Daniel Ricciardo has given a thumbs-up to the Red Bull-designed ‘aeroscreen’ cockpit protection device after giving it its first public trial in Russia on Friday.
Cockpit safety has been high on the FIA’s agenda following the deaths of Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi and IndyCar’s Justin Wilson in 2015 from head injuries sustained while racing.
There are two leading solutions to improving cockpit safety: the ‘Halo’, which made its public debut in F1 pre-season testing, and the ‘aeroscreen’ that broke cover on Friday.
Ricciardo completed an installation run with the aeroscreen attached to his car, leading to a mixed response from the paddock, but the Australian reported that visibility was still good in the cockpit.
“I think in terms of visibility it was pretty good,” Ricciardo said.
“The peripheral vision was fine. The structure is by the mirrors, so you’re not really hindered.
“It’s just a bit weird having a structure there. I had a Ferrari driving in front of me and the points on track seemed pretty much unaltered. For sure, it’s different, but the crux of it was pretty good.”
Ricciardo does not think that the height of the aeroscreen would change a driver’s view of the starting lights from the front row of the grid.
“I tried to have a look around and see. It seemed pretty high up,” Ricciardo said.
“If I was to stop on starting grid, I don’t think it would hinder vision.”
The aeroscreen and the Halo are both under consideration for possible implementation in 2017, with a decision set to be made in the near future regarding next season’s technical regulations.