a basketball in the aeroscreen

  3. It seems to me that apart from there being a screen, the halo actually leaved the helmet much less exposed.

    Also, that screen will mean aero is much more influenced (cooling and engine-air both) – with Red Bulls history, I’d be wary of what plans they have with that, and how much better they can integrate it than others if it would be implemented already in 2017. Seems much less of an issue with the halo.

    1. Indeed @bosyber, I would think the upper profile of the screen would need to be raised a bit to be more like the Halo, and maybe get a bit more structure in the middle/top to improve deflecting large objects (see the footage of the FIA test on it).

      I guess the screen will be a whole lot better in regards to actually reducing drag vs the current cars, while the Halo probably adds to drag.

  4. You know, I was actually a big fan of the idea of adding a screen there. But if there remains that much glare/reflection to render the driver completely invisible, then I’d rather the panty front honestly.

    1. I think that with the combination of water repulsing coating and tear offs on the screen, its likely to stay as it is (much like some of the reflecting tear offs on the helmet visors do) Tristan. Agree that we can see the driver a LOT better with the Halo.

    2. that is nearly a non issue, look at moto gp and lemans coverage, both have windscreens, it is only 2 drivers to distinguish anyway if you need to look at the helmet.

    3. since when is not seeing the driver hard to accept anymore? do you see the drivers in WEC LMP1, GT3? GT2? road car racing? WRC?

      no one complains about that, i think it would eventually be accepted and normal.

  5. At least with the Aeroscreen they can get rid of the helmet design rules. Won’t be able to see the driver at a lot of the FOM camera angles.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      29th April 2016, 9:55

      Maybe this can be seen as an intermediate step to driver-less cars.

      1. Haha, I think you’re on to something…

      2. The end game of F1 safety is revealed!

    2. I haven’t seen Lewis Hamilton at all this season…

  6. Side by side, on track w/ driver, I’d have to say I like the halo better because I can still see the driver.

    I would not have expected this to be my reaction as w/o the driver, on its own, I think the visor is more attractive than the halo.

  7. From the on track photos I think if the screen is selected, then they might as well go with a full canopy. Its not like you can see the driver and the canopy will offer a lot more protection and probably better aero too.

    1. Too many problems with a fully enclosed canopy.

    2. The idea of a screen is so that the driver can get out or get assistance. The closed canopy is too dangerous.

  8. Lord Helmet is one step closer to starting his F1 career. Joking aside the canopy solution looks like a better fit for F1 (even if it does look like an oversized helmet visor) Side on especially it looks superb. Credit to Redbull for making progress towards what the final product might look like.

  9. petebaldwin (@)
    29th April 2016, 10:28

    OK so I think we all prefer the cars like they look now without either but we also prefer the tracks with grass and sand on the sides but we can accept why that has gone as well. Life moves on…

    Out of the two designs proposed, the Aeroscreen looks like something you get when you ask some of the brightest minds in the world to find a solution to head protection. The halo looks like something you’d get if you asked a 5 year old. I’m also worried that the halo would only get uglier as teams tried to exploit it for aero benefit.

    1. I’m also worried that the halo would only get uglier as teams tried to exploit it for aero benefit.

      That would not be an issue @petebaldwin, as the FIA already stated that the solutino they will agree on would be a standard component, just like they did with the universal side impact bars.

      As for looks, to me the Halo looks like something engineers came up with after being given the brief to a. make a cockpitprotection, b have it be as open as possible to keep close to the “open cockpit” idea and c. make sure that it hampers visibility as little as possible.

      The Screen looks like something drawn by anyone who was asked to design a futuristic looking, protected but still open cockpit to me.

      I do think that screen looks more slick, and offers better protection against smaller objects. But it will probably be harder to pimplement in lower series, as full screen tear offs and replacement screens are going to be a larger factor in say a formula Ford championship compared to a Halo that would be as durable as the chassis.

      And with the Halo we see somewhat more of the drivers, as the screen seems to obscure them from view almost completely

      1. @bascb I think the order in which they presented their design matters a lot. At first I am sure not many people expected something like the Halo because we had no idea what the teams were thinking. After that, minds were more opened to new proposition such as the aeroscreen but it is not really more esthetic. I am curious at what would have been the reaction if there were presented in the opposite order.

