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Old 3rd March 2016, 20:07   #1
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Default Safer Cockpit designs coming to F1

Ferrari surprised everyone by rolling out Kimi Raikkonen on the third day of the second and final pre-season test in their car equipped with the 'Halo Cockpit'.
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Though it was just for two installation laps, it goes to show how FIA and the teams have been testing this concept out and might be ready to implement it as early as the 2017 season.
The concept was first shown by Mercedes back in 2015.
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There also was a radical 'closed canopy' design showcased by RedBull long ago and then again by McLaren recently, but it has its own problems, like hindering with emergency evacuation of the driver.
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But looks like the FIA has been testing out the Halo cockpit (and the Centre Line Roll Hoop) idea and is ready to green light it. Details, including GIFs of tires being shot at the cockpit with a canon, this way-

Last week, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) confirmed that it's planning to introduce semi-closed cockpits in Formula One starting in 2017. But today, in a new issue of Auto (the federation's trade publication), the FIA finally showed off a real-world version of what the new F1 cockpit might look like.

One of the featured articles in the magazine - which you can view (and download) on the FIA's website - details the secretive tests that the FIA went through this past fall, and it shows that three radically different designs were tested. The first is the "halo" concept, which the FIA says is currently the "preferred option" for 2017. The project was originally started by Mercedes-Benz Motorsports until the FIA took it over last year and, until now, we had only seen as digital renders.
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The real-world version of the halo concept looks very different, ditching the thin, blade-like design for something more akin to the roll cage tested by the FIA in 2012. The strength of the halo, just like the other two potential cockpit solutions shown in Auto, was tested with an air cannon that shot a tire at 225 kmh (140 mph), simulating high-speed impacts with large debris. Andy Mellor, the lead researcher for the project, told Auto that this solution performed "extremely well" during the tests no matter which angle or height the tire was fired from. (It does appear that smaller bits of debris could make their way into the cockpit, though.) This version of the halo enclosure was made with steel, but Mellor says the FIA would have to use (and test) lighter materials if it does, in fact, pick this solution.
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The other two designs were a bit more radical. One involved three long steel bars that curve over the driver's head, protecting them from basically any debris that could fall from above the cockpit (which is what killed IndyCar's Justin Wilson last year). The bars, which would eventually have to be made from more lightweight composite materials, flex when an object makes impact. One of the main concerns with cockpit protection (full canopies, especially) is that deflected debris might be flung toward grandstands, putting fans at risk. The advantage with this "centre-line roll hoop" design is that the flexing helps deflect more of the incoming object's energy before shooting it back up into the air. There are two obvious drawbacks, though: a solution like this might make it harder to quickly retrieve an injured driver after an accident, and it is also much more likely to interfere with the driver's vision.

The final solution the FIA tested is called "additional frontal protection." These are little more than a few curved fins that poke up from the front of the cockpit. They could deflect objects that are coming straight at a driver, but would offer no protection against debris coming from any other angle. It adds the least amount of obstruction to the driver's vision and doesn't impact the ability to remove a driver whatsoever, but it's likely to only ever make its way onto a car as part of a design rather than a wholesale solution for protection drivers from head injuries.

According to Auto, F1 is apparently ready to let teams try mock-ups of the halo cockpit design during practice sessions in order to test things like driver visibility. Alternate proposals are still rolling in though — Red Bull Racing reportedly submitted its own canopy-style design just a few weeks ago. If the FIA can get teams to agree on a particular solution, the series will move forward with the plan to introduce semi-closed cockpits in 2017.
Source: http://www.theverge.com/2016/3/2/111...a-tests-photos
http://www.fia.com/multimedia/publication/auto-14

