F1 “on course” for Halo in 2017 says FIA, team radio policing methods also outlined
Sebastian Vettel Halo
Posted By: Alex Kalinauckas  |  18 Mar 2016   |  1:31 pm GMT  |  146 comments

Formula 1 is set to introduce the Halo cockpit protection device for the 2017 season, according to the FIA’s race director Charlie Whiting.

Ferrari tested the Halo structure during the second pre-season test earlier this month and its appearance provoked a fierce debate among drivers, teams and fans of the sport alike.

But during a media briefing at this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, Whiting explained that the results of the Global Institute’s research into cockpit protection devices showed the FIA that the Halo structure could be implement for 2017.

Halo F1 cockpit protection

He said: “We’ve extensively tested the so-called Halo. It will offer very good protection from a flying wheel, for example. That’s the main way in which it has been tested so far.

“We need to look at other related things like extrication, to talk to medical crews about it, but I think it’s going quite well.

“We are on a course for the Halo because that has been tested thoroughly, and we feel it offers the best all-round protection.”

Sebastian Vettel

Whiting explained that a technical working group has been formed to complete a thorough risk assessment of the Halo structure but added that the device was unlikely to be delayed if an alternative were proposed without adequate testing on new ideas.

He said: “We do have a thorough risk assessment to do on a number of different accident scenarios because we want to ensure we don’t make things worse in certain circumstances.

“But I don’t think we will delay it if we felt there was a better one coming.”

It is understood that the Halo structure would to add over 20kg to the weight of F1 cars for next year.

Halo F1 cockpit protection

Doubts over Red Bull screen

Red Bull recently put forward its own idea for a cockpit protection device that featured two side pillars and a screen in front of the driver.

But Whiting dismissed any thoughts of using the team’s device over the Halo in 2017, as it has not been tested.

He said: “As for Red Bull’s [device], it is considerably further behind in development. It’s never been tested.

“Although it could offer additional protection, I’ve my doubts it could be implemented for 2017, whereas I think the Halo could.”

XPB.cc Kimi Raikkonen

Halo not optional

Lewis Hamilton, one of the most outspoken critics of the Halo structure, recently suggested that if the devices were optional he would be choose not to use one.

But Whiting explained that that approach was not being considered by the FIA: “We didn’t make the HANS optional, we don’t make crash helmets optional, so I suspect that [not being optional] will be the case with the Halo.”

Charlie Whiting

Restricted radio rule policing explained

Whiting also took the time to explain how the FIA is planning to police the new-for-2016 team radio restrictions that have been increased to enforce Article 27.1 of the F1’s sporting regulations, which states “the driver must drive the car alone and unaided.”

To make sure the restrictions are being adhered too by the teams, the governing body will monitor all radio traffic in real time from race control and Whiting described how the use of the airwaves in F1 had dropped since the new rules came into force for the season’s opening practice sessions.

He said: “We are listening to it in real time. So we have got four people in race control listening to three drivers each. And then we have got four or five software engineers listening to two or three each.

“It is relatively straightforward, and quite honestly they are not saying that much.”

XPB.cc Charlie Whiting

Whiting also addressed concerns that teams may use code words or clever questions to pass on information to their drivers but he explained that such instances would be examined on a case-by-case basis.

He said: “We will hear every single message, I am absolutely sure of that. With coded messages, we have to be a little bit careful about that.

“We could, for example, if we have some suspicion that a message is rather odd, we could then look at the data from the car to see if the driver did anything in response to that message.

“Then maybe, at the next race, if we hear the same message and notice the same switch change, then we will build up a little knowledge.”

The FIA will also be filming the drivers’ pitboards throughout race weekends to make sure the teams do not attempt to pass on visual messages using coloured letters or numbers.

F1 pitboard

When asked what information the teams are now allowed to put on the pit boards, Whiting said: “They are allowed to give the same messages that they are allowed to pass on the radio, and no more.

“There has been some suggestion that by putting the lap count for example in red, it means something, if it is yellow it is means one thing, if it is white it means another. Those sorts of things.

“We have a camera looking at all the pit boards so if we see something unusual then we might have to ask why.

“I think they will do their very best to try to get as much information as they can to the drivers, but I just hope that they continue to do it in a legal way.”

