Daniel Ricciardo was the first driver to test the new driver protection of a halo or closed cockpit during a F1 practice session. Ricciardo, completed an installation lap in order to provide driver feedback on the concept, which has already been given the thumbs-up from the Australian and team mate Daniil Kvyat after they trialled it on the team’s simulator.
With Formula One racing’s governing body, the FIA, planning to implement some form of standardised cockpit protection from 2017, Red Bull’s screen is being considered as a potential alternative to Mercedes’ ‘halo’ concept and recently underwent impact testing prior to its Sochi appearance.
“It was different, not having the wind rolling on me and the engine sound was different as well,” reported Ricciardo. “The visibility was pretty good, so first impressions were fine, it was driveable.
“Where we have the structure in place is pretty much where the mirrors are so I wouldn’t say it hindered any more than we are now in terms of visibility. Peripheral vision was fine as well.”
Unlike the halo, Red Bull’s aeroscreen does not have a central pillar in front of the driver. However, there is the question of how rain or oil on the screen could affect visibility.
“The plan is to probably try it again on a different circuit with different scenery, a bit more undulation or something like that or maybe a night circuit,” added Ricciardo. “The lights could be interesting how they reflect off the screen so we’ll give it a bit more running.”