Official testing for the 2016 Formula One World Championship is still underway in Barcelona, Spain, and today Ferrari [NYSE:RACE] decided to shake things up a little by trialing a new cockpit protection system dubbed the Halo. Pictured above is Kimi Räikkönen in Ferrari’s 2016-spec car, the SF16-H, fitted with the system.

The Halo is one of the solutions organizers are considering to improve the safety of F1 and could be introduced as early as next season.  It consists of a tubular carbon structure mounted over the cockpit that can protect the driver from any potential debris that might be flung his way. Just such an accident caused the death of Indycar driver Justin Wilson last year.

The Halo system was originally developed by Mercedes AMG. Because of the proximity of the central strut to the driver, it should have little effect on visibility. A less popular solution also being looked at is a jet fighter-style canopy.

Testing for the new season of F1 has been going smoothly for most teams. Ferrari suffered from some reliability issues earlier on but those issues seem to be sorted, with Räikkönen setting the fastest time today. America’s Haas suffered some issues with its Ferrari-sourced powertrain, with its driver Esteban Gutierrez missing out on some crucial testing this week. Fortunately Haas’ other driver Romain Grosjean was out on the track today, though he posted the second slowest time.

There’s now just a few weeks to go until the first race of the season in Melbourne, Australia on March 20.


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