After Scott Dixon completed the first test of IndyCar's planned cockpit protection system, it didn't take long for the US series' windscreen to be used as a tool to beat Formula 1's unpopular halo. But beneath the mud-slinging and point-scoring, IndyCar has defined a clear path to balance safety and aesthetics by going down the route the FIA shunned.
F1's flirtation with its own windscreen, the shield, ended with Sebastian Vettel ending the test prematurely after feeling sick due to distortion, opening the safety push to yet more criticism. IndyCar, however, has quietly worked behind the scenes on its own method with PPG Aerospace, developer of the cutting-edge canopies on military aircraft such as the Chinook and Apache.
Crucially IndyCar does not have the FIA as an immediate overseer of its cockpit protection approach, but at face value, it has reaped the benefits of avoiding the limelight and scorn that F1 has attracted. Having done extensive simulator testing at Dallara's Indianapolis base with Harding Racing's Gabby Chaves, it has refined the windscreen and committed to a developed prototype.