Shield Protection Test Targeted for Monza

Helena Hicks
Helena Hicks
Helena Hicks
Contributor

McLaren Honda are hoping that the controversial shield cockpit protection is ready to test for the Italian Grand Prix. The shield is an alternative to the Halo, another device which has been discussed extensively in and out of the paddock.

Jolyon Palmer says the Renault team are torn between backing either the halo or shield device or even preferring no head protection at all, despite the negotiations for the cockpit protection having been ongoing for a significant time.

SOCHI, RUSSIA - APRIL 29: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer fitted with the aeroscreen on track during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on April 29, 2016 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA – APRIL 29: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer fitted with the aeroscreen on track during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on April 29, 2016 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

If all goes to plan, it is expected that the shield device will make an appearance for the 2018 season.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso believes some form of head protection will be supported so feels it is the job of the FIA and teams, rather than drivers, to achieve a solution.

“For us and all the drivers I guess and the GPDA, we will always confirm that we are happy to have extra head protection.

So it’s due to the FIA and to the teams to accomplish this. We don’t have much information about this new device. We only saw the drawings and things so we need to be sure it’s safe enough or is, in most of the cases, as good as the Halo.

It’s not up to us to choose the device that will go into the cars. What is for sure that we support extra head protection as maximum as this protection can be.”

– Fernando Alonso

SOCHI, RUSSIA - APRIL 28: FIA Race Director, Charlie Whiting inspects the Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer aeroscreen in the garage during previews ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on April 28, 2016 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA – APRIL 28: FIA Race Director, Charlie Whiting inspects the Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer aeroscreen in the garage during previews ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on April 28, 2016 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

The shield is still largely in its developing stages and hasn’t been tested extensively. Regardless, McLaren racing director Eric Boullier is hopeful there will be a device ready to test on the circuit by Monza in September.

“We just got the drawings a couple of days ago from the FIA. We are pushing for Monza at least to have something to test on the car so we will have something to test before Singapore. So we’ll try our best to be ready in Monza.”

– Eric Boullier

MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 02:  Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing sits in his car fitted with the halo during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 2, 2016 in Monza, Italy.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
MONZA, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 02: Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing sits in his car fitted with the halo during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 2, 2016 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

The shield concept looks to be less aesthetically obvious than the halo protection system that was tested rigorously last season and the FIA seem tireless in their objective to have a head protection device of some sort on the grid for the 2018 season onwards.