        Anyway I think Halo is better for now. A full canopy wouldn’t annoy me either but would probably be longer to develop and it would be best to fully integrate it in the car design/aero. However this would also be a difficult option to implement in lower formula.

        It would be nice if one or two other teams could also present some concepts to have other views.

    2. I find your comment very interesting @petebaldwin but I thought completely the opposite! Notwithstanding the relative effectiveness of the respective systems, to me, visually at least, the Halop appears far more hight-tech..

      And thus the world turns…. :)

  10. Madness.

    The jig is up.

    Might as well just enclose the cockpit, cover the wheels….. F1 is dead, long luv

    1. Or they could just go back to leather helmets and goggles, and a lap belt made of rope. What level of safety is still manly enough for you? Where do you draw the line? Presumably you watch F1 now and the ultra-conservation and lack of limit pushing is not madness, but this is? More people die in road cars and doing downhill skiing in one year than have ever died in F1 cars, but the push for safety needn’t stop, unless you are blood thirsty.

      1. The safety is at a high enough level. Serious accidents are extremely rare and this comes with acknowledged risk. Read the comments of the drivers even.

  11. Wilson’s accident was freak, and happened in indycar, surtees was 7 years ago! You expect us to believe this is why they are doing this? Any driver and fan that agrees with this needs to ask themselves some serious questions about living in this modern coddled era. You should also consider wearing a helmet when driving your road car and wrapping your children in bubble wrap.
    Meanwhile, motorcycle racers still show us what it means to retain some sense of manhood

    1. Initially I thought the same however I would rather a preventative step be put in place than a reactive step after a driver dies and could have been saved. Quite right the issues happened in other single seater formula but the danger is still there in F1 it just has not happened in F1 yet so it is good they are evaluating this, it only takes one situation over the next 50 years or more where such solutions save a driver to make it worthwhile.

    2. @ibrahim manhood? Tell that to Bianchi’s father. Stop talking about 17th century concepts here. My father’s a doctor, he’s no less ‘man’ than F1 drivers.

      1. @ibrahim There’s also the incidents of debris hitting Massa and Barrichello in recent years. So…why do you think they are doing this, then? Sounds like you have some conspiracy in mind.

        I don’t see manhood coming into this, nor do I think the drivers manhood will be questioned other than by a very small minority. And it is not the drivers choice in this anyway. They will have to go along with what the FIA decides.

        Also, wearing helmets in road cars and bubble wrapping children would save thousands of lives. But we wouldn’t want to have a bad hair day though would we?

        1. Actually your mention of Massa’s incident (I don’t remember Barrichello’s) is a good reason to go with the aeroscreen. Something even as large as that spring isn’t likely to be deflected by the halo, but would obviously be deflected by the aeroscreen. The interesting question would be what happens to the screen in an event like that. These incidents are incredibly rare but there needs to be a rule detailing what occurs if the screen gets damaged. Does the driver have to retire, or will screens be replaceable?

      2. How many times have we been told now that the NOTHING would have prevented Bianchi’s critical accident besides the crane not being there??? He and his family were both well aware of the risk of racing open cockpit cars at full tilt.

      3. And what the heck does your father being a doctor have to do with anything??

        1. @ibrahim This idea you have that apparently the ‘manhood’ of a person is lowered if they adopt measures to lessen the chance of death is archaic and stupid.

      4. @wsrgo While I agree with your sentiment, please do not use Bianchi as a reason for these measures. A Halo or Aeroscreen would not have saved him. The impact was so great it sheered the roll hoop and airbox from the car and the deceleration was so massive it was simply impossible for him to survive. It breaks my heart to say that but it is a credit to his strength and will to live that he survived as long as he did. My desire to see the Aeroscreen comes from having watched Justin Wilson die live on TV. I knew instantly that it was the end and his accident is why I want F1 to adopt some protection.

    3. All accidents are ‘freak’ by nature @ibrahim. Can you name any two fatal motorsport accidents which were completely similar in all respects?

      1. A tire blow out and the car rolls or goes into the barrier, that must have happened countless times and under fairly similar conditions and or outcomes. In Motogp and BSB and in the new usa series there have been several riders who have come off the bike and been struck by following riders, all extremely similar cases.

