Bell Racing has launched a new visor panel in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the injuries suffered by Felipe Massa in his accident at the Hungaroring back in 2009.
The Brazilian suffered head injuries when he was struck by a bolt that had broken away from the Brawn GP car of Rubens Barrichello, with Massa lucky to be able to resume his racing career after being placed in a coma in the aftermath of the incident.
The FIA Institute looked into various ways of improving driver protection in the frontal area of the helmet with a series of tests being carried out before the results were approved by the World Motor Sport Council earlier this month.
On the back of that, Bell has launched the Visor Panel with immediate effect, with the new part being recommended for use by the FIA.
Bell's visor panels - complying with the FIA specifications - are made of a highly resistant aramid fibre, covered by an external skin of carbon fibre and processed with autoclave technology. The panel weight is approximately 66 grams and is attached to the helmet's visor with a specially developed adhesive.
The part was trialled in the Abu Dhabi test following the 2010 season by Robert Kubica, with Vitaly Petrov, Sebastien Buemi, Jarno Trulli, Sergio Perez and Jerome D'Ambrosio then testing the part successfully in Barcelona.
The visor panel is likely to become mandatory in the future.