Formula 1 got an idea of what its future cars may look like during opening practice for the British Grand Prix on Friday as Sebastian Vettel gave the ‘Shield’ cockpit protection device its public debut.
F1’s bosses have been pushing to introduce some kind of cockpit protection in a bid to prevent head injuries caused by debris following the deaths of Jules Bianchi and Justin Wilson in 2015.
Two options – the ‘Halo’ and the ‘Aeroscreen’ – were trialled through 2016 with a view to introducing one of them for this year, but neither proved to be a suitable-enough solution for the sport.
The Shield has been under discussion for a number of months, with the FIA confirming last weekend in Austria that it would enjoy its first public test in FP1 at Silverstone, kicking off a long-term development program.
Vettel headed out to complete three laps using the Shield at the start of FP1, the system attached to his Ferrari SF70H car.
McLaren is almost back on schedule with its 2018 Formula 1 car development after losing two weeks due to a delay in deciding on its engine supplier, according to racing director Eric Boullier.
McLaren confirmed back in September it would be cutting ties with Honda at the end of the year after three difficult seasons, favoring a switch to Renault power units.
The decision was not taken lightly by McLaren, causing it to lose two weeks in the development of next year’s car, but Boullier confirmed in an interview with the official F1 website that the team is almost back on-track.
“Maybe we made the decision to change the engine manufacturer two weeks too late for our schedule, but these two weeks have almost been recovered,” Boullier said.
“Any big decisions are always difficult to take. The concept of McLaren winning with Honda was a dream for everybody, yes – it was a beautiful story.
“Today we have huge respect for them and we definitely don’t divorce with fights and screams and finger pointing. We are all very professional – and in the end it was a business decision, which they understand.
“There is a sadness that it didn’t work out like we wanted. McLaren-Honda in terms of brands was a good fit – in terms of results it didn’t work.
“That’s what it is in the end. Now we have to see that we get back to competitiveness – back to the top!”