Insight: Halo is ready – but is the safety device right for F1?
Posted By: Alex Kalinauckas  |  13 Jan 2017   |  6:30 pm GMT  |  154 comments

FIA safety director Laurent Mekies says the controversial halo cockpit protection device is now ready and it is up to Formula 1’s stakeholders to decide if the device is right for the championship.

The halo structure was extensively tested at F1 events throughout the 2016 season and was originally slated to be included in the 2017 regulations before the F1 Strategy Group voted to postpone its introduction by a year.

There is an intense debate about F1, an open-cockpit series, introducing such a large structure that would further enclose the driver, but the FIA’s research has shown that it significantly reduces the risk of a driver getting hurt.

Sebastian Vettel

Many people feel it is not aesthetically pleasing and puts the drivers even further away from spectators, while others feel the safety benefits outweigh any problems with image. After the device’s introduction was delayed by a year, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel said that he didn’t “think there’s anything really that justifies death.”

Mekies, who is also the general manager for research at the Global Institute for Motor Sport Safety and is the deputy race director for F1, confirmed that the scientific research into the benefits and potential risks of halo had been completed. He explained that it was now up to the various parties at the top level of the championship to decide if it will be formally adopted for 2018 or if another, better looking solution, was preferred.

Speaking at the Motorsport Safety Fund’s Watkins Lecture at the Autosport International Show, which was attended by JA on F1, Mekies said: “The engineering work is done, somebody needs to decide if its right for F1 or not, if it is compatible with the DNA [of the sport].

Laurent Mekies

“Its net safety benefit is established. After that we accept that F1 is not a closed car [so] is it right for F1? It’s for somebody [else] to answer your questions, which is very much the stakeholders that have to look at these aspects because if the sport is about [entertainment and aesthetics], then why move it away from that? That is what these guys are discussing quite intensely right now.

“So as far as the engineering and safety side of things, we have done all of the work with the medical [teams], the extrication [process]. So now there is I think more philosophical discussions happening between the stakeholders of the sport – the drivers, the FIA, the teams – to understand is that right for F1 and single seaters or do we need something slightly different?”

When asked about the current status of the halo device, Mekies explained that the FIA had received feedback from all of the drivers and teams that tried the structure last season and confirmed that it was still “on-track” to be introduced in 2018.

Jolyon Palmer

He said: “All the drivers tried it, all the teams tried it [and] we had reasonably good feedback for such a big change for the drivers.

“It’s still on-track for 2018 deployment, but I’m sure you will hear a lot more philosophical discussions coming. As far as the engineering work is concerned, for the aero, for the safety, the work is completed.”

If F1 does decide to use the halo at all times from the 2018 season, Mekies confirmed that the other FIA single seater series would incorporate the structure when they introduce their next new generation of cars.

Lewis Hamilton

He said: “If F1 presses the button of deploying halo, every FIA single seater will get it at the next new car introduction because you need such a strong chassis and cockpit to support the halo. For the Formula 4 case, the next Formula 4 is planned for 2020.”

Mekies was also asked if the alternatives to halo, such as a canopy or Red Bull’s aeroscreen, were no longer being considered for F1, but he explained that while those options still needed more research, they had not been abandoned.

He said: “[The canopy idea] is not dead. Technically it’s possible [and] it’s maybe six or nine months away, if we wanted to do that. We are waiting for the final word from our bosses to know if they want the halo, if they want the canopy, if they want something in between, [or] if they want something more aesthetically pleasing. So everything is on the table [and] there is nothing we consider impossible right now.”

Daniel Ricciardo

With the safety benefit of halo established by the FIA – the research has shown it is 17 per cent better at stopping smaller objects hitting a driver’s helmet – the sport’s stakeholders, including the governing body, FOM, the teams and drivers, now have to decide if it is in the best interest of F1 to adopt the device.

If the structure is not confirmed once F1’s rules for 2018 have been firmly established, its introduction would have to be voted through, although the FIA can force its place in the regulations on safety grounds.

Alonso-like escape not hindered by halo

Mekies also used his talk to present the Global Institute’s other research projects – which include a solution to stop barriers bouncing back onto cars, as was the case with Carlos Sainz’s accident in Russia in 2015 – and he explained how it analyses accidents.

Fernando Alonso

During that discussion he revealed that after analysing Fernando Alonso’s accident at the 2016 Australian Grand Prix, the FIA believes that in such a scenario – where a car comes to rest on its side or upside down – the halo device actually makes it easier for drivers to climb out of the car. But he also stressed that the preferred method of extrication in such accidents was for marshals to right a car before the driver gets out or is helped out.

