British Grand Prix – Haas drivers Romain Grosjean & Kevin Magnussen have both expressed their distaste for the new ‘Shield’ head protection prototype.
In the ongoing quest to improve head safety for F1 drivers and single seaters in general, Ferrari trialled a new ‘Shield’ device on their car during FP1 at Silverstone.
Speaking afterwards, Vettel said of the device: “The vision is not very good and I think it’s because of the curvature that creates a bit of distortion. We had a run plan but I didn’t like it too much. I couldn’t see much, but at the end it was fun to drive”.
This is the third device tried out by the FIA over the last 18 months. The ‘Halo’ concept was trialled throughout 2016, meeting with universal disapproval due to poor aesthetics. The ‘Aeroscreen’, tried out by Red Bull at Sochi in 2016, met with a slightly warmer reception. The ‘Shield’ doesn’t appear to be quite as divisive amongst the fans, but the drivers have already started making their displeasure known.
“I’ve made myself clear from the beginning on this – we don’t need anything for this.” groused Haas’ Romain Grosjean after Friday’s practice. “I’m against all of them, the Halo, the Shield, whatever, it’s just not Formula 1. The Shield is just as bad as Halo.”
Asked about whether the GPDA are still involved with trying to come with solutions for protecting the driver in what remains an open cockpit formula, Grosjean said the F1 drivers have stepped back from the problem:
“The GPDA have stopped discussing about this, because it’s a safety related item and we’re always pushing the safety. But we don’t want to go any more than this, because it’s not up to us to make this decision. The drivers are very divided on that opinion, so we’ve backed off on that subject. The test last year where I drove with the Halo, it made me sick! We’re up for better safety but it’s not up to us to come up with the solution.”
Teammate Kevin Magnussen was brief and to the point in voicing his opinion: “I hate it”.