FIA Shield rendering, 2017

FIA reveals new ‘Shield’ head protection design which will be tested next week

2017 British Grand Prix

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The FIA has revealed it first image of ‘Shield’, its planned new head protection system to replace the ‘Halo’ concept which was tested last year.

‘Shield’ is a transparent, open cockpit design constructed from polycarbonate. The FIA says it is “aimed at providing significant protection from debris, while ensuring unrestricted forward vision for the driver.”

The sport’s governing body describes the design as a “possible geometry” and said it is ” working with teams in Formula One on further defining its geometry.”

The FIA intends to give ‘Shield’ its first track test on a Ferrari in first practice at the British Grand Prix next weekend. That will be followed by a further test at September’s Italian Grand Prix.

In April the FIA said Shield is being “given priority” over Halo as the preferred choice of head protection system to be introduced in 2018. However several drivers have already voiced doubts about the Shield.

Formula One has been seeking an improved head protection system for drivers in the wake of a series of incidents involving flying debris in F1 and other categories.

The Halo system was tested by every team during the 2016 season. However concerns were raised over ita aesthetic shortcomings and the extent to which it limited visibility.

Red Bull proposed an alternative solution called the Aeroscreen which it tested in practice for the Russian Grand Prix last year. However FIA tests of the design concluded it did not perform well enough at protecting the driver from debris.

The FIA has previously committed to introducing some form of improved head protection in 2018 having postponed it from this year.

2017 British 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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  • 49 comments on “FIA reveals new ‘Shield’ head protection design which will be tested next week”

    1. If they change the design of the rules of chasis which would be able to incorporate the new shield, than this can turn out looking good. If they will just simply throw the shield on existing structures, then we will have another era of ugly cars looking like they were assembled together without using the instructions.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        8th July 2017, 12:50

        Which probably won’t happen. Costs too much money, obviously.

        1. The letter from the FIA to the teams also specified that should shield was not validated, halo will be introduced next year. So mo matter what something is going to be introduced and they will have to spend some more millions on additional aero work.

      2. If the shield (or the halo) is added on the cars then the teams will 100% design the car around it. The teams are already spending millions on the smallest details. They’ll 100% sure adjust the cockpit to take full benefit of this as well.

    2. Doesn’t look too bad considering it’s a render. I’d imagine it’ll look much better when the car is actually designed around it properly!

    3. Aesthetically so much better than the halo. Weird that they chose to present it to world in a hastily Photoshopped version of one of the Williams launch images!

      I guess provision for the adequate dispersal of water, oil and dirt is still the big challenge. Massive tear offs? Little wipers? Who knows! Looking forward to seeing it on a real car!

    4. Aesthetically it’s a lot better than Halo. But I still have some doubts about how it’ll work.

      Will it stay clear enough in wet conditions? Will drivers be able to clean dirt and oil off it as they can with their visors?

      1. Pitstop pressure washers? Will be interesting to see what the FIA can come up with.

        1. I guess it would be easier to have the same kind of tears drivers use in their visors, or the ones already being used in prototypes.

      2. Michael Brown (@)
        8th July 2017, 12:55

        They could waterproof it so the water droplets easily slide off when driving. This won’t get rid of stains from insects and dirt, of course.

        1. They do that for the helmets already. They still need to clean them.

      3. “Will it stay clear enough in wet conditions?”
        Does it matter? Formula One no longer race in wet conditions. As long as it’s clear enough to follow the SC it’ll be fine.

        1. You are mistaken. Following the SC is one of the conditions with the least visibility possible in F1. Normal racing in rain is easier, because the problem is always the water pickup from the car ahead.

      4. Exactly.
        The drivers will now have 2 transparent objects to keep clean. Horrible on a wet day.

    5. What if it gets oily and then it rains and it’s impossible to see through?

      1. Pitstop I guess, get a guy to scrub it off like LMP cars. You’d be coming in for tyres anyway.

        1. LMP cars stop longer because they refuel. The cleaning lady would have 2 seconds or so in F1.

          1. The cleaning lady. Your mom doesn’t work in F1.

            1. So humorless…

    6. While I still think they need to design the cars with a shield in mind, and anything otherwise is a half assed design in relative, this gets my arm chair critic seal of approval visually. Looks decent.. just not sure when it comes to wet weather. And would like to see if damaged, will it be a quick change like the front wings or would it put a driver out of the race..?

    7. I cannot understand why they don’t just install the so-called halo, we know it is ready to go and is a definite safety improvement, just put them on the cars already before a driver gets hurt.

    8. They have to have some huge tear-off strips! What happens when it rains? Is the surface treated with Rainex?

    9. I think there is no need for this. Freak accidents can always happen and this solution might create another risk (visibility maybe?).

    10. Does it come with built in wipers?

    11. Absurd. If the drivers dont like the risk they shouldn’t race.

      Its a shame most of todays racing elite come from rich families or have made millions competing in the sport. They have to much to lose and want to change the face of the sport to suit their entitled life.

      1. If the drivers dont like the risk they shouldn’t race.

        That was what circuit owners said in the sixties because they didn’t want to spend money putting barriers in front of trees.

        It was wrong then and it’s wrong now.

        1. Absolutely!

        2. Whatever. You can’t table an example from an era that was totally different and then just declare my comment wrong. Well you can. Its your blog. But it doesn’t add anything to the conversation

          1. Your argument isn’t an argument against this safety improvement, it’s an argument against all safety improvements, that’s why I say it’s wrong.

