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Halo safety cockpit 'best compromise', says Davidson

Former F1 driver Anthony Davidson says having tested the concept halo safety cockpit protector in a simulator it is a 'best compromise' but limits a driver's view.
Former Formula 1 driver Anthony Davidson says having tested the concept halo safety cockpit protector in a simulator it is a 'best compromise' but does limit a driver's view.

After the tragic deaths of Jules Bianchi and Justin Wilson as a result of head injuries while racing the FIA has been keen to investigate ways of improving driver cockpit safety with concept designs.

One design which has been touted is a halo canopy, which has a central support column directly in front of the drivers' eye-line with two fins running over the top of the cockpit.

Former F1 star and current Toyota LMP1 driver in the FIA World Endurance Championship Davidson has been testing out the concept in a simulator and feels although it isn't ideal impacting the driver's view it is a strong compromise for safety.

“I think a lot of the teams have been working on that in conjunction with the FIA to come up with the best solution. It really is not an ideal solution and it's never going to be,” Davidson said on nbcsports.com. “Side vision doesn't seem to be too different at all compared to what the drivers would be used to, but the version that I tried had a central fin or post.

“I found that actually in cornering, that was the one time you could forget about it. It was on the straights and looking at things on the horizon straight ahead of you, like trying to pick out an early braking marker board, I found that it sometimes would obscure the view.”

Despite his concerns, Davidson believes the drawbacks do not outweigh the need for the new safety measures for open cockpit racers.

With talks between F1 stakeholders currently ongoing ahead of a potential regulations revamp in 2017, it is believed the most suitable cockpit protection concepts are being discussed with results expected by the March deadline.

“Visibility is not going to be as good as not having one in the first place, but the argument against it doesn't really hold, I think,” he said. “You have to accept it because it can't carry on the way it has been with drivers dying because of a blow to the head.

“Through lots of thought you come to a conclusion that there is no easy solution. But for now, this seems to be the best compromise.”



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mrfill

February 01, 2016 3:43 PM

“You have to accept it because it can't carry on the way it has been with drivers dying because of a blow to the head. " In 20 years of F1 there has been one instance of a driver dying because of a blow to the head and no cockpit protection would have helped. When Massa got hit by a lump of flying Brawn, it came at eyeline level. Would this 'halo' have prevented that impact? Doubtful Justin Wilson and Henry Surtees were not in F1, where track safety is better anyway with TecPro barriers rather than concrete walls in dangerous areas. Disturbing the sight of the driver to achieve a compromise is not good. Try again please

richard

February 01, 2016 4:12 PM

i agree. surtees was hit by an errant wheel and the halo would not have definitely saved him. wilsons was a totally different accident. bianchi wasnt hit in the head, it was decelleraton, and maria would not have been protected by the front strut. so in reality, the halo would have little benefit, but could hinder vision in a close battle.



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