    4. @ibrahim This really boils down to a debate on whether we choose as a community to either act proactively on safety or reactively. The arguments of “the sport is safe enough” and “these are freak accidents” were used against Sir Jackie Stewart in the 70s. I’m sure no one is arguing for the sport to return to 1970s level negligence but if you accept there is a weak area in safety then you must act on it. It’s not the case anymore that these are freak accidents. The list of these near misses is endless: Wurz, Surtees, Massa, Schumacher, Alonso twice – in Belgium 2012 & Britain 2013, Raikkonen, Wilson. That is far too exhaustive a list for me to sit idly by. Why should we wait until a tragedy? There is no option on this, the sooner the aeroscreen comes in the better.

      1. @rbalonso 100% agree with everything you said!!

  12. I would prefer it with less glare so you could see the driver better.

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      29th April 2016, 14:20

      It’s still a world of difference in my opinion, the aeroscreen is quite elegant compared to the bulky thong. They just need to put a bit more driver branding on the cars a la MotoGP to make up for the lack of helmet exposure. Would like to see a shot from the t-cam, the halo was hideous from that angle!

      1. Tommy Scragend
        29th April 2016, 16:06

        A minimum size and specified placement for the car number would be good, instead of the tiny numbers where nobody can see them that a lot of teams have now. At the moment it’s like a big number is just a sign that you haven’t got enough sponsors (Ferrari being the honourable exception).

    2. Seeing the driver’s helmet is a non-issue at the F1 races I’ve been to. Seeing the car from the rear or when going fast from the side it’s very difficult to distinguish helmets or the tiny numbers. I rely completely on the highlighted or black roll hoop and the livery.
      I am worried about how they’ll clear dirt/rain/debris from the aeroscreen. Unlike a fully enclosed car they have no provision for a wiper blade, and they can’t reach it to clear it by hand like a faceshield. In NASCAR they stop frequently and use windshield tear-offs, but F1 without refueling you can go more than half the race without stopping.
      I suppose it’s possible to have tearoffs on the aeroscreen with a tether the driver could pull on. Hopefully the larger tearoff would not be a bigger problem for blocking intakes or radiators than a faceshield tearoff.
      If they are comfortable with the vision issue, it looks to be superior for safety.

  13. In terms of “front” protection I think both offer the same dregree of safety. However, as far as I can notice from the photos the halo bars gives a little more protectio from side impacts (like the one Sueertes had).

    In the other hand you must consider aerodynamics of both solutions. In order to save money Halo or Aeroscreen must be a standard design (same materiales, weight, dimension, etc.).

  14. rafael silveira martins
    29th April 2016, 11:12

    I’m not in to the retro design… But i found the main inspiration on this:

  15. What about the reflection of the many many lights during night/evening races…, for the driver’s visability?

  16. 1st, let’s remember that these are concept designs bolted onto cars that weren’t designed for them, so a final solution should look a lot better once the teams figure out how to design a car with something like this in mind. Both offer protection against larger objects like a tire or last year at Spa when i think it was Kimi’s car went over Alonso and the chassis missed his head by inches (someone correct me if i’m wrong on that one). The big difference for me is that the screen could have protected Massa from his head injury in 09 and i don’t think the Halo would have. Assuming visibility for both is fine and they can keep the screen clear during a race, that seems like the best way to go.

    1. Just a thought that popped in…
      A safety net around BAR’s engine compartiment would also have prevented Massa’s injury.

      1. Or a safety tether through the spring. That would be pretty simple. Indycar has been quietly requiring tethers for various parts more and more every year.

  17. I think the windscreen needs to be tested in the wet, as well as for a full race, to see how rain and debris affect it, and it looks to me like something that would greatly affect air flow into the air box and everything behind. Also would condensation build up inside. If a car was upside down would they have enough access to a drivers head and neck in order to stabilize him in case of spinal
    injury concerns.

    1. @robbie this is my concern. I am sure Red Bull already have airflow solutions and this is why the are pushing this option.
      As for your extraction concerns, I have absolutely no idea. I guess tests must be done with that but I can’t help but think that Alonso would have felt better about his Oz crash knowing he had the Aeroscreen. (Just my thought obviously)

  18. I don’t think the screen looks any better than halo.

    1. I prefer the screen but not as much as I thought over the Halo, the Halo came 1st and looked horrific but as the months go by and the shock of it subsides it’s not that bad. If they both work the same surely the screen would be used as it offers protection against F1 related accidents like the spring hitting Massa. I wonder what we would have said if we never saw the halo and this screen was the 1st itteration of head protection. The halo Ferrari used was just cobbled togather to check sight lines, a more intergrated version may look better than the screen but leaves the head more exposed.

