FIA Shows New Head Protection Concept ‘The Shield’ to Drivers

The FIA has introduced a new head protection concept known as “The Shield” to drivers. After the unpopularity of the “Halo” will this be the one that sticks?

The poor FIA. All they want to do is just protect some fella’s noggin and they just keep encountering pushback. After the controversial head protection known as the “Halo” was met with strong resistance by drivers and fans alike, it appears that the FIA went back to the drawing board and came up with “The Shield”.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 25:  Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H Ferrari 059/5 turbo (Shell GP) in the Pitlane with the halo fitted during practice for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 25, 2016 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – NOVEMBER 25: Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H Ferrari 059/5 turbo (Shell GP) in the Pitlane with the halo fitted during practice for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 25, 2016 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

The “Shield” device is heavily reminiscent of a standard windshield on a car. So much so, that one would be forgiven for thinking that it’s merely a windshield on a Formula One car. Which is precisely what it is.

The “Shield” was introduced to teams and drivers during the driver’s briefing in China on Friday night, and while no conclusive decisions have been made, the drivers have already piped up about it. Haas’ Kevin Magnussen was initially said that he was unsure about the device, citing worries about visibility as the primary cause:

“I don’t know. My opinion is I wouldn’t mind not having anything. I am happy as it is now.

I think visibility [with the Shield] is going to be a big issue at least in the wet. In Brazil last year we couldn’t see anything without any protection so with the screen I am sure there is going to be no visibility in a situation like that.

Maybe in the dry it could be okay, but with mist on the screen it could be tricky. Let’s see what they could up with it.”” – Kevin Magnussen

Renault Sport F1 Team's British driver Jolyon Palmer tests the so-called halo cockpit protection device during first practice session of the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix , in Sao Paulo, Brazil on November 11, 2016.  / AFP / Miguel SCHINCARIOL        (Photo credit should read MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL/AFP/Getty Images)
Renault Sport F1 Team’s British driver Jolyon Palmer tests the so-called halo cockpit protection device during first practice session of the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix , in Sao Paulo, Brazil on November 11, 2016. / AFP / Miguel SCHINCARIOL (Photo credit should read MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL/AFP/Getty Images)

Other drivers, such as Romain Grosjean, were vehemently against the device – saying that having such an obtrusive device on F1 cars goes directly against the spirit of the sport:

“My feedback is I am against the Shield, Aeroscreen or Halo. F1 is back to where it should be right now, back to really cool and aggressive cars and I don’t want to put anything that could destroy what we have just built.” – Romain Grosjean

The FIA have yet to issue any official statements regarding the implementation of the device, but if the “Halo” conversation is anything to go off of, the debate regarding the “Shield” is only just getting started.

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