Red Bull Racing has started testing its proposed race car cockpit protection system known as the Aeroscreen.
The Formula One team’s star driver Daniel Ricciardo hopped behind the wheel of a car fitted with the Aeroscreen and successfully completed some laps of the Sochi Autodrom prior to this weekend’s 2016 Formula One Russian Grand Prix.
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The Aeroscreen is one of a handful of solutions organizers are considering to improve the safety of F1 and could be introduced as early as next season. Another leading option is the Halo system proposed by Mercedes AMG and recently tested by Ferrari [NYSE:RACE].
2016 Ferrari Formula One car equipped with Halo cockpit protection
The advantage of the Aeroscreen over the Halo is the unimpeded view drivers have. The Halo has a central pillar in front of the driver, but because of its proximity to the driver’s face there is little effect on visibility. The disadvantage of the Aeroscreen is the chance rain, oil or mud might impede a driver’s view.
In the videos showing tests the Aeroscreen endured, we see a wheel and tire combo weighing some 44 pounds projected at the screen at approximately 140 mph. The high-speed impact wrecked the wheel but left the screen intact. The second test is a 2.2-lb projectile fired at the screen at similar speeds.