Kimi Raikkonen inspects the Shield, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2017

Shield revealed: First pictures of F1’s new head protection device

2017 British Grand Prix

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The Shield head protection system which F1 will test for the first time this weekend has been spotted at Silverstone.

Sebastian Vettel will be the first driver to test the structure during tomorrow’s first practice session. Shield has been chosen as a replacement for Halo as an improved form of head protection for drivers.

The FIA revealed the first official image of the Shield prototype during the Austrian Grand Prix weekend. Further tests are planned at the Italian Grand Prix in September to judge whether the design could be introduced in 2018.

Teams have been investigating how they could incorporate the design into their cars for next year if it is required by the rules. Force India technical director Andrew Green said there were “a lot of question marks over it”.

Some drivers have continued to express scepticism over the need for additional head protection. “I haven’t been a big fan of the Halo and I’m not a huge fan of the Shield either,” said Romain Grosjean.

Every team tested a version of the Halo during the 2016 F1 season before the idea was dropped in favour of the Shield.

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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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  • 89 comments on “Shield revealed: First pictures of F1’s new head protection device”

    1. Hmmm, doesn’t look too bad at first glance, but I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve seen it in motion …

      1. Im not too concerned about looks. Its the first prototype, so looks can be improved. But if it can improve safety Im for it.
        More importantly though, its a massive step up over the Halo.

        1. If you’re not concerned about looks, how is it a massive step up from the halo?

            1. roasted

          1. not too concerned about looks

            1. Emphasis being on the “too”

        2. I agree, it just looks better than the Halo. But it’s a freaking full-sized windshield.

    2. It looks horrible.

      1. But lets wait to see it on track

      2. How does it look horrible? It’s hardly noticeable compared to the halo or aeroscreen.

        The question is whether or not drivers will be able to see through it easily enough (especially in the rain or dusty conditions.)

        1. Well, i think it looks horrible. Better than the other, still horrible.

      3. They will look a lot better when incorporated on the cars curves and design.
        Something like that:

        1. Good god, you’re supposed to be up-selling it mate. That shield starts at the front axle!

        2. I don’t think the blue tint ‘helps’ that mock up! It looks incongruous.

      4. Racerdude7730
        13th July 2017, 19:38

        Honestly it’s not that bad. I don’t think it is F1 but it’s not horrible if we have to have something. I still feel it should be optional driver to driver

    3. Finally the F1 engineers has managed to create an windscreen which apperently was an impossible technical feat when the joke thong was around.

    4. Looks better than the Halo. But still wondering whether it’ll need cleaning and, if so, how it can be done.

      1. Tear-off’s just like on their helmet facemasks. NASCAR has them on their windshields and tear them off at every pit stop. Rain shouldnt be an issue with the amount of wind that will flow over the screen. Hopefully fog wont be an issue, but they can just direct a bit of air to blow up the inside of it to keep it clear.

        1. A suitable hydrophobic coating might also do the job.

        2. There must lso be a considerable effect on car-and-driver aerodynamics.
          The driver’s head and helmet weren’t ( aren’t ) particularly good in
          that area. This should improve things. But it can never be a good step
          in the open-cockpit concept, can it ?

      2. It might look less awkward than the Halo, but the real question is whether it looks better than what we have now IMO. It might help safety, but it will bring other safety risks with it too.

        Enough to look at the pictures Sky put up with it having a protective film on it @keithcollantine to know that at least this version will hardly survive a practice session without starting scratches, buildup of dirt, oilfilm, dust, chunks of rubber etc. And I seriously doubt it will do anything good for visibility out of the cockpit (distortion, maybe fogging up too and off course rain drops.)

        Also, if the RBR airscreen was not sturdy enough to withstand the tests, how on earth can this do the job?

        1. this version will hardly survive a practice session without starting scratches, buildup of dirt, oilfilm, dust, chunks of rubber etc.

          Imagine a car with a windscreen trying to race! Impossible!!!

