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Do you know what could make Formula One great once again? Have you got any idea? Of course not. You're probably babbling on about larger engines, more power, fewer rules, and so on, but you're wrong. The answer is this "halo" safety system that Kimi Raikkonen is testing out in Barcelona.

Yup, that's a metal bar in the shape of a "Y" that's there to protect the driver from flying debris, loose tires or even other cars, should they end up on top of each other. It's an idea the Formula One has been toying with for some time, and the decision to try it out was accelerated by Jules Bianchi's tragic accident, but there are already plenty who doubt it is the right solution.

For one thing, let's just exclude the possibility of ever having closed cockpit Formula One cars. Not only would they turn into real ovens during the hotter races (drivers already lose a few kilos per race due to dehydration), but they would also make it harder to extract the driver in case of an accident, which sometimes can make the difference between life and death.

So if there has to be a safety system, it must maintain an open cockpit. Several shapes have been proposed, but this one seems to offer the best compromise for protection and visibility. However, having a pretty large bar right in front of your eyes while you're trying to win races could prove problematic. And bear in mind that visibility in an F1 car isn't exactly great to begin with, so this would only add to the misery.

If you watch the clip you can see Kimi point towards the thing and shake his head. He later said it was OK, but you'd have to think that was just Kimi being surprisingly cautious about his statements. After a lifetime of racing with an open cabin, getting something so brilliantly described as a "pair of thongs" strapped in front of you is far from ideal. It's like somebody told you to drive with one eye closed from now on.

We understand the need for safety and seeing fatal accidents like the one involving Bianchi is always tragic, but - and it's not easy saying this - motor racing has always been a dangerous sport. You know the risks when you sign up for it. It may sound cruel and cynical, but this risk is part of the show. Nobody wants to see the drivers get hurt, but it was that looming danger that made Formula One the most entertaining driving championship. We're not saying they should add motor oil pools on the track and lay down spike strips to make things more interesting, we're just saying "FIA, please try not to kill what's left of this sport."

 

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Seems odd the centre support is smack bang in the middle of their field of vision.

In the case of Jules surely this wouldn't have made a difference as I thought it was the rapid deceleration that did him the most damage, rather than something hitting him in the face. Saying that even if it was the impact, you would have thought this 'thing' would have just ended up embedded in his helmet?
 

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How is adding this a 'farce'? F1 cars are still extremely dangerous. Resistance to adding safety devices like this is really backwards. If you watch F1 for the risk, they should make it even more dangerous to make it more exciting.

Being in the middle is the best location, if it was offset or one on each side, it would affect more of the field of view. As it is, it is very narrow. To try to imagine what it's like from the driver's point of view, hold 2 fingers in front of your face about 1 foot away and tell me that it significantly affects your vision! The bulk of the brace is above the driver's point of view. It's not much greater of a distraction than a central wiper like in DTM. http://s1.cdn.autoevolution.com/ima...ts-own-bmw-m4-dtm-car-this-season-92352_1.jpg

The brace is also incredibly strong; I've read that's it's essentially a solid carbon fiber frame and it's connected directly to the chassis.
 

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It's not much greater of a distraction than a central wiper like in DTM. .
I suspect any distraction is unwelcome with this level of performance.
Let's not forget that the rules for engines are about to be opened up.


Safety has it's place, although I've not heard any driver propose smaller reward for safer cars yet. Part of the high reward is recognising the higher dangers involved.


Kimi's halo is a prototype. The final version may be significantly different.
If they don't test possible solutions then the new addition may make the situation more unsafe than the one it is trying to resolve.


Motorsport is dangerous, at least until the x box becomes standard.
 

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See the view below from the cockpit and you may understand why Niki was shaking his head.

Hi PitchRate,
That's a great picture. I think it helps to illustrate my point that although annoying, the field of view directly in front and across the road surface is minimally obscured. (image is from Kimi's forehead area, at eye level the road would be less obscured). The largest mass is in the upper FOV, and fortunately F1 drivers rarely need to check stoplights. :nerd:
 

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I wonder if they can make the triangular piece smaller without compromising structural strength and integrity.
 

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See the view below from the cockpit and you may understand why Niki was shaking his head.

He Is probably shaking his head not because of the near view, but the down the road view. At 200 mph you can understand why you need to see WAY in front of you, not simply left and right of the cockpit.?
 

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I wonder if they can make the triangular piece smaller without compromising structural strength and integrity.
The original concept/prototype that MB designed had a flat part instead of a big triangle.
 

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The original concept/prototype that MB designed had a flat part instead of a big triangle.
I think they can make it C-shaped with tubular profile, eliminating the front pillar, and the legs that go/attach unto the frame can be made thicker and stronger with a tapered aerodynamic design. Just need the applied material engineers and structural engineers to get together.
 
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Hi PitchRate,
That's a great picture. I think it helps to illustrate my point that although annoying, the field of view directly in front and across the road surface is minimally obscured. (image is from Kimi's forehead area, at eye level the road would be less obscured). The largest mass is in the upper FOV, and fortunately F1 drivers rarely need to check stoplights. :nerd:
Well I have obviously never driven a Formula 1 car, however, I have a lot of flying time in jet fighters and I can say I sure didn’t want ANY obstruction in my field of view. Take a look at the video below and notice how even the small front telemetry antenna is annoying.

 

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Well I have obviously never driven a Formula 1 car, however, I have a lot of flying time in jet fighters and I can say I sure didn’t want ANY obstruction in my field of view. Take a look at the video below and notice how even the small front telemetry antenna is annoying.
Well, I have obviously never driven a F1 car OR flown a jet fighter, but I've played a lot of video games :grin:, but it seems like even jet fighter's have some obstruction near the middle of the field of view.
 

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A canopy type arrangement may be the answer
 
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