Vettel cut short Shield test after he “got dizzy”

2017 British Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel was unimpressed with several aspects of the shield head protection which he tested today at Silverstone.

The Ferrari driver is the first person to run with the new device which is intended to improve safety.

British GP practice in pictures
“I tried it this morning, I got a bit dizzy,” said Vettel. “Forward vision is not very good.”

“I think it’s because of the curvature, you get quite a bit of distortion. Plus you get quite a bit of downwash down the straight pushing the helmet forward.”

Vettel revealed the team cut short their planned evaluation of the shield. “We had a run plan with it but I didn’t like it so we took it off.”

However Vettel believes the shield shouldn’t make it too difficult for drivers to get out of a car quickly after a crash.

“For sure it doesn’t help,” he said. “Getting in doesn’t matter. I think getting out it’s more about getting used to it, it’s not the main thing.”

“It’s probably more about getting used to it,” he added.

The FIA plans to conduct further tests of shield at the Italian Grand Prix in September to evaluate whether it could be introduced to Formula One in 2018. However several drivers have raised questions over whether the additional layer of protected is needed.

Last year all the teams tested the Halo design before it was dropped by the FIA in favour of the shield. The FIA has said it will introduce some new form of head protection next year.

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    Vettel testing the shield

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    Keith Collantine
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    53 comments on “Vettel cut short Shield test after he “got dizzy””

    1. I think it looks quite good on the cars, much, much better than the halo’s, but I was never sure if it would work, partly because of things like Vettel described due to the shape of it. Perhaps a flatter screen may be a better option? So rather than curving round on the sides, it goes straight up almost like a right angled triangle compared to the chassis, and then a bar going down to each of the front corners of the cockpit, so then there’s no curvature and therefore no distorted vision?

      1. Looks like a fish bowl for tards. Get it off and keep open wheel racing just that. Open. Indy cars look like they have dippers on the boats. Ugliest things I have ever seen. Yet, the cars still get airborne. Stooges in the rules. Get them out and simplefie the racing structure.

        A box the car has to fit into.
        A weight
        HP max.

        Let the innovation begin. Ground effects would never have been developed under the hamstrung rules of today!

      2. machinesteve
        15th July 2017, 9:46

        How come it works perfectly fine for fighter pilots, glider pilots and powerboat racers then?

    2. Okay…this a serious issue. Rather than making the driver safe, it made a top driver, dizzy which is not cool at all.

    3. Hm, having his head pulled forward … I think maybe the screen should have openings somewhere in the lower part so that air flows under it then to prevent that – it might also help agains the screen fogging up.

      But that does not solve the serious distortion it causes for visibility. Clearly still a work in progress and not ready for introduction quite yet.

      1. There won’t be enough Air flowing under it to help that.

      2. If the openings are big enough it should resolve all of those problems, @bascb.

        I’m thinking openings the size of the shield itself.

      3. I’d guess they could change the shape or the edges of the shield to adjust the airflow. Maybe do something like add wicker on the edges of the shield. The thing is though the teams probably don’t want to do this as any kind of holes or shapes add drag. So fia needs to mandate those shapes. I don’t think the downdraft is a difficult issue to solve.

        The dizzyness and the curvature of the shield looks like a huge problem imho.

    4. what ever happened to these blades idea? 3 thin ridges infront of the drivers cockpit. Wouldn’t affect vision as much and could deflect a tyre.

      1. Makes complete sense to me. Especially if the front fins were at a shallower angle to make them fit in a little better. My only guess is distance perception, seen as it partially obscure one eye and not the other, but otherwise it seems like a perfectly good option (albeit would not stop small debris, as with Massa)

      2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        14th July 2017, 16:45

        thanks @sato113 I’ve been looking for that drawing!

    5. I am surprised this made it all the way to an F1 car, when it has such a pronounced distortion capable of affecting a driver. A simple static test of the device (e.g. against a checkered background) should have been enough to call out the distortion once this bit of kit was manufactured, and it should have never left the shop floor.

    6. Maybe doing F1 Live was a bit too much for Vettel, he should have taken a couple of days to relax/prepare for the race weekend …..

      … :)

    7. Tony Mansell
      14th July 2017, 15:37

      Hmm maybe he was testing it in Baku also?

      For me its totally utter overkill for a problem that f1 does not have. Of course I don’t drive f1 cars at 220mph so its easy for me but when was the last time we had a rogue wheel come off and endanger a driver in f1? Surely the answer is to keep developing the excellent tethers, not solve a problem after its happened??

      1. Not a wheel but Felipe Massa?

        And of course while not F1 there’s Surtees.

        1. Also Wilson, but not a wheel. Similar size, though.

          1. Senna and a connecting link.
            Its racing, its fast and dangerous. Its a solution for a problem that rarely exists.