          1. Bruce Taylor
            14th July 2017, 1:19

            I had a Brookland screen on my MGTD!

          2. A windscreen of most cars is made of glass – a material that is far less susceptible to scratches than most transparant plastics are @graham228221, also yeah wipers.

      3. @keithcollantine
        Starting from 2018 the FIA opted for a mandatory car wash stop in a bid to compensate the more durable tyres but also helping Sauber which can count on 2 years of expertise.

      4. Duncan Snowden
        13th July 2017, 17:59

        My thoughts exactly. I actually think it looks pretty good, at least from that angle. But it won’t stay clean and shiny for long.

        My guess is that they’re hoping the shallow angle (those photos make it look more upright than the renders that were published previously) will allow it to be cleaned, at least partially if not more, by airflow. That should be especially true when it comes to clearing rain. But the shallower the angle, the more material – both glass and muck – the driver has to look through.

        But hey… that’s why we test.

      5. They will install automatic brushes in the start-finish line. Drivers will have to pass under them in intervals of 5 laps. They have activate a button in order to lower them. Fail to comply with the required periods of automatic cleaning and they will be given a stop and go penalty, where a mechanic will be responsible for washing the shield with a toothbrush.

        Jeez am I a genius or what?

      6. For me it’s about how this will affect the cars aerodynamically. I think this will completely change how the car will feel as it is currently designed. I expect to see some big differences in the cars if they add this shield. And how it will affect airflow into the airbox. I just can’t see them slapping this on the current cars as they are designed.

      7. Teams will need to add another position to the garage crew: ‘squeegee engineer’….. or FIA sanctioned pit lane exit light hawkers!….

    5. Would it block visibility of drivers? With helmets drivers can use tear-offs to get clear view of track with shield it looks it wil be difficult.

    6. That pic of Kimi taking a look through it somehow is so, well Kimi. Love it :-)

      I agree C, @keithcollantine, doesn’t look as bad as the halo, but visibility will be a big question, or maybe for Kimi to know now?

    7. And how on earth is this supposed to be safer than the aeroscreen?
      The aeroscreen was ditched because it was unsafe, and a simple one piece glass composite did better?

      1. Aeroscreen was ditched due to drivers being unable to exit the car within 5 seconds, which is a FIA regulation. The shield design is reactionary to that.

    8. Estaban de los Casas
      13th July 2017, 17:27

      Looks very cool and if it was a full canopy even better. So many forms of motorsports are already on this path and for F1 to continue to push against this shows how outdated some ideas are. Top Fuel Dragsters have used this system for years and last weekend for the first time the canopy itself cracked and was replaced on the Force Dragster. And the performance of the Grand Prix car pales in comparison to a TFD.

      So the system works and has been proven for years in other forms of motorsport so why is F1 so far behind on this subject??

      Comit to it and perfect it as the screen is one thing but the whole canopy could be better

      1. TFD does a few seconds in the dry, straight on, without overtake and no corners. Yeah good comparison..

        1. They also go 330 mph/530 kph.

          1. But they do not have to race other cars on the same track either @forzarogo and be able to see those.

      2. Michael Brown (@)
        14th July 2017, 2:32

        Two reasons:

        1. This would bring about a new philosophy for design, means spending more money.

        2. Apparently F1 needs open cockpits because of tradition, same with open wheels.

    9. Ok, it doesn’t look that bad. It doesn’t offend me the way either Halo or Aeroscreen did, but it still looks like something that has just been plunked onto a car as an afterthought (yes, I am aware there is more to it than that, but you know what I mean).

      If the FIA have taken a firm decision that they will try to protect drivers heads more, surely they should be revisiting the cockpit area/survival cell as a whole, and then implementing a solution that is fit for purpose rather than being a “decent compromise”.

      1. > Afterthought

        Well, yeah. With the current cars it is literally that. That’s always going to be the case until a team actually designs a car with it fully integrated.