“We look at the potential risk with halo [and] we took pretty much every single accident that somebody could remember from the last ten years and we played the ‘what if’ scenario with the halo,” he said.

“We did it with that one and the main question with that one is that you can see how the car landed and [also] ‘what’s happening if the guy wants to come out?’ The answer is in two parts.

Fernando Alonso

“The first part is [that] the standard procedure is that the marshals get the car back on its wheels. We accept that if the guy feels good, he will never wait for that, he will try to go out. It’s not a great idea because of the cars with the electrical system in it so we prefer them to wait but we understand [if they don’t want to wait].

“So what we did is that we put one of our chassis’ upside down with the halo [fitted]. We put [Global Institute research consultant] Andy Mellor into it and we asked him to come out exactly [like Alonso], and he did. So we feel that in that case the halo actually creates breathing space for the driver.

“It’s not obvious, but because the car would normally rest on its rollhoop, the halo actually creates space. It stands out [and] creates space to come out. So if anything it was not any worse.”

Fernando Alonso

Mekies also explained that after seeing Mellor’s attempts to escape an upside-down chassis with the halo attached, the F1 drivers had asked to practice such a scenario for themselves.

“When we showed that to the F1 drivers, while they were not impressed by Andy’s speed to get out, besides that, they actually asked to try it,” he said. “They said ‘can we all try before the halo is introduced because one day [when] we are in that situation we actually get that training.’ So it is something we will do.”

What do you make of the great halo debate? Do you think F1’s stakeholders should approve its introduction for 2018 or vote against it? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JA on F1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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Go for it, put the thing on all the cars, don’t muck around! I find the halo quite acceptable! And a good idea! More so than the new-for-2017tyre and aero changes! I personally reckon the changes will have an adverse effect on the racing and passing, but we’ll see!


This is what we need


It is an abomination of arguably limited effectiveness. I would send it straight back to the drawing board and insist on further research for at least the next 10 years so we never have to look at anything like it again. Great looking cars are set to return and then they undo all the hard work.


I do not want to see deaths in F1, therefore Halo scares me when I think of crashes like Alonso Raikkonen or most worryingly Liuzzi/Schumacher at Abu Dhabi in 2010, cars lifting over cockpit could feasibly have parts directed toward driver by the structure, worse case the nose structure in a head on like Liuzzi/Schuey, or Raikkonen at Brazil this year would have been at risk? Is the aero screen not better for stopping this sort of impact? How tragic would it be if a piece of car that would of deflected over the driver without Halo then caused harm? Sure they are looking at this, with evidence and testing, not opinion like me, but makes me nervous!


If halo is introduced then I think I’d be done with F1. The product has been in decline since ’09 with poorly defined tech regs, V6 engines, sanatised tracks & PPV TV. I don’t want to see anyone get hurt but I can’t ignore the fact that the danger aspect of the sport IS a big attraction. Halo is a step too far which would fundamentally change what I consider to be F1. tbh I still haven’t got over the raised cockpits sides they introduced in ’96


I don’t think they’ll have a choice but to bring it in. Aesthetically and traditionally, it probably isn’t what F1 is about, but if anyone is ever seriously hurt or dies from an accident that a halo could have prevented, who wants to say ‘but, it didn’t look pretty’?

I prefer the canopy myself out of these 2 options.


@ michael evans….. there is no canopy as an option!…yet. There is only a ‘halo’thong’ and an ‘aeroscreen’ on offer and even the aeroscreen is not, as yet, considered as viable. The only canopies i have seen were on fantasy renderings of futuristic ideas.


F1 will only have freak accidents. The halo is not necessary. It would not have saved Henry Surtees or Jules Bianchi. I cannot believe that this is being taken seriously. Motor racing is nowhere near the top of a list of dangerous sports. Most sport deaths are in those activities that no one ever sees.


Please no….


Introduce halo and you can kiss goodbye to an american audience.

I like vettel’s words but he grew up watching formula 1, his hero Schumacher and learning about the other champions before him.

They feared nothing.


I’m possibly showing my ignorance here but why wouldn’t this have saved Jules Bianchi? Considering his head was injured when his car went under a recovery vehicle this looks like exactly the sort of thing that might have saved him.


Because he didn’t die from blunt impact. He died because the g-force in the deceleration of the car from 120 mph (or more, I’m not sure how fast he was going) to zero in such a short distance was too great to survive. Consider Alonso’s crash in testing at Barcelona that caused him to black out and multiply that impact tenfold. Halo wouldn’t have helped in either instance.


The forces involved with that accident would have ripped the halo away from its anchoring points. However, the device is not designed to help in that sort of accident. The prevention for that repeating itself with operational changes like the VSC reducing speeds significantly if there are additional hazards on the circuit.


