In the FIA run quarterly magazine newsletter AUTO, the FIA have detailed the three driver head protection systems currently under review as part of the 2017 Formula One Technical Regulations.
The publication is available to review in full here:
The three concepts under review feature; the Halo Effect, the Mercedes AMG Petronas advised solution, which creates a solid halo structure around the driver cockpit. The central line roll up, comprising (in concept form) of 3 non rigid supports stretching over the length of the nose section of the car. Finally the is the review of additional frontal protection in the form of 3 rigid structures positioned in front of the cockpit aimed to redirect debris away from the cockpit.
Detailed analysis of each solution is available in the FIA publication. It is understood Red Bull Racing will soon submit an additional concept to the FIA for review which will be more ‘windscreen’ like in design. The FIA aim to define a single solution to be used as a standard component across all teams. The intention is to introduce this development through the 2017 technical regulations.
If you are unable to view the publication through the above page, please use this link.
In an interview with Mobil 1 The Grid, filmed at the Autosport International Show in the UK earlier this year. Pat Symonds, Chief Technical Officer for the Williams F1 Team previews the 2016 season and gives insights into what we can expect from 2017 and beyond
Commenting on the minor technical changes in regulations for 2016, beyond the increased cockpit protection, Symonds remarks the season could lead to interesting results with teams having more opportunity to refine design rather than revolutionise. Increased freedom in tyre specification available over a race weekend should have a positive impact on racing.
Symonds is keen to compliment the Williams driver line up and the benefits of driver stability can bring to a team.
When discussing the proposed technical regulations changes for 2017 Symonds highlighted no clear consensus around the regulations has been found, but the expectation is a move to wider machines with greater levels of downforce and mechanical grip. Formula One in the eyes of Pat Symonds should be at the forefront of technology and innovation. The Williams F1 team, as the lead independent team in recent seasons is supportive of such a direction.
Reports are emerging that the plans for radical change in the 2017 F1 Technical Regulations are being increasingly toned down over fears that cars may become too fast with the targeted 5 seconds per lap improvement in performance possibly leading to safety issues.
As reported on Auto Motor und Sport (German), in a Technical Working Group meeting, discussions around these fears have lead to a recalibration of the proposed regulations.
Proposals to increase the width of the car at the widest point, the tyres, to 2 metres have been retained, but the bodywork between the axles will not increase to the planned 180 cm but remain at 140 cm, leaving a substantial area of uncovered floor. Also shelved are plans for a larger diffuser and changes to the front and rear wings which under earlier proposals had been set from dramatic change, with the diffuser set to double in height and the rear wing increase in width.
With this proposed watering down of the regulation change it is anticipated that only 25% of the targeted performance improvement will be achieved. Sources suggest that leading non works teams have expressed frustration that the body work changes will be barely visable and the series will retain its reliance on Power Unit development leaving limited scope for aerodynamic developments.
Full 2017 regulations are set to be published in March this year to ensure teams have sufficient time to prepare for any changes. Until such time it is unlikely any clear view will be provided on how the next generation of Formula One cars will be set to look.