            1. It’s a problem that always exists and should be dealt with. Complacency will only result in more deaths, while actually trying to fix it has a chance of reducing deaths. I’m not saying this is the perfect solution (I don’t think it is), but it’s all part of the process of finding a good workable solution. We were running with the halo last year and now we’ve realised there’s a potentially better solution, and I think that process will continue until the best possible solution gets found. This is just a prototype to test the concept and to continue the refinement of designs and ideas. This is not anything like what the end product will be like, but it is still an important step in the process of developing the solution.

            2. Because F1 didn’t really need much of a reaction after Senna. Not at all. After all, Imola 1994 was the first such case since….they held the Belgian GP at Zolder moons before

              Right? Yeah?

    8. Ok, say they figure a way to clear the vision and the aero effect on the driver’s head. What happens when the lead car’s engine lets go and spews oil and smoke and covers the shields of the drivers following? How is that going to be addressed?

      1. This’ll be fun in the rain.

        1. You both hit the nail on the head. It will not stop any sizable object anyway – like a wheel, airborne car, or crane…:0(
          I shouldn’t have said that…

    9. I wouldn’t trust Vettel on anything he says on these kind of matters. From what I’ve seen of his character during the last 10 years, I’d say he is much more likely to say things which further his agenda, instead of the things which are his true thoughts and impressions. On matters like these especially.

      I bet you that if this was mandatory, and you put all the new drivers in the cars, without prior knowledge of whether this existed on old cars or not, everyone would just take it for granted and work out how to best drive with it.

      1. I wouldn’t trust Humans on anything he says on these kind of matters. From what I’ve seen of our character during the last thousands of years, I’d say we’re much more likely to say things which further an individual’s agenda, instead of the things which are true thoughts and impressions. On matters like these especially. This is especially well-explained by statements like “Homo Homini Lupus est”.

      2. Why do you say that?

        Why would he be appointed director of GPDA if he was perceived to be working to “further his agenda” and not on behalf of his peers?

        I’ve read reports that say he can command younger drivers in issues of safety behind closed doors; out of the last champions, I’d say he is on par with Button in terms of eliciting respect from other drivers.

        1. Lol, you should read what Verstappen had to say about Vettel and the way he conducts himself on track.

      3. The Dolphins
        14th July 2017, 20:13

        I’m with you. I wouldn’t trust Vettel as far as I could throw him.
        It’s a shame he didn’t use the dizziness excuse when he drove into the side of Hamilton.

    10. petebaldwin (@)
      14th July 2017, 16:33

      Ah… good old f1 logic.

      Someone gets hurt and “WE NEED MORE HEAD PROTECTION NOW! Anyone mentioning the negatives doesn’t care about safety and wants people to die for their entertainment.”

      A bit of time passes and we go back to “hmmm not sure. Lots of the drivers are against extra head protection. Maybe we don’t need it.”

      Then someone will get hurt and we’ll be back to “BRING IT IN NOW! RIGHT NOW!!!”

      Then more time will pass and we’ll say “but does F1 really need extra head protection?”

    11. If F1 need more head protection it would be a good option.
      A closed cockpit has to be: (like a jet fighter)
      1. “self-cleaning” from rain, dirt, vapor etc in order to visibility (or use windshield wiper)
      2. as strong as possible (at least bulletproof)
      3. easily removable from inside and outside in case of accidents or pit stops: brake, dent
      4. light
      like this:
      or this Red Bull X prototype:

      1. The driver will bake to death inside that. So let’s add 50kg+ for a cooling system. Then and more weight for wiper motors, etc. Then when an accident happens because of poor visibility or a freak projectile hits the driver anyway, what then? More knee jerk stupidity to placate the sheep. Racing involves metal and speed. Both are dangerous. There will always be freak accidents no matter what you do. The real answer is to remove the drivers from the cars ans that way they will be 100% safe*

        * a driver might get electrocuted from spilling his drink on the remote control so let’s ban drinks too. A bolt of lightning might strike the car, best move all racing indoors where it’s safer. The stupidity goes on….

        1. Michael Brown (@)
          14th July 2017, 18:35

          Who cares? The FIA is trying to outweigh LMP1 cars.

    12. I thought exactly of the distortion being a problem this morning after seeing this picture:
      In particular, look at the gray wall in the background.

      1. @mike-dee now Vettel will have a legit reason to bump into drivers with that kind of distortion lol
        In all seriousness though, I hadn’t seen this pic and it’s amazing how much distortion there is. Hard enough to drive with this but how on earth can you have wheel to wheel racing with it?? The FIA need to accept that this will not be ready for a 2018 introduction.

    13. A touch of irony …. one of the main sponsors for Ferrari and clearly displayed (but distorted) through the Screen is the name … Ray-Ban.
      A top notch maker of solar protection optics (sun glasses).
      An aspect that the screen doesn’t handle well is distortion of the view to the sides. Something that is critical to depth perception and balance. Take that away and getting dizzy is pretty predictable.

    14. Wasn’t Vettel banned from safety campaigns? :p
      On a serious note, the distortion is real, particularly at their speeds. I know this because is the same when I tuck my head under the motorcycle shield. Of course my shield is not of that quality, but anyway. They can address it I guess.

