Red Bull Racing's 'Aeroscreen' cockpit protection device inevitably prompted a talking point amongst drivers following its brief but keenly observed track debut during free practice for the Russian Grand Prix, with opinions still largely divided.
An alternative to the much discussed 'halo' that was shown during pre-season testing during a brief Ferrari installation run, the Aeroscreen – developed independently by Red Bull – features a more conventional windscreen design that stretches above the driver and tapers around to the wing mirrors, but doesn't enclose the cockpit.
Getting a brief one lap run at the Sochi Autodrom, Daniel Ricciardo said visibility was fine and remains convinced this is a viable alternative to the halo, which is known to be favoured by the FIA for a possible 2017 introduction.
With drivers asked for their views, there was a difference of opinion throughout, with Lewis Hamilton steadfast in his dislike of the concept, while others say they prefer the halo.
“The Red Bull solution was not so nice, to be honest, I think the Ferrari solution was better. But I'm in favour of driver safety, so it's important to find the best solution.”
“I've just seen it on some pictures. Look online, I told you, I said what it looks like. I saw it yesterday in the picture and I'm sure it looks just as bad on track.”
“Probably the Red Bull solution looks a little bit better from an aesthetic point of view but I think the FIA will decide the best one and hopefully there are more options coming because it is early days and hopefully we will find the best solution.”
I prefer the Halo system because I think F1 you have to get the helmet in the air otherwise it becomes a closed car – so I am more in favour of the Halo.
“It looks definitely out of the options we saw, it's definitely the best option for sure in terms of head protection, we'll have to see how the fans react. I don't know, I think that's very important as well.”
“It looks better, more attractive for my tastes. I think it's unavoidable that it comes so that would be my preferred option.”
“It's a fine line. It's what you like and what you don't like. It's a hard pick between the two of them, between the two systems. I saw it and on first glance it doesn't look too bad but then if you look longer on the internet you think, is it really nice? It's an opinion more than anything else. I need to get comfortable with it first but if it is for protection it's difficult to say no.”