Red Bull Racing will be trialing their cockpit head protection design during the opening practice session of this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.
The FIA had asked the teams to introduce ways of increasing head protection in Formula 1 following the recent fatalities of Jules Bianchi and IndyCar driver Justin Wilson.
Ferrari first trialled a concept called the Halo during winter testing when Kimi Räikkönen ran the device for an installation lap.
Now Red Bull Racing will follow suit in running its own ‘Aeroscreen’ concept – which it unveiled at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix – for an installation lap before continuing with their original programme for FP1.
The device features a high windscreen supported by two side pillars which should offer less visual obstruction compared to the Halo’s single centre pillar design.
Daniel Ricciardo sat in the car on Thursday and was initially impressed with the visibility.
“First impressions are that it seems OK,” he remarked. “Basically the part of the structure is in line with the mirrors, where the mirror structure is, so it does not really block any more vision than what we have already with the mirrors, and the front is pretty open.
“You obviously have the structure of the top, but that is pretty high and out of your eye line anyway. It is one of those things that you definitely put it on track and check, because things change when you move. It is easy to sit in the garage with it, but so far the impression is that it should be okay visibility wise.”
Ricciardo also confirmed that, if its design was adopted, Red Bull has already developed tear-off coatings that could be removed during pit stops to prevent dirt and oil limiting the driver’s visibility.
“That is something I asked about,” he added. A quick one for now is that during pit stops you will have a tear off system, NASCAR has something similar.
“Then you can get these coatings on the screens, I guess it works a bit like in the rain with the visor, you have the Rain-X or whatever, and the stuff just floats off. So oils and things like these get dispersed quite quickly, say have stuff like this, so there are few short-term things right now which will be used tomorrow if needed.”
Increased head and cockpit protection is set to become mandatory in Formula 1 in 2017.
Images via XPB Images