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F1 cars with windscreens? Here’s the FIA’s best effort yet

And no wiper in sight: could this be F1’s safer future

Formula One has been experimenting with ungainly driver-protecting canopy devices of a while now, in the wake of galling accidents like Felipe Massa’s spring/helmet interface in 2011 that showed a need for F1 cars to better safeguard driver’s heads. This image is the FIA’s most recent and best-looking attempt yet to keep the open-cockpit spirit of the sport intact, while offering superior defense against flying debris.

As you can see, it’s a transparent open canopy nicknamed ‘The Shield’, meaning the awkward ‘halo’ hoops tested with Ferrari last year have been consigned to the design studio recycling bin. You can see the halo in the gallery above for comparison. Good riddance?

The FIA is calling this design a ‘possible geometry’ and says ‘a number of indoor and outdoor tests are currently being conducted and the Federation’s target is to carry out a first full track test at Monza in September.’ Because you can bet every team wants to know exactly how this new ‘Shield’ windscreen is going to affect their precious, multi-million pound aerodynamic set-ups. 

However, so the feedback can begin in earnest, it’s been confirmed we’ll see a Ferrari – not a Williams, as pictured here – wearing a new canopy during practice for the 2016 British Grand Prix at Silverstone this weekend. As one of the fastest circuits on the F1 calendar, and scene of some fairly monstrous shunts recently (Kimi’s humdinger in 2014, anyone?), it’s an appropriate venue to begin the latest chapter in F1 safety.

In the meantime, get the sweepstake on ‘how long until sponsor logos appear on the ‘Shield’ surface’ running now…

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