    10. The shield can’t break?
      Will it fog?
      does it come with wipers?

    11. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      13th July 2017, 18:13

      I had imagined it would come down to meet the kick on the front of the monocoque for a flush finish. Hopefully this would be incorporated into the design should it be adopted. Still looks great to me

    12. It looks more like what an F1 windshield should look like.

    13. From the front at least, it looks pretty good. Like a train, it is going to be hard to stop.
      Something that no one has mentioned, that I know of, is the impact on aero.
      Not that it is a problem, quite the opposite, but this is a totally new opportunity to utilize the low pressure in the cockpit, the air-flow over the screen and what will the impact be on the rear wing, air-flow to the air-box.??
      Some clever beggar is going to make some significant gains and once the cat starts running around in the bag, a whole new series of “inquiries” to the FIM….. “is it permissable to do xxxx.?”

    14. Doesn’t look too bad. I can certainly see us getting used to it like we have every other enclosure around the driver over the last 20 years. If it does the job then I’m certaily not against it.

    15. I still dont understand the need for this. It looks better than the other stuff I’ve seen. I have to give them that.

      1. Massa’s accident and Henry Surtee’s death.

    16. Newey will have a field day getting vortices over and off this thing!

      Looks much better than what’s come before too.

    17. If someone, say Vettel, likes it during the test at Silverstone, can he request it to be allowed to use it during the race? I know that it is highly unlikely, but just a theoretical question.

      1. Racerdude7730
        13th July 2017, 19:42

        No bc it’s not in the aero rules

        1. Neither are any of the other safety features.

          1. Racerdude7730
            13th July 2017, 21:33

            True but they have boxes they must work in and that would fall outside that box. Other teams would protest if they in anyway thought it would be an advantage.

      2. I suspect that until it’s fully integrated, it’s actually a safety impediment.

    18. Racerdude7730
      13th July 2017, 19:41

      Can you imagine the cost to run these? I’m sure the teams will run them a max of one race bc of wanting perfect vision. Hell maybe 1 a day as crazy as F1 can be and I’m sure they arnt cheap

    19. I wonder how the FIA will write the rules.
      Will it be a standardised shape, size and construction for all teams, or will the teams be allowed to design their own shape as long as it is XX mm above the sides of the cockpit and able to withstand a load of YY kg at N metres per second. Would it be permissible to have apertures low in the very front to allow airflow into the cockpit?
      I also wonder what will happen in a race if a shield becomes damaged. Will a car have to come in and change, if not will they pass post race scrutineering?

      1. If it gets damaged it gets replaced. Like a faulty headrest….

        1. Given what purpose it serves, I doubt its a matter of clicking it into place and driving off. If it gets damaged I’d say its race over.

          1. @bamboo Yes, but a car can continue racing with wig damage, side pod damage etc.; could they continue with shield damage or would they be be black flagged and required to pit. Next, I would have thought that using the shield would have some detrimental effect on the performance of the car, either in terms of outright speed or fuel efficiency or whatever. And so I wondered if a team could claim their shield was damaged in the race and remove it part way through and thus gain an advantage.

            1. *wig* damage? Should be WING damage!

      2. Racerdude7730
        13th July 2017, 21:31

        It would almost have to be standard bc of all the crash testing they would have to go through but I could be wrong

        1. Well, that was my immediate thought too. But looking at the visual difference between the rendering on the Williams and the one on the Ferrari i made me wonder of there could be different versions from different teams – and if some clever designers could manage to derive aero benefit from a clever implementation of the spec.

    20. Can’t see how the driver won’t struggle get out if the car is upside down

      1. Doesn’t look like it. The driver doesn’t come out of the front, he comes out of the side, and it’s about the same height as the headrest.

    21. Cool. Better than halo and aeroscreen. Only ugly is the black part. If is red in the future, it will looks very well

    22. My first thinking was “it looks like the front of a motorbike” umm I don’t know,

      yeah maybe they could improve on them aesthetics !

