FIA under pressure to ditch the ‘halo’


Since the introduction of the new V6 turbo power units and the negative response from the sport’s CEO – who called the product ‘crap’, F1 appears to have been brimming with new ideas.

Standish starts following a safety car were proposed by Charlie Whiting, then failed to materialise. In fact the opposite has occurred as F1 race control moves towards rolling starts becoming the norm behind the safety car when the circuit is wet.

The FIA rammed through a new qualifying format this year, against the advice of all the teams and were then forced to abandon it as it proved to be farcical.

It seems that the current radio ban will also have to be amended in some way, now that the FIA are being accused of behaving in a negligent fashion.

Now the new cockpit safety device – the halo – which Whiting and the FIA would like to introduce for 2017 is coming under increased fire.

At a meeting on the Wednesday prior to the British GP, the FIA made a presentation to the teams to persuade them of the value of the halo. The response was at best apathetic.

Christian Horner said, “I’m not a big fan, because it has its limits.” The Red Bull team boss believes the halo is an ‘inelegant solution’ and more time should be invested in cockpit head protection research and development.

Ferrari have chosen to speak through their driver, Sebastian Vettel, who claims he is unhappy with the lines of sight.

Bernie Ecclestone is also known not to be a fan and at the British GP Claire Williams also expressed doubts about the halo being introduced for 2017.

So given the numbers on the F1 strategy group, Ecclestone 6 votes, plus Horner, Williams and Mercedes who are also known to be anti-halo – the FIA will fail to get this measure approved.  Unless of course they ram it through on a safety mandate.

7 responses to “FIA under pressure to ditch the ‘halo’

  1. imposing this on the teams for 2017 on safety grounds would seem bizarre, there still seem to be too many questions unanswered as to the effectiveness of this ‘solution’. “Act in haste, repent at leisure” would seem to be the FIA mantra.
    say Halo, wave goodbye!

    • I agree… hopefully the FiA doesn’t use safety grounds to impose this oddity.

      End game: I believe we’re facing a properly-integrated full-cover canopy. Open cockpit days are numbered.

      Halo is ridiculous, in my opinion.

  2. Why not just reinforce or strengthen the front of the driver’s helmets and require that the visor be able to stop a .45 caliber bullet? This HALO thing just looks stupid.

    • I think they’re more afraid of things with a certain weight coming in contact with the driver at a certain speed. Like tractors, armco barriers, tyres, piano’s…

    • A flying tyre straight to a driver’s head isn’t doing damage because it’s somehow penetrating the shell of the helmet. There are things that the helmet just can’t protect from, unless your idea of a helmet is perhaps something with another outer shell, big enough that you might as well attach it to the car itself and just call it a canopy.

      For smaller debris like with what happened with Massa nearly a decade ago improvements to the helmet could certainly help, but as far as I know helmet design has indeed been improved in the years since. That said, while that event was unlikely enough to begin with, the odds of it flying on just the right trajectory that a halo structure would protect from it seems even more unlikely.

      The teams are right to be wary of the halo and the FIA’s mad push to get it in. Ignoring the hideousness of it, while it may help in some situations, it’ll be ineffective in others, and it may even hinder in some cases. But as usual, the FIA seem to be trying to rush it in without thinking it through properly. To force it through on safety grounds would be laughable, considering the full scope of the FIAs consideration seems to be, “Well we fired a tyre at one while it was securely bolted down to a solid metal base, and that went ok.” Great… how often do we really see loose wheels flying around in F1? What about the much smaller objects that quite commonly come off cars and can be moving with quite a bit of force? What about the driver being able to get out in the required however many seconds, or the ease of extracting a driver who is unable to do so on their own? Or simply, is there a better solution that could even be employed in time for 2017, without the need of a dodgy halo interim solution?

  3. So let me get this straight. The halo is required, specified and tested to stop a loose wheel hitting the driver. What is won’t do is protect the driver from smaller components like nuts, bolts, mirrors, springs, struts or the like which have fallen or been knocked off another car. Yet of these two sources of danger, which do the teams work hard to prevent happening, and which can they not really hope to avoid…?

  4. I like the halo idea more than the canopy. However, what seems most dangerous to me, yet still not prevented by it, are the things like flying drain cover or its parts – something like Button hit in Monaco this year (luckily collecting it only with lower parts of the car)… heavy things with zero speed, but small enough to fit within the “halo window”.

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