Ultra-protective helmet to be mandatory in F1 from 2019

The FIA's prototype of the new FIA 8860-2018 helmet standard

A new ultra-protective helmet standard is to be introduced in all major championships overseen by the FIA.

The new specification will make its bow in Formula 1 in 2019, where it will be mandatory for all drivers.

The new helmet is the result of a decade of research. The FIA collaborated with helmet manufactuerers Stilo, Bell Racing, Schuberth and Arai over how to improve driver protection from head injuries in the event of a crash.

“The current top-end helmets are already the safest in the world," explained FIA safety director Laurent Mekies. "But the new standard will take them to the next level.

"It is important for all of our safety research that we continually strive to improve," he added. "This is why we are requiring all manufacturers to meet this tougher standard for our championships.”

The manufacturers will now develop production versions of the helmets for drivers to use next season.

"The area of testing will be expanded compared to what we currently enjoy," commented Stephane Cohen, chairman of Bell Racing Helmets.

"The overall protection of those helmets could be considered better and as usual the FIA will be at the forefront of helmet protection technology. This will be the most advanced standard in the world without any possible discussion.”

The FIA 8860-2018 lowers the top of visor opening by 10mm to incorporate advanced ballistic protection. That will better protect the driver in the event that they are hit by flying debris.

The sides of the helmet will offer better compatibility with headrests used in single-seater cars, as well as closed car seat-side head protection systems.

In addition, the materials used to manufacturer the helmet will offer improved resistance to to crushing and penetration

The new standard also stipulates toughened test procedures to simulate different accidents at variable speeds, and a range of weights to account for different mass headforms.

The new helmets come a year after the Halo cockpit protection system was made mandatory on all cars in F1 and Formula 2.

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