F1 cockpit protection must be affordable for junior series - Whiting

Formula 1 must lead the way in introducing a better cockpit protection system if the technology is going to become affordable enough for junior categories, says race director Charlie Whiting.

F1 cockpit protection must be affordable for junior series - Whiting
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB12 with the aeroscreen
Charlie Whiting, FIA Delegate
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF16-H running the halo cockpit cover
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB12 with the aeroscreen
Charlie Whiting, FIA Delegate with Jenson Button, McLaren
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF16-H running the Halo cockpit cover

The FIA is currently evaluating the Halo and Aeroscreen designs for a potential introduction in 2017, if teams are also happy that either of the concepts are ready.

Although the use of such a device would only be in F1 initially, Whiting has faith that there would be a rapid trickling down of the design to other categories that would help make more series safer.

When asked by Motorsport.com about the potential for the improved cockpit safety concept to be used in other categories, Whiting said: "I wouldn't like to say. It would depend how it could be done in a way which wouldn't be [expensive].

"I know costs shouldn't really come into it, but with safety devices you have to be realistic. There must be a way of doing this thing in a sensible way.

"Trickling down to GP2, GP3, and Formula 3, it's inevitable. Just like when the current crash helmets were introduced, it was for Formula 1 drivers only.

"Then little by little, these very expensive helmets became cheaper and cheaper. It cascades down. It was the same with the wheel tethers. The same has happened with those.

"Where there is the opportunity to make large numbers of them, it can be done in a more sensible way. The cascading down into other formulae I think would be inevitable."

Spectacle safe

Whiting is also adamant that any move to improve driver head protection will not rob F1 of its spectacle, even if some fans are unhappy about the looks.

"You only have to have an accident to see that it is dangerous," he said. "There is nothing better than to see a driver get out of an incredibly damaged car like we saw with Fernando [Alonso in Australia].

"Everyone expects it, it is something which you expect. When you saw [Robert] Kubica's accident in Canada a few years ago, somehow you just thought he was going to get out of it. We want to improve the chances of that happening, while the spectacle is still there."

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