(Inautonews.com/GMM) Four F1 drivers are testing a new addition to their helmets designed to prevent injuries like Felipe Massa’s in Hungary two years ago.
Soon, the helmets used in formula one must carry the strip across the top of the visor made of a material called Zylon.
Zylon, similar to Kevlar, is used in bulletproof vests, Nasa’s Mars rover and in F1 it is used for the wheel tethers and cockpit lining.
Vitaly Petrov, Jarno Trulli, Sebastien Buemi and Pastor Maldonado (Bell) are all currently using the strip, but it will mandatory once suppliers Arai, Schuberth and Bell are all supplying it as standard.
“We’ve added about 70 grams to the visor, but we have doubled its impact performance,” said the FIA’s technical advisor Andy Mellor.
The Zylon strip, 50mm tall across the full width of the visor, is the answer. It overlaps the top 25mm of the visor itself and extends 25mm above the helmet shell edge – dimensions that ensure extra protection without further restricting driver vision.
The introduction of the strip marks only the first phase of planned enhancements to visor safety. The FIA Institute and helmet manufacturers are currently researching the use of high-performance optical materials – transparent ceramics – as the main visor medium.