F1 pitboards

What do you make of the FIA’s plans to introduce the Halo structure in F1 for 2017? And will the radio clampdown add excitement to the Australian Grand Prix? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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I’m a bit late to this party but I will comment regardless. Has the FIA or anyone thought of the hazards involved with of having a “Halo” or any device blocking the cockpit in the event of exiting the car in an emergency or after a crash? Take Fernando’s horrific cash in Australia the other week when his car came to a stop virtually upside down and against the barrier, he managed to escape the car on his own with no help and walk away (all be it with a cracked rib), but what if a “halo” was used at the time? The result of being upside down, against the barrier with a device restricting the already limited space to exit would have meant Fernando wouldn’t have been able to exit the vehicle without help and would have to had to rely on the marshals who had taken some time to arrive at the scene. What if the fuel had ignited and the car became engulfed in a high octane petrol and magnesium fueled inferno or Fernando was critically injured? The last thing anyone wants to see is a driver burning to death or beading out due to an obstruction that has been placed in the way of a drivers only emergency exit. Also using Fernando’s crash as an example, if he was unconscious at the scene or critically injured in the position the car was in, I could see this “halo” or any device would have made it extremely difficult for the medics to gain access to the patient. I can see this halo system or any system that encloses or even partially encloses the cockpit causing more safety concerns than it is meant to relieve.


Good morning, I was just wondering if this halo thing would’ve stopped Alonso from getting out his car in Oz


Yes, yes it would have stopped Fernando from clambering out of his car on his own. He would have had to have waited for the marshals to move the car into a position that allowed them to remove the more than likely damaged “halo” and get him out. If Fernando was injured (luckily nothing more than crack rib) the moving of the car could have injured him further before the medics could attend to him.


The emergence of an intact Fernando Alonso from his wrecked McLaren demonstrates the safety that current F1 cars provide for their drivers in the event of an incident. In an incident like that, the proposed halo would offer no additional benefit and would almost certainly impede the escape of a driver from an upturned car. This halo atrocity should be withdrawn even quicker than the awful elimination qualifying!


As for the Halo, the way I see it is that if the powers that be consider it nessesary to create some sort of safety device for the cockpit, then do it properly so it works 100 percent. The halo will probobly reduce injury from a wheel/tyre assy but will it stop the suspension/steering arms and other associated stuf sometimes connected to the wheel from doing harm? And what about the smaller stuf? The halo might deflect smaller parts up, down and/or sideways and perhaps hurt the driver more seriously! I’d look at ways of using a clear cannopy or safty cell similar to what they use in Hydroplanes, then you can be confident of covering “all the bases” so-to-speak.


Seems to me that things are just getting way toooo complicated! My gut feeling is that whatever they do with all their rules and regulations and red tape, the same teams will still be getting the same results! I reckon just let em go and race but penalise Hamilton for pushing Nico of the track.


Get rid of Charlie Whiting altogether & replace current management, they are all ruining the sport. Simple way to fix F1, bring back ground effects, limit front & rear wing size, bring back V10 or V12’s for the awesome sound, male tires that are durable & last the whole race, no fuel flow limit. I want to see the fastest drivers handle difficult to drive over 1000bhp cars with little to no wings to make overtaking possible & sound immense, I think a lot of people & drivers would agree, so why can the governing body not get anything right at all!!


Agree with most of this!


I cant stop to be amazed at the idiotics thats going on in F1!
Whats wrong with the Redbull’s alternative?


“Not invented here”.


Having just seen the authentic red bull rendering of their solution i can now say that it is streets ahead of the ‘thong’. If it is effective then it should be given the go ahead in preference to the other device which does not flow or integrate with the design protocol in place.

Tornillo Amarillo

Red Bull’s solution seems better & stylish.


If the cars werent so complex I would have no problem with a radio ban because they be like other formula… But this is F1.. Why have 24 buttons/ dials on the steering wheel, 20 engineers in the garage and the pitwalls twiddling their thumbs (slight exag). I had no issue with last years radio ban – but this is not one but 2 steps too far with this formula.
Any devise which aids safety is welcome but I think the Halo is a stop gap measure for something better. I mean honestly when are these jokers going to do something right. Why the * would you extensively test wheels AND NOTHING else. For info Im pretty sure Kimis wheel coming off at Silverstone 2014 was the last one as someone above got right!. It will be more likely the suspension attached to the wheel that will do the damage – that wont be stopped by halo.
My vision of F1 is a car that weighs max 700kg (not 750 with halo in 2017), with a sliding clear canopy & internal head support driver may not even need a helmet. Car should be smaller like 2005 (not bigger) with slightly bigger wheels (not the massive ones planned). Better aero and more power and immediately the car is 3-4sec faster, bring back traction control and slight ground effect and the cars will be faster again- better looking and far more nimble and can race each other wheel to wheel.

Fulveo Ballabeo


Fulveo “on course” to stop watching F1 in 2017 says Ballabeo.


Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! I was really hoping they wouldn’t go through with this. This really is the final straw as far as I’m concerned. Lucky there are so many other racing categories that I enjoy.


I’m strongly against the Halo, it looks horrible and an it makes it difficult to see the drivers helmet depending on the angle.
Why are they trying so hard to prevent a wheel hitting a driver? something that never happens !


Just our of curiosity have the FIA advertised for driver radio monitoring officers or pit board filming crews or do they just happen to have enough general dogsbodies to perform these tasks at all the races. They do seem tp have gone someway towards becoming part of the nanny state. As for Charlie he seems to be morphing into ‘Bernie Lite’.


