The Halo or perhaps more comically known as ‘the flipflop’ has been written into the rules for next year as the de facto safety option for drivers in Formula One.
Chances are that if you’re not completely blind then the answer is likely a firm NO. In terms of aesthetics the Halo is not the prettiest option, as is often the case when a half way house solution to a problem that may or may not exist has been chosen.
Regardless, since the strategy group meeting made their decision to go with the Halo a storm on social media has erupted. Nine out of ten teams rejected the Halo solution, and global fan surveys report 75 to 80 percent of the fans also do not want Halo.
So why is Halo coming? Had not the Strategy group rejected it almost exactly one year ago on the 28th July 2016?
Well not quite, the results of their findings were given in this statement at the time:
“The Strategic Group has unanimously decided that 2018 a cockpit protection will be introduced. Given the tight timeframe, it is considered advisable to use the rest of the year and the start of the coming season for further trials. This includes numerous further experiments during free practice.”
“While Halo is currently the preferred head protection solution is the strategy group considers more development time lead to a more complete version. (Aero-screen of Red Bull or Ferraris Shield solution).”
Critically, here was the important part of the statement:
“The Halo remains a strong option for 2018.”
Jean Todt and the FIA have forced their will over the remaining strategy group using the good old fashioned grounds for safety as their bulldozer. The grounds of safety since the terrible accident in 2014 resulting in the death of Jules Bianchi have been foremost in Todt’s thoughts of late. A constant reminder, with a law suit likely pursued by Jules’ family who indicated late last year that they were going after the FIA in the courts.
The group itself is made up of representatives from six racing teams; Ferrari, Red Bull Racing, Mercedes, McLaren-Honda, Williams and Force India. Then there’s the FIA itself represented by Jean Todt plus Formula One Group represented by Bernie Ecclestone. Each of these three parties has six votes. The other teams were allowed to have representatives at the meeting of Wednesday, July 19, but had no right to vote. However, they were invited to participate in the discussion.
Ideas from the Strategic Group are passed on to the Formula 1 commission after a majority decision. The Formula 1 Commission has only the option to call or reject a proposal. If a proposal is swept through, it goes to the FIA World Council. It is rare at this stage that a decision stops.
It looks like the Halo is here to stay.