In Depth

Red Bull debut 'aeroscreen' cockpit protection at Russian GP

Daniel Ricciardo tests F1 safety device, but unimpressed Lewis Hamilton thinks it 'looks like a riot shield'

The first practice session ahead of the F1 Russian Grand Prix was enlivened when Red Bull showed off their new 'aeroscreen' cockpit protection system.

Driver Daniel Ricciardo did one lap with the device fitted to his car, the first public outing for the aeroscreen, which is being proposed as an alternative to the 'halo' system developed by Mercedes and shown off in pre-season testing.

"Both devices feature a similar elliptical structure to protect the driver's head from impact from large airborne debris but differ in how they are mounted to the car and their appearance," says Andrew Benson the BBC.

The biggest innovation in the Red Bull design is the use of what is effectively a windscreen. "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," explains Formula1.com.

F1 fans should get used to the new additions to the cars says the Daily Mail. The sport is "determined to introduce improved cockpit protection for next year following a number of high-profile incidents.

"And it appears increasingly likely that the halo, a concept first devised by the Mercedes team and subsequently tested by Ferrari in pre-season testing earlier this year, or Red Bull's canopy will be given the green light."

To back up their design Red Bull released footage of safety tests on the device on Twitter, but not everyone was impressed. Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton said: "It looks like a bloody riot shield." 

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