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Whiting: Active cockpit safety system "impractical"

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Whiting: Active cockpit safety system "impractical"
By:
Aug 2, 2016, 11:13 AM

F1 race director Charlie Whiting thinks the idea of an "active" cockpit protection system in grand prix racing is "impractical", as he prefers current plans for a Halo or canopy.

Charlie Whiting, FIA Delegate
Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid cockpit louvres detail
Pierre Gasly, Red Bull Racing RB12 Test Driver running the Halo cockpit cover
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF16-H running the Halo cockpit cover
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF16-H running the Halo cockpit cover

Amid discussions by teams at the F1 Strategy Group in Geneva on Thursday about delaying the Halo, it emerged that teams have come up with the idea of trying to develop an active debris-deflection device.

The idea is that it would use detection technology to trigger a fin or similar car part in front of the cockpit to pop out of the car in the event of an incident to prevent drivers getting hurt.

Although Whiting is aware of the concept, he said ahead of the German Grand Prix that he did not think it would be suitable for F1.

"I've seen it – someone has sent me one of these designs - but I think it would be wholly impractical to be honest," he said. "I cannot see how you can deploy it in the right amount of time.

"I think the inventor, if we can call it that, misunderstands – a driver is not going to see something coming and think 'oh my goodness, I better push that button'. Honestly I don't think that is feasible."

Halo plans

Whiting remains convinced that work on the Halo – including extensive testing of it during full practice sessions later this year – will ultimately come up with the perfect standard solution.

"As you know we have tested extensively with the Halo and, to a lesser extent, with the Aeroscreen," he said. "We are subjecting those things to a worst case scenario, so I think it is the best thing to continue down that path."

Whiting confirmed that he wanted all drivers to run the Halo at some point this season to better understand how much it affects visibility.

"We asked all teams yesterday to look at the possibility of running a car at Spa and Monza, but that was before the decision was taken to defer it to 2018," he said.

"Now I think we should look towards a structured plan; that all teams run it at all tracks. My aim would be to get every driver to try it."

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Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble