By Nesha Starcevic
AP Sports Writer
HOCKENHEIM, Germany — Frontal cockpit protection will not be introduced for Formula One cars before the 2018 season, to allow for more testing, the governing body of world motor sports said Thursday.
The F1 Strategy Group that includes Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone, six leading teams and FIA President Jean Todt agreed on the move after a meeting in Geneva. Drivers, who spoke strongly in favor of the “Halo” system, were hoping it would come into force next season.
The FIA said that because there was relatively little time until the next season, “it would be prudent” to use the remainder of this year and early next year to further evaluate the” full potential of all options before final confirmation.”
This will include multiple tests of the Halo system in practice sessions this season and the first part of the 2017 season.
While the system is currently the preferred option, the Strategy Group thought that another year of development could result in an “even more complete solution.” The FIA said Halo remains a “strong option” for introduction in 2018.
While drivers generally don’t like the look of the system, which puts a see-through capsule around their cockpits, they appreciate the improved safety. It would prevent flying objects from hitting their heads and would provide added protection when cars overturn or when they land on each other.
Speaking before the outcome of the vote was known, four-time champion Sebastian Vettel said, “I think 90-95 percent of the drivers voted for it. We don’t like the looks of it, but I don’t think there’s anything that really justifies death.
“We’ve always learned from what happened, incidents that happened on the track, and we’ve always tried to improve,” the Ferrari driver said. “Now, that would be the first time I think in human history that we’ve learned a lesson and we don’t change. It’s up to us to make sure it does happen, otherwise I think we’d be quite stupid.”
Vettel is one of the three directors of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association.