Sebastian Vettel tries the shield, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2017

First pictures of the Shield in action on-track

2017 British Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

The FIA’s Shield head protection system has run on-track for the first time at the British Grand Prix weekend.

Sebastian Vettel gave the screen its debut during the first practice session at Silverstone.

2017 British Grand Prix

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39 comments on “First pictures of the Shield in action on-track”

  1. SaturnVF1 (@doublestuffpenguin)
    14th July 2017, 9:01

    I’ve heard some hate for it so far, but honestly, I think it looks ace! Of course it’s unconventional but it does look like every future F1 car concept we’ve seen.

    1. Wait until we see external images/movies from up front.
      If we can’t see the driver anymore, then I’m not a fan. A shield/windscreen might be aesthetically more appealing, but I prefer an ugly halo if that gives a better view of the driver.

    2. I agree. It looks ace.

    3. FreddyVictor
      14th July 2017, 10:31

      definite improvement over all other alternatives so far

      only negative from my PoV is that from front, you cannot see drivers helmet colours (can’t remember all the driver No’s!)

    4. I don’t like the fact that with the reflection, you hardly see the driver behind the wheel. We don’t see the guy at work as we used to do, with this thing the seat could be empty and we’d never know.

  2. A few things for me:

    It looks very flimsy, so won’t stop a flying tire, which I believe is one of the biggest fears. Perhaps a reinforced strut along the top edge can rectify this?

    The glare in one of the photos looks like it could cause a problem, especially in day to night races or races with a later afternoon start

    I still struggle to see how it will stay clean, the shape of it means raindrops are unlikely, but oil, flies etc tend to stick

    1. Not sure how you think it looks flimsy… It looks rock solid to me.

      The glare is from the external view so that would not be an issue for the driver unless there is also an issue inside which there probably isn’t.

      I do agree that dirt may be an issue but that is what the tests are for. If there is a small issue then this can probably be sorted in pit stops.

    2. @sam3110 I don’t think dirt is too much of an issue. I mean, at Le Mans they do longer stints and they don’t get to clean their windshields until they come in for a pit stop: And there’s no problem with that.

    3. Try buying a pair of glasses and you’ll hear all kinds of anti-glare and polarisation technology that they’ll try and rob you with… if Boots can solve the glare problem, I’m pretty sure some of the best automotive engineers in the world can nail visibility through a thin plastic screen…

  3. I still don’t see why this is necessary to implement. I could live with the fact that it’s ugly (imho) if I could see the use.

    Not being able to see the driver is both for the fans and the drivers a big step back, plus having a screen in front of you introduces new (visibility) risks where it might have helped one driver in the past decades: Massa.

    1. There have been quite a few near misses (Kimis car almost taking Alonsos head off etc) Do we wait until a fatality?

    2. Agreed. I can’t see this saving anyone from a major impact. Or a sideways contact. Also the risk if it breaks and shards come at the drivers head and neck.
      But I’m no engineer.

    3. @anunaki that is incorrect. The zylon strip on Chilton’s helmet in, I think 2014, was pierced by what is believed to be a rock. If those were not implemented after the Massa incident, Chilton likely would have faced the same fate, or worse.

  4. This would be a good weekend for the visor cam to return!

  5. Looks like a 1984 Lotus… will Haas make one that wobbles? (using the same machine tools as their fins)

    I’m not convinced that would stop a loose wheel from above, and debris could still find a way in round the sides. Better to cut out the source of the debris: remove the twiddly overtaking-prevention bits from the front wings.

  6. It doesn’t look bad really. But will it work without causing too much issues in visibility? Call me sceptical.

    Also, when they do this, they will have to work on how teams put their driver names/numbers on the car. I could recognize Hamilton from his helm on track and Bottas from not being Hamiton. But while the numbers on the Mercedes hare hard to read already trackside (as are the driver shorts on the FI and the Haas, McLaren is even worse), those on the STR cars are completely impossible to read from their colour and on the Williams they are not even visible. Renault was ok-ish, Sauber a tad less.
    The only ones that really did a good job with visibility of the numbers are Red Bull and Ferrari – those really stand out and are good to see.

    1. Tommy Scragend
      14th July 2017, 13:13

      Red Bull’s numbers on the shark fin are OK, but I’m not so sure about the ones on the nose. They’re too high up, and Ricciardo’s 3 is ridiculously wide so that until you get close up it’s not easy to distinguish it from Verstappen’s 33.

      The numbers on the nose should be mandated to be no further than X distance from the nose tip, that would solve the problem of teams putting them so high up that they basically only face the sky. I can understand the argument that it takes away sponsor space, but on some of the cars there is a big blank space on the nose that would be ideal for the number.

      As for the side of the car, I don’t see the point of letting them use the driver abbreviations. Should just be the numbers, which again should have a fixed position on the car. Where will they go next year if there are no shark fins? They used to be on the rear wing end plate, which would make sense.

    2. Well you aren’t saying it looks that good either. I think it looks dreadful, and the glare off of it! Can’t imagine what it would be like coming out of the tunnel in Monaco and into sunlight, the shadows from trees at Monza or the lights at Singapore?

