The F1 Strategy Group and the F1 Commission held a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland yesterday, passing a number of new changes that will drastically change the racing series starting in 2017. : Driver head protection, wider tires, and significantly larger front and rear wings.
The F1 Commission confirmed the intention of introducing some form of cockpit protection from the 2017 season. All stakeholders are working together to make this a reality, with the "Halo" concept currently the preferred option. Other options, such as transparent cockpit protection, will continue to be evaluated
The "Halo" concept , shown above, would superimpose a skeleton structure around the driver's helmet, meant to deflect debris. Last month, the Grand Prix Drivers' Association demanded head protection and better tires by 2017 at the latest, and it looks like FIA is cooperating.
Cockpit head protection became a forefront topic after two much-loved open-wheel racers died of head injuries sustained during competition. In October 2014, Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi collided with a recovery vehicle during the Japanese Grand Prix, suffering a severe head injury that eventually led to his death in July of 2015. And just a month after Bianchi's death, IndyCar driver Justin Wilson was struck on the head by crash debris at Pocono Raceway, and passed away the next day.
Other bodywork changes are focused on increasing downforce to lower lap times and "create more exciting cars." For 2017, car track width will increase by 200mm to 2000mm; front wings will grow by 150mm to 1800mm; and rear wings will become 250mm wider to 950mm, but sitting 150mm lower at 800mm high. Overall body width increases by 200mm to 1600mm, while max weight grows by 20kg to 722kg. Read the full side-by-side .
This brings the 2017 aero specs nearly in line with , when rear wings were 1000mm wide and 800mm high.
Tires will grow in 2017, too: Front tires, currently 245mm wide, will go to 305mm, while rear tires will grow from 325mm wide to a honking 405mm. "The FIA, teams and official tire supplier will continue discussions on the best solution for testing of the new tires required as part of the regulations," . The FIA says it continues to work with engine suppliers and customer teams to refine cost, performance, and noise complaints regarding power units.
So, there you have it: Faster, stickier, safer F1 cars in 2017. We can't wait to see how it all shakes out.