The 'Halo' cockpit protection device will not be introduced for the 2017 Formula 1 season after team bosses reportedly decided in favour of deferring it to 2018 after more development.
Though many F1 drivers have spoken of their support for the controversial concept ahead of the German Grand Prix – including Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg and Daniel Ricciardo -, a meeting of the Strategy Group would see the device put to its first formal vote amongst team bosses.
However, while it was unanimously decided that more frontal cockpit protection such as the Halo should represent the future for F1, such a device will not be ready for 2017.
As such, development will continue to take place with 'multiple track tests' during practice sessions for the remainder of the year.
“The Strategy Group agreed unanimously that the 2018 season will see the introduction of frontal cockpit protection for F1 cars in order to significantly enhance the safety of drivers.
“It was decided that owing to the relatively short timeframe until the commencement of the 2017 F1 season it would be prudent to use the remainder of this year and early next year to further evaluate the full potential of all options before final confirmation.
“This will include undertaking multiple on track tests of the Halo system in practice session during the rest of the season and during the first part of the 2017 season.”
The FIA statement also doesn't rule out the potential of a different device – such as the Aeroscreen – being evaluated, even if the Halo remains the preferred option.
“While the Halo is currently the preferred option as it provides the broadest solution to date, the consensus among the Strategy Group was that another year of development could result in an even more complete solution.
“Halo remains a strong option for introduction in 2018.
The 'Halo' was conceived in response to concerns about cockpit safety in the wake of fatal accidents for Jules Bianchi, Justin Wilson and Henry Surtees, with its first public appearance coming in March during pre-season testing. A revised version was seen in at the recent British Grand Prix, but while it has undergone extensive behind-the-scenes testing, it remains barely track-tested after just four slow shakedown laps in moderate conditions.
The decision comes after Vettel and Rosberg gave their strong support for its introduction ahead of the German Grand Prix, saying 90-95 per cent of drivers voted in favour.