So what do you guys think? Should they implement the Halo or any other cockpit design?
I think they shouldn't. It takes away from the aesthetics of the open-wheel/cockpit racer. Yes, the unfortunate deaths of Jules Bianchi and IndyCar's Justin Wilson last year could have been avoided had there been a halo cockpit, but I think this is more of a knee-jerk reaction. When Marco Simoncelli passed away on the race track, the FIM didn't suggest training wheels. Because they knew that the best possible safety equipment, standards and guidelines are already in place and what happened was an unfortunate incident. That is the risk everybody knows is involved in motorsports and they are agreeing to it when they line up on the starting grid.
I think FIA should look at making sure that the debris removal and vehicle recovery from the race track during a race is done safely. And deploying of a virtual/real safety car is carried out properly. That's all is needed.
P.S: Don't get me wrong though, I was and still am a huge Super Sic fan and his loss was heart breaking for me. And so was Jules Bianchi's and everyother life that is lost on the race track. May their souls rest in peace. Amen.

Update:
Now RedBull is in on the game too and wants to introduce a 'Batmobile-style' canopy.
"But Red Bull has been running a parallel design project that is based more around a larger open-topped acrylic shield surrounding the driver, and does not feature the central pillar in front of the driver.
Instead, there will be two smaller columns on either side of the cockpit front."
Source: http://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/red-bull-to-test-alternative-batmobile-halo-677069/
And Raikkonen, in his typical style, said that the visibility with the halo concept he tested was "OK". What else did Ferrari/FIA expect from him?! xD

Last edited by shyn : 3rd March 2016 at 20:30.
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Old 4th March 2016, 21:44   #2
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Default Re: Safer Cockpit designs coming to F1

I liked the Mclaren and Red bull concept, Ferrari's halo cockpit design looks more like a distraction/blocks the complete free view to the driver. Reminds me of the old car split windscreen design.
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Old 5th March 2016, 01:08   #3
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Originally Posted by sajands View Post
I liked the Mclaren and Red bull concept, Ferrari's halo cockpit design looks more like a distraction/blocks the complete free view to the driver. Reminds me of the old car split windscreen design.

But the problem with closed canopy-style cockpits is driver extraction in an emergency, besides the fact that F1 won't be F1 anymore without an open cockpit.
Regarding the halo design obstructing the view of the driver, it is not that bad actually and the design will improve a little more and be sleeker. Here's an onboard pic from when Kimi tried it-
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But that doesn't change the fact that it looks hideous. Hamilton agrees.
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Old 5th March 2016, 01:28   #4
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Exclamation Re: Safer Cockpit designs coming to F1

Quote:
Originally Posted by shyn View Post
But that doesn't change the fact that it looks hideous.
Hamilton agrees.
An irresponsible comment from the reigning World-Champion

Well, let him tell that to Jules Bianchi's family & see if he gets any "likes" !

Of course, once it turns out that this structure can be used for aerodynamic purposes, Hamilton will change his tune
.

Last edited by im_srini : 5th March 2016 at 01:38.
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Old 5th March 2016, 07:52   #5
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Default Re: Safer Cockpit designs coming to F1

Quote:
Originally Posted by im_srini View Post
An irresponsible comment from the reigning World-Champion

Well, let him tell that to Jules Bianchi's family & see if he gets any "likes" !

Of course, once it turns out that this structure can be used for aerodynamic purposes, Hamilton will change his tune
.
I was about to say that he, Hamilton, is free to express his view but then, I read this.

Quote:
"If it is going to come in I hope we have an option to use it or not because I will not be using it on my car," he said. "I hope that's not what they're bringing, I really do. Ultimately it's the driver's protection so we should have a choice individually.
Seriously, drivers choice?

Source
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Old 5th March 2016, 09:14   #6
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Default Re: Safer Cockpit designs coming to F1

This is going to get mixed reactions from drivers and viewers alike. Okay, the classic F1-like look will get somewhat affected, but the amount of safety it would offer is much more important, also, as evident from Kimi's POV, it does not obstruct the driver's view badly.

Its atleast better than the McLaren and RedBull designs, those just look like sci-fi movie stuff, fail to spark excitement.

-Bhargav
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Old 5th March 2016, 12:23   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by im_srini View Post
An irresponsible comment from the reigning World-Champion

Well, let him tell that to Jules Bianchi's family & see if he gets any "likes" !

