The 2016 season of Formula One is just around the corner and the pre-season testing is in its full swing. The latest of pre-season testing took place in Barcelona, Spain this Thursday and will go in the history books because of the right reasons. And so will go Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonnen as he became the first driver in the history of F1 to test the Halo Cokcpit Concept.
Painted in black, the installation was fitted to his Ferrari F1 car, marking it as the first time for the Halo Cockpit to test in the real race conditions, before the FIA implements it in 2017. The frame which is meant to protect the head features a single column down the center, approved by all the teams and the governing body as a favorable design.
As for the final Halo Cockpit Design, the FIA has been testing various closed cockpit solutions over the years, to protect the head, with minimal hindrance during the extraction, but none came as a standard. The earlier proposed fully closed jet-fighter style canopy hindered the driver extraction along with the ill-effect of throwing debris that collided with it high into the air.
The Halo Cockpit on the other hand, gathered a lot of support over the past 18 months and GPDA chairman Alex Wurz said that it's understood why this idea came in as soon as possible. F1 race director Charlie Whiting has already confirmed and informed teams earlier this year that the FIA is adamant on introducing the concept in 2017.
Alex Wurz in discussion with Motorsport.com said, "Maybe in the far future we will move to jet fighter cockpits with the closed canopy, but that is too heavy at the moment, it's too expensive, it would need a longer time to look at this solution." He adds, "Maybe that will happen because it has a few other interesting aspects. But the experts and drivers agree that the Halo should come in, and we hope it's just a formality on Friday that the technical directors agree."
"They will have lots of things to discuss, and one of them will be the frontal head impact protection. But they should be well aware of the research," further says Alex. "It's on the grounds of safety, and in theory, the FIA could decide it by themselves, but it requires a structural change to the chassis, and it's obviously in the nature of everyone involved to work together."
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