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Monday, October 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sebastian Vettel tests new shield on car to protect Formula 1 drivers

UPDATED: Fri., July 14, 2017

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany steers his car during the the first practice at the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone racetrack, Silverstone, England, Friday, July 14, 2017. The British Formula One Grand Prix will be held on Sunday, July 16. (Frank Augstein / Associated Press)
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany steers his car during the the first practice at the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone racetrack, Silverstone, England, Friday, July 14, 2017. The British Formula One Grand Prix will be held on Sunday, July 16. (Frank Augstein / Associated Press)
By Rob Harris Associated Press

SILVERSTONE, England – Sebastian Vettel felt “dizzy” after driving behind a transparent screen in first practice for the British Grand Prix on Friday, as the Formula One championship leader trialed a new device intended to provide greater head protection.

The polycarbonate shield, placed on Vettel’s Ferrari for the first time, is designed to protect against flying debris while offering an unrestricted view.

“I tried it this morning, and I got a bit dizzy,” Vettel said. “The forward vision is not very good. We had a run planned with it, but I didn’t like it so we took it off.”

Motor sport’s governing body FIA is looking at ways to improve cockpit protection and limit the risk of head injuries, after French F1 driver Jules Bianchi died in July 2015 and British IndyCar driver Justin Wilson died a month later.

The FIA previously tried out a metal frame known as the “halo,” which is intended to stop loose wheels – or other flying debris – hitting a driver’s head, but it was criticized by some drivers on aesthetic grounds.

Brazilian driver Felipe Massa missed the second half of the 2009 season when driving for Ferrari. A loose spring from another car hit his helmet, leaving him needing surgery.

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