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Russian GP: Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo tests 'aeroscreen' protection device

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Ricciardo said he was a firm believer in the need for a device like the 'aeroscreen'.

Daniel Ricciardo
Ricciardo during the practice session

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo tested a new Formula One head protection device on his car at the Russian Grand Prix on Friday with opinions divided on the aesthetics if not the effectiveness.

The Australian lapped the Sochi circuit with the 'aeroscreen' fitted to the cockpit before pitting to continue regular practice without it.

"The first impression seems OK," Ricciardo had told reporters before driving with it on track for the first time. "It doesn't really block any more vision than what we do have already."

The reaction on social media was generally positive, with even champions Mercedes commenting on their Twitter feed that "it doesn't look half bad".

Also read: Russian GP: Nico Rosberg leads Lewis Hamilton in first practice

Mercedes' triple world champion Lewis Hamilton was not a fan, however.

"If they're going to do this, (then) close the cockpit like a fighter jet. That screen...looks like a shield that the police use, a riot shield," he had told reporters when shown a picture of the device.

"You've got this cool, elegant, futuristic F1 car, and you've got a crappy riot shield sitting on top of it."

"It is a good thing to see that the FIA do take safety seriously, it is a constant thing that always need to be worked on, as long as it doesn't affect hopefully the aesthetics and style and coolness of F1," added the Briton.

Hamilton added that danger was part of Formula One's appeal and that drivers knew the risks that they were taking and were willing to do so.

Improving head protection has become a priority in Formula One, however, after the deaths last year of Briton Justin Wilson, who suffered head injuries from debris in an IndyCar crash, and Frenchman Jules Bianchi.

Also read: Russian GP: Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat confident of strong show at home

Ferrari tested another 'halo' version of the device, without a screen, in pre-season testing in Spain in March.

This weekend also marks the anniversary of the death of Brazilian triple champion Ayrton Senna at Italy's Imola racetrack on 1 May 1994.

The front wheel of the Williams bounced back in that impact with the wall, with the Brazilian's helmet penetrated by a suspension arm.

Ricciardo said he was a firm believer in the need for a device like the 'aeroscreen'.

"If it saves even one life over the next 20 years then you're going to take it," he said.


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