The innovation would be to prevent the kind of incidents that, in 2009, seriously injured Felipe Massa, and killed the young F2 racer Henry Surtees.
The FIA tested the roll-hoop at an airfield in Suffolk, England; firing a formula one wheel at 225kph at a F1 helmet that sat behind the titanium roll-hoop, which was designed and supplied by the Lotus team.
F1's governing body has previously tested jet fighter-style canopies and windshields, and now the forward roll-hoop, theoretically to be fitted on the front edge of the cockpit opening.
"The roll-hoop basically did a very good job," said the FIA Institute’s technical advisor Andy Mellor.
"It was able to keep a wheel away from a driver's head."
One potential problem, however, is the impact of the roll-hoop on driver visibility, with a report at F1's official website admitting the structure "might dangerously impede sightlines".
Another problem is that a forward mounted roll-hoop would not be pretty.
"But a radical aesthetic change," read the media report, "would be a price well worth paying to save drivers' lives and achieve a game-changing safety breakthrough."
Mellor insisted: "We're not at all looking at final solutions as such. The work is absolutely exploratory and we are beginning to understand the mechanisms in order to protect a driver's head in this kind of impact."
The results of the tests will be put before F1's technical directors.
04/26/12 The FIA have started testing a "Roll-Hoop" for cockpit protection on the Formula 1 racing cars. This was supplied by the F1 Lotus Team. The Roll-Hoop might be fitted to the front of the car to form an impact-deflecting barrier, very much like a roll cage. The test results will then go to the Formula 1 Technical Working Group as part of its research into safety for single seater racing cars.