    23. Racerdude7730
      13th July 2017, 21:34

      I could see teams struggling to feed the air box as much as they would like running this. Could this be a chance to drop the topside air intake and go with side pod intakes? The cars would look really cool losing the roll hop intakes

      1. Sounds like you’re working your way backwards from a desired outcome. Airflow will not be an issue. A low speed circuit like Monaco means a heavily reduced airflow, but they survive.

    24. Should work really well under the lights at Singapore.

    25. I like it. From an aesthetic point of view it kinda channels the feel of the windscreens on retro Formula 1 cars.

      Much better looking solution than the halo. Probably not as “strong” as the halo; however as long as it has sufficient strength to deflect an object away from a drivers head, even if the shield breaks in the process of doing so, in my mind it will have done its job.

      Don’t think it’ll fog up either, shouldn’t be any temperature differential between either side of the shield to cause fogging. During the rain it looks like the angle of it, and the speeds at which the cars travel should more or less cause any rain drops to be blown away.

      Only potential issue I can see is visibility during races that occur when the sun is setting, like Melbourne, Baku, and Abu Dhabi.

    26. It’s the best option yet but I still don’t think we should be going any further towards closed cockpits.

      The biggest problem is where do we stop, obviously it’s just personal views but at some point we all have a risk we find acceptable. Interestingly some drivers are already saying they’re happy with current designs.

      Nobody wants serious injuries in sport but neither do we want roboracers and simulators to be the only options.

      1. Just to add to that comment, I also think of F1 as an open cockpit, open wheel series which is a key part of it’s appeal as opposed to all race series going towards LMP1 style cars.

        Not that I’ll stop watching if I’m honest…

    27. Hard to believe that would have had much effect on Jules’ survivability at Suzuka. Is any designer claiming it would have?

      Might have helped Massa, though.

      Bottom line, if it isn’t a game changer for side impacts, I would question its purpose.

      1. It does look better than the thong, and may indeed have helped Massa. Will it however survive incidents like Grosjean flying just in front of Alonso’s head at Spa or does it shatter and leave deadly shards of sharp shield into the driver cockpit?

        1. They don’t shatter into a million pieces, just like regular car windshields.

      2. Michael Brown (@)
        14th July 2017, 2:37

        I don’t know if protecting from an impact that Bianchi had is on the agenda with head protection, since the FIA stated that the halo would not have helped. Seems like the VSC is the best way to handle it.

    28. Wouldn’t mind seeing this implemented if it also meant a reduction in the height of the cockpit sides to pre-1996 levels. The hans device in conjunction with a new transparent windscreen wrapped around the cockpit can perhaps allow for the driver’s shoulders to be exposed again without any loss in safety.

      1. that won’t happen

    29. All you need is some rainX for it to keep it clean and water off. It works on my car at only 50kmh so I’m sure at 150kmh in the rain they will be fine

    30. The Iceman is going to overheat

    31. Very promising. Although wait till the sun hits it, you mite not be able to see whos who on TV

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        14th July 2017, 2:35

        If only there was some way of identifying the driver on the car itself…

    32. Michael Brown (@)
      14th July 2017, 2:41

      It looks better than the aeroscreen, but with all these head protection concepts, I’m put off by how it is simply putting it on to the car in a way that looks awkward. It’s apparent that if F1 wants to pursue the head protection so badly, there needs to be a redesign with the cockpit rather than putting a screen on it.

    33. It will also make it much tougher for us to identify drivers, as I usually use the helmet to identify which driver it is from Red Bull fpr example. The should make the camera thingy on top more visible then. Go back to the red and green ones.

    34. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
      14th July 2017, 6:34

      I really hope one day F1 manages to find a way to have a totally closed but transparent cockpit, with F1 drivers wearing a WRC-style helmet, so we can see the faces of the drivers when they go full speed, make mistakes, or get angry.

    35. Needs moar wipers.

    36. now we are just missing a roof and doors.

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