Gary Anderson's verdict on Formula 1's shield after first run

The shield ran for the first time at Silverstone during Formula 1's first free practice session, giving technical expert GARY ANDERSON the chance to take a close look at it

Gary Anderson's verdict on Formula 1's shield after first run

I have to say I wasn't very impressed when I saw the first photograph yesterday as it looked like something my five-year-old grandson drew at school but once the protective film was off and it was on the moving car it didn't look aesthetically too bad.

With any of the designs we've seen - the shield, the halo, the aeroscreen - it's never going to be a catch-all solution. What would worry me most is the smaller objects you can get flying around, such as the damper spring that hit Felipe Massa at the Hungaroring in 2009, and the shield is a good step in the right direction to do that.

If a front wing assembly or a wheel assembly comes flying at you, there's a far greater chance the shield will deal with it. But it's a mistake to think that any such design can make it completely impossible to sustain any damage to the head, and if you have a 740kg car flying at it, nothing is going to stand up to that.

That said, this will do a very good job with small objects and much better than the halo, which Charlie Whiting last year said would stop 17% of such things. There's always some trajectory you can find to get round it, but it will be far more difficult with the shield.

Some ask if the opening at the top is a risk to objects from above, but remember these cars and objects will be moving so it would be a very very narrow window to get through. So it's not the same as dropping an object from above on a parked car.

This is the right path to go down, and if we think of this as step one it gives F1 something to work on and refine.

While it didn't look bad, I'd like to see the button pressed to reduce it to around 80% size. Currently, it goes out to the edge of the headrests, but all you need to do is to give the driver enough of an opening to get out and clear the steering wheel as demanded by the rules.

The curvature is also a concern. To achieve that shape, you will be looking through variations in thickness, and that means there is a danger of visual distortion. Effectively, you will see things different going through Eau Rouge going up hill compared to on a normal piece of track.

It might well be necessary to flatten out the design a little to prevent that, even if it does make it more boxy and less attractive.

Vettel only did one lap with it, so it remains to be seen what he made of it. The key now is that the further research is done to understand how to evolve the shield through steps two, three, four to get the best possible design.

The shield won't offer complete protection, and it certainly wouldn't make any difference to an accident like the one Jules Bianchi suffered at Suzuka in 2014, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

shares
comments
Has Silverstone exposed Ferrari's development race fears?

Previous article

Has Silverstone exposed Ferrari's development race fears?

Next article

Mike Gascoyne back to Formula 1 to redesign F1 two-seater

Mike Gascoyne back to Formula 1 to redesign F1 two-seater
Load comments
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021