FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting says drivers will be requested to trial the 'Halo' cockpit protection device during free practice sessions for the remainder of the 2016 F1 season in an effort to widen feedback of the forthcoming concept.
Having originally been pencilled in for a 2017 introduction, the 'Halo' has been deferred to 2018 after members of the Strategy Group determined it had not been experienced by enough drivers to be implemented earlier.
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With the FIA saying it is committed to conducting more research with a view to a 2018 introduction instead, it has urged all teams and drivers to contribute to testing it for the remainder of the year, especially at higher speed venues as Spa and Monza.
“We have done all of the testing and the only bit the Strategy Group felt was missing before they could finally confirm it was the drivers don't have any experience of it. That is the point that they needed before it could be properly introduced that is it really.
“We asked the teams yesterday all to look at the possibilities of running a car in Spa and Monza but that was before the decision was taken to defer it until 2018. But now I think we should look towards a structured plan where all teams can run it at some point during the season at all tracks. But my aim would be to get every driver to try it.”
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As it stands, the FIA is keen to build on the progress made with the 'Halo' device without entirely ruling out another alternative. For the time being, a standard 'dummy' version can be made by the teams but problems for some teams integrating it into their current cars means testing it won't be mandatory.
“It will be a standard version of the Halo,” he continued. “A standard shape, of course, but dummy versions. They wouldn't be actual production Halos. They've all got the drawings, they all know exactly how big they have to be and where they have to mount, but they could make what is effectively a dummy one.”
“This is something that we had to leave to the teams because we couldn't at that point feel as though we could actually insist upon trying to put it on one of the current cars. But there are also problems, if you talk to anybody from Red Bull for example they say they can't run Halo for more than two laps before the air intakes for the cooling of the engine and cooling of the gearbox start to be affected.
“What we are looking to do is make it clear that every driver has to try it for a whole free practice session during the course of this year. That would give us a proper way of going forward so we don't get caught out by something that is very hard to change back. That's really the idea.”
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