  19. I’d be really interested in seeing the footage from Ricciardo’s “nose cam” he wore while doing a lap with the aeroscreen attached

  20. Aeroscreen is better than the “halo”, it is neater. But again it doesn’t look good. Because these cars were meant and designed to be open cockpit, nothing will look good unless they stop “band-aiding” stuff on the car. Cars need a radical redesign from the top to bottom, and its time for F1 to move on, into the future where open cockpits can be compared to those “caps” worn in 1950s.
    That MP4-X which McLaren made a couple of months ago- if the cars even *looked* like that, I’m sure there would a spike in the number of viewers. Nothing on that car is crazy impossible, and they need to take inspiration from that because it addresses most of the problems- looks, head protection, closer racing, maybe with some tweaks even noise! I think that is the key to the future and F1’s greatness back again.
    They should seriously consider this…

  21. I’ve always wondered how people in the past opposed safety changes that are viewed as commonplace today. I’ve heard anecdotal stories about how there was opposition to helmets, etc. back in the day, but it’s even more interesting to see modern Luddites out in force today. Putting protection in front of a driver’s face isn’t some disaster that’ll ruin the “essence” of F1, people are just throwing out lazy arguments because they’re scared of change with no logical argument to back it up. Personally I hope it gets ratified for 2017.

    1. In general new safety equipment will always have some backlash against, no how much its needed, nor what sport we are talking about. They get so used to performing without the equipment, that anything new will be seen as a distraction. Just go back to when the HANS devices were first approved for auto racing. Some NASCAR drivers were against them, including Dale Earnhardt Sr. Unfortunately, wearing one might have saved his life.

  22. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    29th April 2016, 16:02

    If the screen can be made completely transparent without zero reflections than maybe.

    However both of them seem to put distance between the audience and the driver.

    Let’s be honest Bianchi’s accident had nothing to do with the car itself. Accidents will happen when you race. They unfortunately happen in real life so of course, they should happen in racing. You cannot eliminate and it would not be as much fun if there was no risk in the sport at all. We saw Alonso’s horrific accident but he walked out of it with a bruise.

    I think F1 has been on the right track since Senna’s death. I understand that they would like to take further steps after Bianchi’s accident but we’ve seen Webber, Alonso, Verstappen and others walk away from serious accidents. Perhaps, the steps should be in other directions.

    1. @freelittlebirds Senna would have survived his crash if he had the Aeroscreen. The suspension arm could not have pierced his helmet with it there.

    2. This windscreen has nothing to do with Bianchis crash. It was so close that a couple of marshals was hit instead of the tractor and nothing that they put on the cars will ever change that. It was 100% a failure from racecontrol that led to the crash but they dont take responsibility for it. It was the same kind of amateur behaviour that had marshals parked on the pitlane entry runoff in China that killed Bianchi.

  23. I seem to be in the minority who prefer the aeroscreen to the halo, but I really cannot stand the aesthetics of the version Ferrari tested (I thought the Mercedes concept was better looking). This may be an obsolete opinion these days, especially in a safety discussion, but I feel F1 cars should look beautiful and inspiring; they should look like the ultimate performance vehicles. Extruding noses and awkward halos really detract from the visual sensory experience.

    In the WEC, the LMP1 cars look incredible, they really do, and although they might not be quite as quick as an F1 car, the aesthetics strike all the right chords and make them a pleasure to watch, lap after lap.

    I’d argue that the aeroscreen is the biggest step anyone has made towards making F1 cars look futuristic. With some more development and a set of aero regulations that are built around the concept, I think there is plenty of scope for making F1 beautiful again. At the very least it is less vulgar than the halos.

    All solutions will have their shortcomings, but I’m not of the view that we’re better off leaving it as it is. With that in mind, the answer – as always – is to find the best compromise. If the aeroscreen proves to be safe then it has the potential to not just be a safety feature, but the platform from which to develop a whole new concept of car.

    Nobody can make their minds up about the 2017 regulations and despite efforts to make the cars look more aggressive, I’m of the view the cars won’t be much prettier anyway. There are also valid concerns about overtaking and tyre performance, so why not scrap those proposals entirely and think about how these cars can be built around a safety cell that has a fully integrated solution instead of trying to bolt on afterthoughts?

