FIA force Halo solution against teams wishes

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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.

10 responses to “FIA force Halo solution against teams wishes

  1. The halo is being introduced for three reasons – neither of which has anything to do with making F1 safer:

    1. It potentially pre-empts any lawsuits against the FIA and Liberty Media
    2. It potentially pre-empts any lawsuits against the FIA and Liberty Media
    3. It potentially pre-empts any lawsuits against the FIA and Liberty Media

    • A Halo would not have saved Bianchi, nor will it definitively protect against a Massa type injury.

      • This is so true. Massa’s accident was freak and it’s unknown if the halo would have deflected the spring or not, and even if so, would it have deflected it enough to avoid hitting Massa’s helmet? As for Bianchi, the VSC should eliminate any of those type of ‘racing under safety car’ incidents.

        The halo maybe would stop a wheel intrusion but we have double tethers already on the wheels. To me, it looks like the halo will make getting a driver out of the car even more difficult. Also, does it not strike anyone as odd that this ‘head protection’ could snap off under high impact and go straight into the driver’s helmet.

        • I’ve read the halo itself is made of steel (If someone knows different let me know.) which has the possibility of deforming in an accident and potentially trapping the driver in the car. Imagine if there was then a fire. I can see the real possibility of a driver having to have the halo cut apart to get out of the car in the event of an accident.

        •“it’s unknown if the halo would have deflected the spring or not, and even if so, would it have deflected it enough to avoid hitting Massa’s helmet?”
          Yes, it might have deflected the spring away from his helmet. But in which direction? In such a freak accident as that, a Halo may well have deflected the spring DOWNWARDS into the cockpit. Now, instead of it hitting Massa’s very well protected head (and we all saw what happened even with all that protection), it could have been directed down into his chest area which is protected only by a racing suit (good for fire, but that’s about it).

      • I read one article, not sure if it was AMuS, which stated Ferrari’s vote was largely symbolic, done out of respect for Massa and Bianchi.

    • If the Biachi’s lawsuit (if it happens) could put the FIA out of business it might be a goiod thing! A more appropriate governing body based of the trditional values of motor sport would get my vote.

  2. “As for Bianchi, the VSC should eliminate any of those type of ‘racing under safety car’ incidents”

    I would totally disagree, and those in charge will regret relying on the VSC as the answer …drivers will try to steal every micro second they can and still do under the VSC and on a wet dark track when you’re moving at over a 100mph in what is known as one of the most difficult corners on the entire calendar, a large piece of plant with exposed tractor wheels and a foot of ground clearance is not something any driver should be hitting. It should never have been on the track at that time…

    A simple rule for introducing better protection would have been to have demanded the teams increase frontal and side deflection material along the entire aperture of the cockpit up to a height of ‘X’ millimetres. And that the designated protection be able to withstand tests that met the force of the Spring (Massa) incident and the Winglet (Wilson) incident. And the height could have been kept low enough at first to prevent impaired vision.

    This could have been introduced for 2017 with no problem, and the regs could have been strengthened over the coming years as the teams adopted to the ruling and designed the cars better around the canopies. It really is that simple but now we have the flip flop,..

    • The simple solution under the VSC is to have a something similar to a pit-lane speed limiter. Once the VSC is deployed the driver pushes a button which sets a pre-determined speed. No one can gain an advantage.

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