Cockpit concept is ‘not dead’

Date published: January 20 2017

Despite the F1 drivers testing Halo throughout the latter part of 2016, F1 deputy race director Laurent Mekies says Red Bull’s Aeroscreen idea is “not dead.”

Formula 1 is considering introducing cockpit protection in 2018 with the sport initially evaluating two concepts, Halo and the Aeroscreen.

Halo is a ring that surrounds the driver’s head while the Aeroscreen is a canopy cockpit.

But while the sport appeared to be leaning towards Halo with the drivers trialing it during Friday practices, Mekies has revealed that the sport could still opt for the canopy.

“No, it’s not dead,” he said during the Autosport International Show last weekend. “Technically, it’s possible, it’s maybe six months, five months away if we wanted to do that.

“We are waiting for the final word from our bosses to know if they want the Halo, if they want the canopy, if they want something in between, or if they want something more aesthetically pleasing – even if there is a price to pay.

“Everything is on the table. There is nothing that we consider impossible right now.”

As for cockpit protection in general, Mekies confirmed that a final decision on whether to introduce it has yet to be made.

“It’s a philosophical conversation,” he said. “The engineering work is done. Somebody needs to decide if it’s right for F1 or not; if it’s compatible with the DNA.

“The net safety benefit is established. After that, we accept that F1 is not a closed car. So is it right for F1? It is for somebody to answer your questions, which is very much the stakeholders.

“We have to look at this aspect, because the sport is about that. That’s what is being discussed quite intensely right now.”