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Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis
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Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Exclusive: How Formula 1's new 'Shield' idea could look

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Exclusive: How Formula 1's new 'Shield' idea could look
By:
Apr 11, 2017, 11:30 AM

While Formula 1 edges closer a decision on what type of cockpit head protection system will be introduced for 2018, Motorsport.com can reveal how the new 'Shield' idea being considered could look.

During Friday night's drivers' briefing at the Chinese Grand Prix, the FIA showed off a new canopy style solution that could be an alternative to the Halo or the Aeroscreen.

Here, for the first time, technical editor Giorgio Piola revealed his artists' impression of what the design could look like when fitted to a generic 2017 car.

Rather than the Shield being an attachment around the edge of the cockpit like the Halo and Aeroscreen, the solution is more integral to the nose section of the car – beginning much further forward that the two ideas already trialled.

The sloping see-through screen does not extend fully over the cockpit, even though it does end up higher than the crash helmet.

During a briefing made to drivers, they were told that while the design has proved effective in early testing for smaller pieces of debris, it is not as effective when it comes to deflecting larger items like wheels.

 

Draft of the shield protection system
Draft of the shield protection system

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

However, as there is resistance from teams, fans and drivers about the look of the Halo, it has been suggested that the Shield could deliver the best compromise between visuals and safety.

Some drivers believed it was more acceptable than the Halo, while others were not convinced.

Felipe Massa, who suffered a head injury when he was hit by a spring during qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, believed that a final decision on which cockpit system to use should be made only on safety grounds.

"To be honest it looks really nice," said Massa, when asked by Motorsport.com for his opinion on the Shield. "It's beautiful compared to the Halo, but I don't think we need to go for how beautiful it is, but how better it is for the safety. That's the only answer we gave to them.

"If you can make it better, nicer and safer then it's done. Maybe for my accident it could have been okay this new system, but maybe for some other accidents maybe not. The wheels are much heavier now, so if you have a wheel flying and it hits it, it will not protect. So I push for the safety."

F1 teams and the FIA have agreed to introduce a form of cockpit protection for next season, but agreement has not yet been reached on which concept it should be.

A majority approval on the matter is required before the end of this month, otherwise the FIA will need unanimous backing from teams – something that may not be possible with several outfits not convinced about the need to cover cockpits.

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Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble