FIA to push for closed cockpit introduction in 2017
It looks almost certain that Formula 1 will introduce a 'cockpit' of sorts in 2017, with the FIA's Charlie Whiting set to advise team bosses to back the proposal at a meeting on Friday.
Various concepts have been tested by the FIA's Institute for Motor Sport Safety, including completely enclosed cockpits similar to those used by fighter jets and a proposal put forward by Mercedes dubbed 'The Halo' (pictured). Whilst both performed well in deflection tests, the Halo is currently the preferred design as not only is it lighter, but it is far cheaper - a crucial factor as it's expected lower series will also adopt it within the new few years.
Support for increased head protection has grown with a number of high-profile incidents, including that of Justin Wilson (IndyCar), Dan Wheldon (IndyCar) and most recently Jules Bianchi (Formula 1), all of which suffered fatal head injuries.
Alex Wurz, GPDA chairman, recently revealed that the majority of drivers support the introduction of cockpits and he too would be rallying the teams to back the FIA's findings.
"The research the FIA experts have done is very thorough and the process has brought forward a clear solution," Wurz told the BBC.. "Now the drivers feel it's time to implement the extra protection at the latest in 2017.
"Obviously structural changes are required to the chassis but, with almost a one-year lead time, I don't see any technical person speaking against such substantial safety improvements, especially given the last big accidents in open-wheel racing involved head injuries."
The idea remains at concept stage and there are some concerns over visibility, particularly when a driver needs to look up - for example at Eau Rouge or Turn 1 at the Circuit of the Americas - but if unanimous support is given during Friday's meeting, the FIA will either work on a final version, or task teams with designing their own under strict restrictions.