Red Bull has shown off a digital render of its Formula 1 canopy proposal – which it hopes will be considered by the FIA as an alternative to the Mercedes ‘Halo’ concept which was trialled by Ferrari during pre-season testing.
The governing body is keen to have a head protection device on the cars by 2017 and is actively testing the ‘Halo’. Despite positive results, it has come in for criticism, with many describing it as “ugly”, including current world champion Lewis Hamilton and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.
Red Bull believes its proposal not only offers better protection, as it features a clear screen rather than an open-front like the ‘Halo’, but it also gives the drivers a better view, doing away with the central support pillar and is a far more attractive option.
The Milton Keynes team are due to test their version in April during a demo run and hope to begin structural and safety testing it later in the year.
It remains unclear if the FIA will back Red Bull’s version, with FIA safety delegate Charlie Whiting throwing his support behind the ‘Halo’ and admitting the open-top jet-fighter concept has yet to prove it works.
“Obviously you know that we’ve tested the so-called Halo. It’s been tested quite extensively now, and I think it will offer very good protection for a flying wheel, for example,” he explained.
“The Red Bull is an alternative to that. It’s considerably further behind in development, it’s never been tested, but it could offer additional protection.
“I’ve got my doubts as to whether it could actually be implemented for 2017, whereas I think the halo could.”
When asked if the FIA would delay the introduction of a canopy should a better solution emerge, he said it was unlikely.
“I don’t think we would delay if another one was emerging, as you put it,” he added. “We are on a course for the Halo as that has been tested thoroughly and we feel that it offers the best all-round protection.
“We do have, as I said earlier, a thorough risk assessment to on a number of different accident scenarios. We want to make sure we are not going to make things worse in certain circumstances, so that has to be done.
“But I don’t think we would delay it because we felt there was another better one coming.”