A new helmet that boasts advanced safety features, such as ballistic protection and increased energy absorption, has been revealed during the recent FIA Sport Conference 2018. The new headgear will be mandatory in the 2019 season of Formula 1 (F1) and other race series’ onwards.
The new helmet will feature a visor opening that has been lowered by 10 mm to incorporate advance ballistic protection. This will help it achieve unprecedented levels of safety during impact from debris. Just watch the video below and see how important this is for top-tier motorsports, especially single-seater series like F1.
It will also have extended areas of protection on the helmet’s sides, offering compatibility with single-seater and closed car seat-side head protection systems. This will make sure that energy management is exactly where the headrests are positioned.
The standard new helmet is made with advanced composite materials that’s assured to be tough and resistance to crushing and penetration.
It’s safe to expect that brands such as Stilo, Bell Racing, Schuberth and Arai will produce their own helmets under this standard soon. After all, they were all involved in the research and development of this new product.
The current top-end helmets are already the safest in the world 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 and this is why we are requiring all manufacturers to meet this tougher standard for our championships.
Laurent Mekies FIA Safety Director
Under the new FIA 8860-2018 standards, all new helmets produced must withstand the tests listed below:
Standard impact: Helmet impact at 9.5 m/s. Peak deceleration on ‘driver’s head’ shall not exceed 275G.
Low velocity impact: Helmet impact at 6m/s. Peak deceleration shall not exceed 200G with a maximum average of 180g.
Low lateral impact: Helmet impact at 8.5m/s. Peak deceleration shall not exceed 275G.
Advanced Ballistic Protection: A 225g metal projectile fired at 250 km/h. The peak deceleration shall not exceed 275G.
Crush: A 10kg weight falling 5.1 metres onto helmet. Lateral and longitudinal tests. The transmitted force should not exceed 10 kN.
Shell penetration: A 4kg impactor dropped onto helmet at 7.7 m/s.
Visor penetration: Air rifle fires 1.2g pellet at visor. Pellet must not penetrate the interior of the helmet.
Visor coating: Transmitter test to ensure colouration and vision is not significantly changed or distorted.
Retention system: Roll-off test and dynamic test to ensure strength of chin strap and its attachments.
Chin guard linear impact: Impact test with full headform at 5.5 m/s. The peak deceleration shall not exceed 275G.
Chin guard crush: Hammer hits chin guard and measures ability to keep impact away from the head.
FHR mechanical strength: Test to ensure high strength of attachment points for Frontal Head Restraints.
Projection and surface friction: Test to ensure helmet surface uniformity and that friction is minimised. Shell surface also subjected to BARCOL hardness test for resistance to penetration.
Flammability: Helmet exposed to 790 C° flame; it must self-extinguish once flame is removed.
All these tests ensure that the driver’s head is provided with the best safety gear, preventing injury and even death in motorsport. Hopefully, its technology will trickle down to the everyday helmet used by riders on the roads today.