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Formula 1 teams will use a new carbon fiber tube side impact system beginning in 2014. The new system is safer in impacts at oblique angles than the current side impact protection. The tubes crush progressively and can absorb 40kJ of energy even in glancing blows.
The FIA and F1 teams tested two solutions for safer side impacts - carbon fiber tubes and a crushable aluminum sandwich. They voted to use the tubular system for 2014, as studies showed to it was safer.
The previous system worked especially well if hit straight on but at an angle was not as effective. The new system provides more protection.
"There were three teams that ultimately submitted impact devices that were subjected to a physical test and ours was deemed to be the best of the bunch so we pursued that device further," said Red Bull head of car engineering Paul Monaghan.
Teams can incorporate the tubes however they wish, and the FIA will conduct static tests on each car prior to the start of the season. The static test means that a crash test will not be necessary and save teams money.