They have people there for other functions, who are tasked with monitoring three teams each during the action.


i suspect whiting has been instructed to implement the halo and that is what he is doing. they have to selected a group of protective devices to test all to find the best one for the job.
they can call it a political safety device.


My idea to solve the radio issue. Give all teams the *same* channel (like we do at airports for planes departing and arriving) and let the teams try to squeeze their messages in between everyone else’s radio calls. That way Ferrari will know what Mercedes is telling their drivers (and vice-versa), and the fans will have fun listening to the drivers messing with each other over the radio. “Hey Lewis, I’m catching yoooooou! Over”


This is just typical of today’s authorities. We have nanny states all around us, F1 is no exception. There is a reason F1 is considered the pinnacle, the risks involved are tremendous. Reducing these risks reduces the spectacle. So what happens when this “halo” breaks into two after a massive wall impact and pierces the drivers helmet?
On the upside, if they were around when Webber was driving he would have been able to hitch a ride without looking like he’s about to fall off.


without seeing the rule in its entirety, it is difficult to know if they are still allowed to advise the driver when they need to switch to a different setting for the on board computer. it still amazes me that the powers that be, who are worried about the product they put out there on race weekends, look at pit to driver communication as this big of an issue. with the uproar of races being boring, having occasional sound bites coming from the driver is all the excitement you may get for a number of laps. sad as that sounds it is pretty much what F1 has come down to. do not get me wrong, i live in the US and will be up at 2 AM to watch qualifying and midnight, 22 hours later to watch the pre race show then the race. so i still love F1, but it is no way close to what it was. maybe it was many little things that made it fun to watch, the sound, the battles on the track, the pit stops and so on. the true fans out there will understand exactly what i am talking about. hope they figure it out soon otherwise sleeping may seem like more fun than watching the race. when that time comes …


Dammit, I just set off my own sarcasm detector…


Thongs ain’t what they used to be……


If FIA is going to implement the halo, then they appear to be, from descriptions I’ve seen so far, falling short. Will it be part of the rollover structure? That’s typically how it’s done in Sprint cars:



HALO is just a first step towards better cockpit protection. I m hoping over the next few years engineers will come up with better designs.


might just as well put fenders on them…how about doors? what else can you do to make them look more like NASCAR?
As for the people who say it’s all about keeping the drivers from getting killed, why don’t we just outlaw any “sport” where someone can get killed? auto racing, motorcycle racing, boat racing, mountain climbing, snow skiing, surfing, boxing, the list goes on and on!


Don’t wisper that sentiment too loud, it might become popular.

Last year after Justin Wilson lost his life, there were cries for Indycar to be shut down. There were articles in news papers claiming that this type of dangerous activity had no place in modern society, yada yada yada.

If the goal is to make life “as safe as possible”, people shouldn’t be getting out of bed in the morning.


Much as I don’t like the look of the flip flop top it’s no worse than some of the hideous looking cars from 2007/8 with all those awful winglets etc.
We’ll get used to it.
Once someone gets trapped upside down after a Webber style air show it’ll get scrapped anyway.


I’ll never, ever get used to it. For some reason I can’t get used to ugly. I still find myself closing my eyes every time I see a shot of an F1 car from the back. What on earth were they thinking with those ridiculously high and narrow rear wings?


I reject the Halo because as I see it, it will not prevent small objects and the biggest risk, which is wheels, should not come off. Improve the ties if that is seen as the problem.
Poor Jules died in freak circumstances, primarily because he was going too fast under waved yellows (just as all the other drivers had been doing for years) but the Halo would not have helped. The only other major F1 injury I can recall in recent years is the object that came off Rubin’s Brawn and hit Felipe Massa. The Halo could well not have prevented that. It might even have deflected it closer to Felipe’s eyes. I doubt whether this Halo would have helped Ayrton either. The Halo will only therefore be good at resisting large object, mostly loose wheels and could well deflect smaller objects down into the face of the driver rather than away out of arms way.
A jet fighter type cover would obviously work for tyres and small objects alike. However if it deforms because of impact and gets stuck it could well prevent the driver getting out as quickly.
Really I think both solutions, in roll over or fire accidents, could be a death trap.
F1 cars are defined as open cockpit and open wheel racing cars. So leave the cars as they are and if we have to increase safety of the drivers head, concentrate on making head protection (helmets) stronger still. It is surely the way to go.


The halo would have to for speedy extrication of a stricken driver. This means that it must be detachable, a fact that creates the frightening possibility of a halo detaching itself in a race crash and hurling all its 20kg like a missile either down the track or into the stands.



No Quade, it’s a safety device that has been extensively testing by the FIA, so nothing can possibly go wrong.


In 2018, they’ll introduce halo tethers, like they have wheel tethers. That should solve the problem of it getting into the stands. It might cause the halo to hit the driver in the head repeatedly, but at least not break free of the car.

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