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Successful debut for High Speed Barrier 13 Sep 2006

David Coulthard (GBR) Red Bull Racing RB2.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, 10 September 2006

The FIA has praised the new High Speed Barrier after it was used for the first time in a Formula One race at last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza. The sport’s governing body says it will now be discussing the feasibility of similar installations at other tracks.

The High Speed Barrier, developed by the FIA Institute and the FIA, was installed at the end of the run-off areas at Monza’s second chicane and Parabolica turn. The system was especially designed for use at corners with high-speed approaches and limited run-off areas.

Over six years in research and development, the special barrier is capable of absorbing the energy of a 200 km/h impact whilst keeping the g-forces experienced by the driver to tolerable levels. The FIA Institute developed the unique system, following a programme of testing in collaboration with German automotive safety group DEKRA.

The new barrier involves three separate layers, the first of which is made up of plastic blocks filled with polyethylene foam, a material which is known for its high energy absorption properties and vertical steel plates to resist penetration. The blocks, created by French company TecPro International, are plastic containers measuring 1.5m long, 1m high and 0.6m deep. Each end is formed into a half circle, enabling them to connect with each other like a giant puzzle.

A 1.2m gap then separates the TecPro elements from the second part of the barrier system, a four or six row tyre barrier where each stack of tyres is fitted with a 30cm diameter tube made from high density polyetheylene. The final part of the barrier system consists of a guardrail or specially designed concrete wall. The whole barrier system is just four metres deep.