Of course, once it turns out that this structure can be used for aerodynamic purposes, Hamilton will change his tune
.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ecenandu View Post
Seriously, drivers choice?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Octane_Power View Post
This is going to get mixed reactions from drivers and viewers alike. Okay, the classic F1-like look will get somewhat affected, but the amount of safety it would offer is much more important, also, as evident from Kimi's POV, it does not obstruct the driver's view badly.



Its atleast better than the McLaren and RedBull designs, those just look like sci-fi movie stuff, fail to spark excitement.



-Bhargav

I will just repeat what I said earlier-
It takes away from the aesthetics of the open-wheel/cockpit racer. Yes, the unfortunate deaths of Jules Bianchi and IndyCar's Justin Wilson last year could have been avoided had there been a halo cockpit, but I think this is more of a knee-jerk reaction. When Marco Simoncelli passed away on the race track, the FIM didn't suggest training wheels. Because they knew that the best possible safety equipment, standards and guidelines are already in place and what happened was an unfortunate incident. That is the risk everybody knows is involved in motorsports and they are agreeing to it when they line up on the starting grid.
I think FIA should look at making sure that the debris removal and vehicle recovery from the race track during a race is done safely. And deploying of a virtual/real safety car is carried out properly. That's all is needed.
P.S: Don't get me wrong though, I was and still am a huge Super Sic fan and his loss was heart breaking for me. And so was Jules Bianchi's and everyother life that is lost on the race track. May their souls rest in peace. Amen.
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Old 5th March 2016, 22:35   #8
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Default Re: Safer Cockpit designs coming to F1

Quote:
Originally Posted by shyn View Post
Yes, the unfortunate deaths of Jules Bianchi and IndyCar's Justin Wilson last year could have been avoided had there been a halo cockpit, but I think this is more of a knee-jerk reaction.
I'm not so sure, safety standards evolve & the price is paid in driver's lives.
Aesthetics are a small price to pay if even a single life is saved, think back to Senna, that accident in 1994 led to a host of safety related changes that have literally saved lives.
While I agree Ferrari's implementation looks hideous, the one by Mercedes doesn't look half bad.
Quote:
Originally Posted by shyn View Post
That is the risk everybody knows is involved in motorsports and they are agreeing to it when they line up on the starting grid.
I don't think drivers think they're going to die every time they get into their cars even though they might profuse otherwise; this is not war, they're not fighter pilots or infantry men.
They, & us, have an expectation of seeing them walk out of their crashed cars or in the worst case - injured & taken to the medical center; nobody expects anyone to die - at least in the modern era of F1, which was why Bianchi's death was such a shocker.
This "expecting to die" talk, mostly by the drivers, is romanticising stuff that isn't, like when people proclaim their cars have soul
Cars do not have souls, they're just pieces of metal, glass, & plastic, & when you crash one, it's not given a burial or a funeral service, rather you cash out your insurance & get another one.
Quote:
Originally Posted by shyn View Post
I think FIA should look at making sure that the debris removal and vehicle recovery from the race track during a race is done safely.
And deploying of a virtual/real safety car is carried out properly.
That's all is needed.
It's not just about safety car precautions, i.e. Jules Bianchi's case.
The tire that hit Senna, the spring that flew into Massa's face, or the Kimi-Alonso crash from last year's Austrian GP that could've ended badly for Kimi, could have been mitigated or even prevented if there had been a safety structure out front.
.

Last edited by im_srini : 5th March 2016 at 22:36.
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Old 6th March 2016, 00:18   #9
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I'm not so sure, safety standards evolve & the price is paid in driver's lives.

