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Formula One to introduce new side impact system

Participants are seen prior to the hearing at the FIA headquarters in Paris June 20, 2013. REUTERS/Michel Euler/Pool
Participants are seen prior to the hearing at the FIA headquarters in Paris June 20, 2013. REUTERS/Michel Euler/Pool

LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One drivers will have greater protection next season from side impacts at oblique angles, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) said on Monday.

The Paris-based body said in its AUTO journal that a new side impact protection system was the result of a year-long collaboration between teams - McLaren, Mercedes, Marussia and Red Bull - and its own institute.

Research consultant Andy Mellor told the magazine they had gone "back to basics" in looking at the side impact structures, using Robert Kubica's huge 2007 crash in Montreal as the reference point.

Current systems use crushable tube structures attached to the side of the chassis but these can break off during oblique impacts.

The new version uses carbon fiber tube structures fitted to each side of the car which do not shatter on impact but progressively crush and decelerate the car in a controlled manner.

The FIA said the teams had agreed to introduce the system next season at a technical working group meeting in May.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Alison Wildey)

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