            1. I’m happy with the current level of safety. Drivers already take ridiculous risks because they feel invincible. More Marshalls than drivers have died in the last 20 years. I think the current safety is fine. Where do you stop.
              Also arguing pro safety is the easy side if the card as its easy to lable the other side reckless etc

          2. Racerdude7730
            9th July 2017, 3:20

            People wanna disagree with you but a lot of the drives would even agree with you to a point. No ones forced into racing. Also it should be upto the driver if it’s run on the car or not. If they don’t want it they shouldn’t have to

        3. But you have to draw the line on “safety” somewhere. The drivers could race the cars from the garage using remote control. Ultimate in safety, nobody gets hurt, guaranteed.

          1. I get it: People drive race cars because they want to be safe.

          2. formula wifi

          3. Interesting proposal. It would be actually more difficult to drive since the feedback of the G’s, sound, car vibrations, steering wheel feeling provides very valuable information to the driver. Ultimate safety, but it would be just a playstation / simulator race. On the other hand, crashes and extreme speed would no longer be limited in lieu of safety. We could see extreme aero structures, active aero elements, turns at 8 G and more action on the track. It is not the time yet, but for sure it will come some day. More interesting than roborace for sure.

            1. I don’t post much .. hardly ever .. but Oscar., You wrote a quite controversial idea well .. imagine a 13yr old F1 champ .. deep thinking brother … Cool

        4. Absolutly true about the 60’s track owners being silly about barriers in front of trees but its not quite the same. There were many deaths all those years ago and many things needed to change. What death/ injury would these proposed contraptions have prevented in the past 20 years? If any the number is so small you could easy create an equal or greater number of alternative crashes/injuries that are introduced as a result of these things.

          They need to ask the drivers and have a vote on it.

          1. Racerdude7730
            9th July 2017, 3:26

            It’s a much different argument but people like to throw it around at times. We need safety but you can only go so far till it’s zero risk and losses the appeal. What made racing drivers heros to people? They looked like heros because they put their life on the line each and every week and seemed like super humans. Something a normal man would not and could not do! This is what made it special. When you get to a point when it’s not risky or scary or god forbid look easy it losses that special feel. It becomes everyday and feels like anyone can do it. That’s when people stop watching and lose that thrill of seeing someone commit to a turn wide open at 180 mph thinking no way they can do that. I just don’t want that to ever go away. I’m sure people won’t agree with me but that’s what made drivers heros

      2. I fully agree with Keith about that part of your ridiculous argument/post.

        But I’m even more flabbergasted how you conclude that rich people, the elite, have much more to lose in a racing accident than others.
        I thought we stopped arguing that when abolishing slavery.

    12. Surprisingly (especially considering it’s done by FIA) it looks quite ok.

    13. I want more safety for the drivers, but my god all of these solutions are so hideous.

    14. Good to see that they still left a small opening at the top so the drivers can still have their heads smashed in à la Henry Surtees. COME ON … it’s 2017, make it a closed cockpit and be done with it!

      1. Fans and drivers are not yet ready for this radical change. I do not mind whispering cars with close cockpits. In fact, the F1 concept designs from Red Bull, Ferrari or Renault went in that direction. However the conservative wing of the F1 is demanding louder engines with open canopies and wheels. Closed cockpits are more efficient than open, same for wheels, but F1 is still limited by the designs from the ’70.

    15. Mclaren is already working on a wiper free windscreens based on Fighter Jet Technology. Although McLaren did not reveal to much details, the Fighter Jet Technoloy they are refereing to is likely “a high – frequency electronic system that pumps sound waves through the windscreen, effectively creating a vibrating ultrasonic force field that deflects warter, mud and even bugs”. “One ultrasonics professor said he thinks this means attaching “an ultrasonic transducer in the corner of the windsrceen”
      Futuristic maybe but perhaps McLaren will become F1’s first official “Shield Supplier”.

    16. Would it deflect a projectile that is falling on a curved path? No. Freak accidents will always happen and there is nothing anyone can do about them except removing the drivers from all cars on track. Just the FIA trotting out crap to look like they are interested in driver safety. Stop projectiles but allow (select) drivers ram into each other. Just smoke and mirrors.

    17. While this looks sick (SO MUCH better than the Halo, and the shield that was proposed and tested by RedBull), it will not prevent a Justin Wilson type freak accident. You can never be fully protected from all possible accidents. Plus as others have pointed out, this could create another safety risk if it gets oily or when they race in the rain.

    18. Just a little food for thought.
      WRC cars race in the rain so why can’t F1 cars with windshields?
      Poly-carbonate materials are not shatter-proof and unbreakable.

    19. Guys lets not get ahead of ourselves here. 1950 – mid to late 80’s and prehaps even beyond that, most F1 cars had some form of “wind screen”. Many teams fitted a single plane panel, others resorted to a similar, although less aerodynamic and aesthetically pleasing wrap around type screen as proposed in the rendering and other teams, well some of their design where simply hideous, but this element is simply nothing new to F1.

      Excitingly the addition of this element could see changes to the air box designs above the drivers head as the airflow could now be disrupted and deflected above and over the airbox. The open cockpit beyond the the edge off the screen could possibly create a more aggressive negative pressure inside the cockpit and turbulant eddy’s forming of the trailing edge of the screen, combined with turbulant air leaving the cockpit could ceate all sorts of issues which may even impact on rear wing stability and efficiency. So the aero boys could have some challenges coming their way.

      So not all bad.

    Comments are closed.