Kevin Magnussen has raised the issue of cockpit extraction time with the halo device after his car caught fire in Free Practice 1 on Friday, causing the session to be red-flagged.
The head protection device has divided opinions since its conception following the tragic deaths of Jules Bianchi and Justin Wilson, with critics suspecting it might hinder driver extraction in the case of an emergency such as fire. After being made mandatory for next year, it was again removed from the regulations.
“Personally I’ve never run the halo so I’m not the best person to ask. In my opinion five seconds is too long. If the car is on fire you don’t want to take five seconds. I don’t know, it’s an interesting question [whether it could obstruct the rescue team]”
The Dane was testing a new fuel system on his car when a ‘breather’ issue caused a fuel leak which caused the back of his car to catch fire when he returned to the pit lane following an installation lap. He had not been running the halo at the time and he was only able to rejoin the action 49 minutes into FP2.
” I kind of knew what caused it when it happened. We had some new parts on the car on the fuel system.. Fuel kept being pumped out and obviously it caught fire on the engine cover, being hot.”. When asked whether there were any signs of the issue, he said “No, I didn’t know. Everything worked well on the car on the in lap, so just saw the smoke and hopped out. I was already out when they were talking.”
Other head protection ideas have been suggested, with Red Bull running the ‘aeroscreen’ concept back in Sochi.
Image via Renault Sport F1