Williams technical chief Pat Symonds has revealed that Formula 1 is now evaluating a different second version of the Halo cockpit protection system.
Ahead of crunch meetings due to take place in Monaco that should map out F1's plans for the safety devices, it had been thought that the decision would be between the original Halo tested by Ferrari or the Aeroscreen that Red Bull is now developing.
But speaking at the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday, Symonds said that an alternative had now appeared – with the issue due to be discussed between teams on the rest day in Monaco.
“There is going to be a TRM [Technical Regulations Meeting] in Monaco on Friday and Charlie [Whiting, F1 race director] assures us that we are going to know pretty well where we are by then,” said Symonds
“There is a second Halo device now that is a bit different to the one that Ferrari ran here in the [pre-season] test. So we will see what Monaco brings.”
It is unclear how the new Halo version differs from the original, but it could be that the device is removeable to allow easier access and exit for drivers.
The FIA has set a July 1 deadline to make a final decision on what, if any, system will be in place for 2017.
It is also likely that Red Bull will test the Aeroscreen in Monaco for further visibility checks to see how much it limits driver vision on a tight track with gradients.
Speaking about how teams were preparing their 2017 designs without knowing what will be around the cockpit, Symonds admitted the situation was quite difficult.
“I think we have got an idea of what the effects are – and they are quite dramatic,” he said. “There are some things particularly like on centreline cooling that you simply won't be able to do any more because of the effect.”