My support for the traditional unadulterated open cockpits may make me sound like I am a 'purist/traditionalist', but I am not. I really liked the fact that F1 moved on to hybrid turbo V6 engines from the all-motor naturally-aspirated V8/V10/V12s because I love and respect technological progress.
But I still don't think F1 should do anything to the timeless open wheel(and cockpit) design. Because THAT is Formula One! There have been very quirky designs before, including a 6-wheeler for heaven's sake, but even that stuck to the basic open wheel and cockpit design. So I guess I am a purist/traditionalist afterall.
And having just one look at motorcycle racing shows you how 'pampered' motorcar racing (F1 in particular) is. Be it the Isle of Man TT and other road races like NW200 or Moto2/3/GP, the accidents there are so much more brutal, but you don't see them making hasty irrational decisions everytime some racer dies. If Bernie was incharge of it then every bike would be running on training wheels. That guy has made more than his share of money. He should just retire and leave F1 alone before he does anymore damage.

Anyway, you seem to be just as convinced about safer/'ugly' cockpits as I am about the open/'unsafe' cockpits. So all we can really agree on is to disagree. But atleast we are getting to have a conversation about it and voice our opinions.
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Old 7th March 2016, 11:55   #10
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Default Re: Safer Cockpit designs coming to F1

After the tragic accident that took the life of Jules Bianchi, the halo appears necessary.

However, I do not like the design - not because it's ugly as Hamilton says, but simply because the current design appears to obstruct the view of the driver. It may not seem to be much of a problem during testing, but I think things will be different during a race. At the speeds that Formula 1 cars are capable of, it might prove very costly. Thank God Maldonado's out of Formula 1.

I hope they come up with a better design than this.
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Old 7th March 2016, 13:42   #11
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Default Re: Safer Cockpit designs coming to F1

Looking at the design, I think this might actually help with the aerodynamics of the car. Yeah it looks gross and probably obstructs the driver's view, but I'm guessing there is more to it than just the safety aspect that Ferrari are letting on.
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Old 7th March 2016, 15:04   #12
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Default Re: Safer Cockpit designs coming to F1

This new contraption looks like a tramp's hat, a mosquito siting on your face between your eyes.
This looks like yet another attempt (after putting in vacuum cleaner sounding engines) to shoo away viewers.
What next? Drivers to sit in the garage and control the cars by remote?

F1 badly needs to go back to it's roots. Throw out the bucket loads of electronics and electrics. People want the bad-for-planet V10s back. And re-fueling stops too and tyre strategies. (No single Tyre manufacturer pls)
The last thing we want to see is this hideous contraption.
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Old 7th March 2016, 16:50   #13
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Default Re: Safer Cockpit designs coming to F1

Being someone who races formula cars I believe this is a step in the right direction. Of course this solution looks really ugly but I'm sure by the time it gets implemented it will look a lot better and in theme with the rest of the car.

Today fetal injuries are almost a thing of the past and the cars with their carbon tubs can pretty much take any kind of impact and keep the drivers safe. It's only when a wheel comes flying at 200kmph and hits your head it's game over. This kind of protection could have a huge impact on our safety and tick that final remaining box.

Of course since it's not a full canopy the danger will still remain. Just with reduced risk of someone possibly dying from a direct impact on the head.

With regards to the visibility for the driver. That won't make a big difference. We barely ever look straight when racing.
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Old 7th March 2016, 19:31   #14
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Default Re: Safer Cockpit designs coming to F1

All the major changes that happen in the F1 are reactions to some major accident. The Halo or canopy concept gained traction after the Jules Bianchi accident.
Looks like FIA would like to get this through and what better way then enlisting Ferrari to pilot the concepts. They sure did enjoy the extra attention showered upon them and sent Vettel out with he Halo the next day again.
Hopefully some "more elegant" solutions will also be considered before finalising the concept.
The "democratic" methods in F1 now a days should not be getting in the way of FIA when they want to implement something new for safety purposes. There are enough provisions in the regulations to allow for that.
Hope there will be no fatalities on an F1 track in the future.
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Old 8th March 2016, 00:15   #15
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Default Re: Safer Cockpit designs coming to F1

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Originally Posted by goingout View Post
With regards to the visibility for the driver. That won't make a big difference. We barely ever look straight when racing.
Great to see inputs coming from an open wheel racer. I would like to know how safe you guys feel while racing in Indian open wheel series compared to European counterparts.
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