Daniel Ricciardo says F1 drivers will welcome introduction of head protection

18 February 2016 12:23

Daniel Ricciardo says Formula One drivers will welcome the introduction of head protection in 2017.

The FIA, the sport's governing body, wants all of the teams to run with an unprecedented "Halo" design on their cars following a number of high-profile incidents in recent years.

The Halo - a concept first trialled by Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes team - is designed to shield drivers from flying debris. British driver Justin Wilson was killed in September after being struck on the crash helmet by a nose cone from another car during a race in the IndyCar Series.

"There's been quite a bit of dialogue in the GPDA (Grand Prix Drivers' Association) with a lot of emails going back and forth in the last month or so," said Ricciardo. "Our head is the only really vulnerable thing at the moment.

"It's not taking away anything from the driver in terms of courage or anything like that, it's a simple little benefit that we can all gain from and no one wants to see another fatality, so if we can minimise the risk then why not?

"I honestly don't think anyone is against it. Sure, some people probably didn't have an opinion, but most people spoke up about it and said 'it's what we want'."

The FIA have explored a number of designs aimed at protecting drivers from flying debris after Brazilian Felipe Massa was struck by a spring from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn during qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Henry Surtees, the son of 1964 world champion John Surtees, was killed in the same summer after he was hit on the crash helmet by an errant tyre while competing in Formula Two at Brands Hatch.

Meanwhile, Jules Bianchi succumbed to the devastating injuries he sustained at the Japanese Grand Prix in July, although it is not believed improved head protection would have saved the Frenchman.

The Halo device is the FIA's preferred option and would be attached to the car on each side of the rear of the cockpit, with a single strut in front of the driver.

Ricciardo added: "With Jules and then Justin it just seems like a bit of tradition for what in the end?" I think we'll do it and F1 has seen a lot of changes over the years.

"In 2009 the cars looked pretty ugly at first, but everyone got used to it and now they look normal. If this is just a little Halo, within a race or two people will think it looks normal."

Ricciardo's Red Bull team are also poised to put forward a rival concept to the Halo which team principal Christian Horner explained is more like a fighter-jet style canopy.

Speaking at the launch of Red Bull's new livery in London on Wednesday, Horner said: "Red Bull is making another submission for a canopy that we believe will be a safer option.

"It's more of a canopy than a Halo, but it needs to be tested, which hopefully can be done very quickly."

Source: PA