  7. Is it just me that thinks it’s a little strange that it’s only Formula 1 actively trialling new head protection methods, and only F1 and Indycar that look like they will be implementing it?

    I haven’t heard anything about this becoming more widespread across other lower open-wheel formulas, for example F2 or Super Formula adopting F1’s aeroscreen system once it’s been sussed? How will that look to the general public, does it look like the top tier drivers’ lives are more valuable and deserve additional protection?

  8. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
    14th July 2017, 10:17

    I love it, with one caveat: it needs to be made completely non-reflective. When Vettel was driving into the sun it lit up like a lamp, which made it: (a) look really bulbous; (b) completely obscure the driver.

  9. It extends all the way till the raised cockpit sides. That will also affect the drivers’ view of the mirrors. From the shape, it looks like during rain, water may collect at the point where the shield joins the chassis, not good.
    Ability to see the driver from TV screens will also reduce significantly.
    Not sure I like it, I think halo was better than this.

  10. You can’t tell wich driver is from the front shot.. Is there a way to make it less reflective?
    Otherwise, it doesn’t look that bad.

  11. I’ve seen it said elsewhere that Vettel was reporting that he was suffering from some blurred vision looking through the shield & that he only did 1 lap when the original plan was 3 due to that.

    1. I think it looks better than the other solutions that have been tested, However i’m still not a fan of it & just really don’t like the way it looks.

    2. Could be true. I expect the glass to flutter/vibrate at high speed as it is supported on just one end and the sheer wind force will cause the screen to bend a bit towards the driver.

  12. The main issue is head on – I literally can’t see who or what is driving the car!

  13. don’t like it at all, just as ugly as the other solutions…. simply awful.

    and it was also really hard to see vettel’s helmet due to the reflections/glare which will make figuring out which driver your watching really difficult given how many go via helmet designs.

    1. Yup, that’ll be a huge issue. Can you imagine night races?

  14. When a driver gets out of the car in the pits, he removes the raised cockpit sides first. Does the shield get removed too, or is it part of the integral structure?
    The polycarbonate looks about 5 mm thick. Does anyone know what kind of load it will take?

    1. @nickwyatt Sky showed a shot of Vettel getting out & the shield was kept on, Looked a bit painful as he stepped over & straddled it if you know what i mean. Ted Kravitz said it seemed like he struggled a bit to get in a well.

      If it’s made mandatory it will be an integral part of the car so won’t be easily removable.

  15. I don’t like either the screen or the halo and I am still not convinced that either is required. F1 has always been an open wheeled/open cockpit formula with an element of danger, and that is how I think it should remain.
    I amall for improving the safety of the drivers but only up to a point, it would be interesting to know how many miles have been driven in F1 including practice and quali and how many incidents there have been of the driver being hit on the helmet by objects from outside the car.

    1. I do agree this, the halo and shield are designed to protect the driver from just 1 type of freak accident. Obviously we don’t want a repeat of the 6o’s and 70’s of a driver being killed every 3 races but you cannot protect the drives from every freak occurance out there. Hulkenberg has been the biggest advocate so far of saying he’s ok without a halo (not heard what hes said on the shield) but if they want to make F1 safe why not go the whole hog of making it closed cockpit and closed body work. If they want to keep it open wheel then “some” level of danger must be acceptable to those demanding shield.

      But having said that it does look nice.

  16. Polarising light patterns may be a problem as if the driver’s visor is polarised all the stress patterns in the screen will show.
    What did Vettel say though?

  17. Spud (@the-spuditron)
    14th July 2017, 11:20

    I think it looks quite cool, however if they do proceed with this option, they’ll have to make driver numbers and names more prominent on the cars as, depending on how the light falls, it is difficult to see who the driver actually is.

    Also, and I know these first pictures are only the first test, I would hope that it is more integrated with the car itself and isn’t made to just look like it is tacked on.

  18. I think it looks alright, at the end of the day we haven’t seen a drivers shoulders and arms for so long anyway, all we’ve seen the last 20 years is their head leaning from side to side, this is a natural evolution and one which will happen whether it is next year or 2020.

  19. In the night races such as Bahrain and Singapore, the reflection of the artificial light could make it difficult to work out which driver is running in the car. One has to rely on the car number for that.
    What was Vettel’s impression of the shield?

  20. How is this shield not greatly affecting the aerodynamics of the car? These cars were not designed to have this shield simply bolted on. This cannot, imho, do anything but completely change how the car feels and performs. Is enough air even getting into the airbox, let alone hitting the rear wing as the car was designed?

    1. @robbie Vettel just said on Sky that it was creating a lot of aero down-wash in the cockpit which was pushing his head forward on the straights.

      Also said quite bluntly that he didn’t like it & that visibility wasn’t very good. Said that they planned to run it more but he asked them to take it off.

  21. Mark Zastrow
    14th July 2017, 18:02

    The drivers are the ones putting their lives on the line, so I don’t think it matters what we think.

    Let the drivers vote. If a majority want it, they get it. They’re working and no worker should be forced to accept an occupational hazard they’re uncomfortable with. If a majority don’t want it, then let them take the risks they feel driven to take. That’s why we watch.

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