    1. You think this year’s Audio looks good or the Porsche for that matter?

    2. I agree with you 100%! The Aeroscreen is the only option as far as I’m concerned

  24. I’d like to see both of these better combined with the driver side head rests. I’d imagine one point of these is to be something that is easy to add to existing designs but I think these should be edited slightly to give the driver better side protection and visibility.

    The halo looks like it protects the drive better from the side and because the halo is higher it would also offer better protection when the car is upside down or one car lands on top of another. The screen protects the driver better from small bits flying straight at the driver (small stones, aero parts). Maybe some kind of combination of the two would work better. Have the halo side structure and the front facing windscreen combined in such way that there is no need to have the center pillar of the halo?

  25. The “Aeroscreen” (i.e. windscreen) looks like it belongs on an actual car; maybe it will get adopted for use on road cars?

    Seriously though, the windscreen makes sense, the “halo” looks just crazy.

    1. Seriously, I dont see the “wiper” yet when its raining.. LOL

  26. The halo would not have helped Massa much at his accident in Hungary.

    1. @melthom I’m not for one moment underestimating the seriousness of Massa’s crash but I think it’s important not to overlook the fact that not only did he survive it but his injuries were such that following a recovery he was able to return to racing. And given the subsequent improvements made to helmet design a driver in a similar situation again would be better placed to survive the same accident.

      It’s the risk to drivers from being hit by larger, heavier pieces of debris – particularly wheels – which should be the priority here.

  27. I’m not really sure which one I would go with. The problem I have with the Halo is that there are still holes big enough to let smaller debris through. Also, it is quite possible for debris to hit the halo and go under the bar into the driver. The windscreen, however, doesn’t look like it would stop bigger objects as well.

  28. Button even thinks the screen looks better than before, and from certain angles I agree it does look cool. Needs some refining though. A bit wide for starters.

    But agree with Jenson than in a few years time it could well be that we think the old open cockpit cars look odd..

    1. Duncan Snowden
      29th April 2016, 22:13

      Yes, he’s probably right. Having sat staring at these photos for about twenty minutes, the current cars already look a bit “naked” to me. :)

      I agree that the screen’s not perfect; it looks a bit makeshift from some angles, but then that’s probably because it is. Once we see cars designed around it, it’s likely to be better integrated. The high-sided cockpits looked strange at first (and, to be honest, some of the early ones still do: the Ferrari F310 always reminds me of an armchair), but we got used to them.

      The funny thing is, I thought the halo looked better out on track than I expected it to, while this actually doesn’t look as good as I thought it would. But on the whole I still prefer it.

  29. Horrible!! this is the end of F1

    1. Go watch Indy Car with the bumpers over the rear wheels!

  30. I bet RBR has Ray-Ban lined up as sponsor already

  31. I think the Red Bull’s solution is better.

  32. Shame they didn’t put a TAG Heuer sticker on it, would have been a nice retro touch…

    I wonder which solution is better and cheaper for Indycar and all the junior series, where the walls are closer and the driving’s much worse than F1.

  33. I am completely in favor of the Aeroscreen! It looks better than the Halo and offers better protection.
    The Halo probably would have done nothing to help Massa, however, imagine he had the Halo and that spring deflected off the bottom of it and hit him in the chest!! It would have killed him instantly! The Aeroscreen is the only option in my eyes.

  34. What happens when an oil mist hits that aero-screen? Will there be a tear-off system to clear it? Will there be windshield wipers in the rain or just use rain-x?
    I think the drivers can work with the small visibility loss from the single post of the Halo but I have serious doubts about a full windscreen.

  35. The shield is better looking but I prefer the Halo because I can better see who’s in the car.
    My guess is that the drivers also prefer the Halo because RB’s shield also shields the drivers from cool air.
    In the end, it’s not up to us, but up to the drivers. What do they want….

  36. The halo obstructs vision right in front, but the aeroscreen obstructs vision to the sides. Surely side vision is the more crucial element? Drivers need to be able to judge their position relative to a car that’s alongside them during overtakes, and we already have plenty of complaints about how hard this is to judge. We see plenty of incidents involving side contact in the corners, but fairly few where a car runs into the rear. I suppose this is mitigated by placing the side struts in the visual line of the wing mirrors, but I’m still nervous about anything that further obstructs the drivers’ side vision.

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