      1. Get the drivers to wear corrective spectacles: Problem solved.

        1. You can’t correct for that kind of distortion with specs.

    15. Can someone technically sound please explain how downwash causes helmet to go forward? How exactly does the air flow after it exits the shield area, what pressure, that causes a lift?

      1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        14th July 2017, 18:09

        My best guess would be that there’s a low pressure area forming in de gap between the upper rim of the shield and the helmet. High-speed air flows over that gap, which sucks away air from it, creating low pressure. Hence, the helmet pulls forward.

        But I’m not an aerodynamicist at all. Not even close.

      2. The area directly behind the shield is going be lower pressure than normal, however I wouldn’t be surprised if it just feels like your head is being pulled forward given that there is no longer as much air hitting it at 200mph and pushing it back.

    16. The last dead in motorsport that i remember was Justin Wilson’s death in indy in 2015 when a nose cone of another car hit him from above in the top of the helmet, this shield would not have prevented that dead at all. Also make drivers dizzy

      1. Wilson drove at almost full speed at the time of his accident, and drove into the nosecone falling down. Hence it hit him more from the front than from above. I think a shield would have saved him or at least lessened the impact significantly.

    17. The distortion problem was solved in LMP1 canopies, though it was not easy in every car design. It’s not technically impossible to manage this.

      1. @dmw LMP cars have wider cockpits & due to the design of the cars the curvature on the screens isn’t enough to create much (If any) distortion.

        With F1 cockpits been much narrower & with no additional support around the screen the curvature is more extreme & I gather the material used is slightly thicker or needs to be a different material to whats used on an LMP car.

        The Aeroscreen that Red Bull tested last year didn’t have this issue with distortion (At least I don’t recall those that tested it mentioning it) as while the curvature was similar they used a different material that was slightly thinner & given support by a carbon surround . However this solution wasn’t viable in the end as it wasn’t able to stand upto the test’s the FIA put it through.

    18. Would it not be better with flat panels of glass, one for the front and two side panels (think X-Wing from Star Wars cockpit). Reduced all the distortion from the curvature and the angular look could be pretty cool.

    19. Alex McFarlane
      14th July 2017, 20:38

      I’m not against safety innovations but I get the feeling that you can never really mitigate all the risks to a driver’s head in an open cockpit car.

    20. One of the F1 commentators said during practice that Moto GP isn’t going to introduce roll cages, therefore why is F1 trying to leave the open cockpit formula, have to say I agree.

    21. Good enough occasion to question the relevance of open wheels and open cockpits altogether. This format was established under the idea, now obviously silly, that it was better to save the weight of fenders and a roof than to incur the aerodynamic drag of taking them off. And it persists based on nothing more than nostalgia. Recall that in the America’s Cup, catamarans were once banned or at least considered a grave corruption of the sport. They moved on. F1 can move on too.

    22. I gather that they have yet to look into what happens with these things in the rain. Wipers wouldn’t be viable due to the curvature & lack of anywhere to fit a proper wiper system. Something like RainX would work to a degree but it’s not perfect & I have heard of cases where it’s been applied but not worked as it should.

      There is additional concern about other debris such as oil & tyre marble marks. Yes there’s tear off’s but they are only useful if you need to make a pit stop. If you get covered in oil or some other debris there is a chance that your going to be forced to pit just to rip a tear-off off the screen & there is some concern that having races potentially ruined in that way will turn people off given how it would be a problem they are creating.

    23. During which session was he testing this? If it was an official practice session like FP1 or FP2 then he has the motivation to get this windscreen off his car as quickly as possible so that the team can get back to gathering data on the real car that they will use in quali and race, instead of gathering data on a car that has a windscreen on it.

    24. Further to that, and I of course defer to experts on this, I cannot believe this screen wouldn’t drastically change the aero of the car. We’ve already heard from SV after one lap that his head was being pushed forward. You can’t tell me at the same time the normal amount of air was getting in to the airbox let alone around it to hit the rear wing etc.

      I think if SV had been able to put more laps in he would have found himself with an overheating car that has it’s rear tires behaving differently, changing grip and wear etc etc.

      It would be different if the teams had this screen or whatever device on their cars when they were designing them with the new for 2017 regs in place, but I doubt even more than ever that they can just bolt on something to a car
      that wasn’t designed from the ground up for said device. These cars are just too finely tuned aero wise. There’s a reason they spend thousands of hours and millions of dollars in the wind tunnels, and it is not so they can then go and bolt something on around the cockpit after the fact and expect nothing else to change beyond the drivers experience of looking through it.

    25. Mclaren is already working on a wiper free windscreens based on Fighter Jet Technology. Although McLaren did not reveal to much details, the Fighter Jet Technoloy they are refereing to is likely “a high – frequency electronic system that pumps sound waves through the windscreen, effectively creating a vibrating ultrasonic force field that deflects warter, mud and even bugs”. “One ultrasonics professor said he thinks this means attaching “an ultrasonic transducer in the corner of the windsrceen”
      Futuristic maybe but perhaps McLaren will become F1’s first official “Shield Supplier”.

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