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F1 cockpit protection system delayed until 2018

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Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton crosses the finish line to win the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit in Mogyorod near Budapest, Hungary, on July 24, 2016. REUTERS/ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/Pool
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton crosses the finish line to win the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit in Mogyorod near Budapest, Hungary, on July 24, 2016. REUTERS/ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/Pool

By Abhishek Takle

HOCKENHEIM, Germany (Reuters) - Formula One has decided to delay the introduction of a cockpit-protection device by one year to 2018 following a meeting on Thursday between the sport’s major players, a statement from the governing FIA said.

The sport’s strategy group - comprising six top teams, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and commercial rights holder Formula One Management - met in Geneva on Thursday to vote on the introduction of the concept for 2017.

“The Strategy Group agreed unanimously that the 2018 season will see the introduction of frontal cockpit protection for Formula One cars in order to significantly enhance the safety of drivers,” the statement said.

Formula One had been considering the introduction of a ‘halo’ cockpit protection concept in 2017, trialled by Ferrari and Red Bull in testing and practice sessions this season, in a bid to better protect drivers’ heads.

But its adoption for next year had run into opposition, with Red Bull and Force India against it, on the grounds that it was inelegant and being introduced in haste.

Thursday’s FIA statement said the delay had been agreed given the short amount of time left until the start of the 2017 season.

It said the sport would use the additional time now available to develop the full potential of the concept, including conducting multiple on track tests in practice sessions this year and next before confirming its adoption.

The statement said that while the ‘halo’ remained the preferred option, another concept could be adopted if the year of development proved it offered a more complete solution.

(Editing by Ken Ferris)


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