No, it’s not!
If they would be really so concerned about the safety, we wouldn’t be getting faster cars this year.
Whoever came up with this idiotic Halo thing should be put in prison.)


F1 shoots itself comprehensively in both feet once again.
The bike racers must be hysterical at the continuing mamby-pamby shenanigans of the four wheel pram racers.


Here’s an idea!
Why not fill in the gap between the halo and the bodywork with toughened glass/Perspex?
It could be called a ‘windscreen’!
A movable rubber blade could be fitted to clear rain, and some little water jets could be used to clean it.
They could even fit a mirror on the inside.


It would be great to see an analysis on how many F1 drivers have lost their lives since the passing of the great Senna, which was not related to a head injury. Furthermore, with the sad passing away of Jules, I am not sure if the Halo would have saved his life.

With the above in mind, yes I am one who does not want to see another driver lose his life in a sport that we love so much, however when a driver sets his mind on racing in an open cockpit, he/she knows the risks that come with it and this should not be an issue to discuss further.

IMHO, the whole Halo issue seems more like a marketing gimmick then anything else, with emphasis on safety to make it attractive to the sport. I’m not sure what’s gonna come next, Halo’s for Rugby players to prevent head injuries? Get real F1


As long as F1 doesn’t have Hawaianas as main sponsor, HALO just doesn’t make any sense.
It’s not enough protection for the ugliness it provides. I’d favor a smaller wind shield (a bit smaller than Red Bull’s one) to deflect most parts.

About as wide as the one of the McLaren M23, supported by an angled carbon/titanium arch around the top:


It’s just plain ugly. Why not just enclose the cars and be done with it. At least that would look better. Halo almost looks like a sort of training wheel to keep new drivers from hurting themselves.


I prefer the screen proposed by Red Bull, it looks better and If they find a solution that passes all the safety tests (including the ones mentioned above by other posters), I will accept it.
I am fully aware that in time the speeds and forces generated by the F1 cars will increase, so in order to permit the technical advancement leading to higher speeds, some changes will be needed to keep the risks under control.
No sane person wants to see another driver loose his life on the track.


If they’re going to use this is it possible to make a clear version, the driver can see through and is hard to see for the spectator. Just a thought. I don’t know what it could be made of but it would serve the purpose of safety and not be easily seen by spectators who hate the look of it.


I’m not against the idea of the halo, but it doesn’t add to the aesthetics of the car Thats for sure
I would like to see more of the driver “driving”. When you look at races in the Senna days the dock pits where lower so you could see them working. I know its all about aero and safety but if the skelaton look of the halo was incorporated around the driver as well as over him we would have the safety and a better view of the driver
Or they would look like they were sitting in a cage😉


While anything that improves safety for the drivers is to be applauded, a reduction of risk by only 17% seems too small a gain. I don’t have any major problems with the Halo, I can’ help but think that alternatives have not received sufficient attention or thought. So far only three devices have been suggested/trialled.


I don’t like the look of the halo. I think the Red Bull aeroscreen is more aesthetically pleasing if additional protection is deemed necessary. At the end of the day, it’s really up to the drivers since they are the ones at risk. If the halo’s adoption drives the spectators and viewers away, the authorities will have to analyze the situation and act accordingly. We should ask whether the halo would have saved the lives of the likes of Roger Williamson, Tom Pryce, Dan Wheldon, or Justin Wilson.


There’ll hardly be any viewers left anyway when it goes pay-to-view in 2019


It’s a tricky one, such a device may have saved Henry Surtees but on the flip side with Massa that same year it could have deflected the spring down and hit his visor or completely unprotected chest. It wouldn’t have saved Jules, it may have actually been worse a broken halo becomes flying debris very close to the driver and is almost guaranteed to hit him. As for trapping the driver, I don’t know how big an issue that is, the risk of fire will never be completely eradicated but its pretty minimal. Otherwise there are plenty of marshalls and medical staff on hand to extract the driver. Them saying that the prefered method of extraction is for the marshalls to flip the car makes me wince, watch footage of Barrichello’s accident at Imola for reasons why flipping a car back over is dangerous, fair enough for a conscious and obviously uninjured driver but with even potential head injuries it is prudent to be very gentle.

Agree with Vettel saying nothing justifies someone being killed but at the end of the day IMO F1 is an open wheeled open cockpit sport by definition, that is inherently going to carry the risk of exposed drivers and errant wheels. I just don’t know, that’s not even getting in to how hideous they look. Ideally it would be up to the driver but there will obviously be an aero disadvantage to using one so if it’s optional they won’t.


The halo concept is the typical kneejerk reaction to Bianchi death,but really the best thing to do is not to have heavy machinery on the track while they are racing which has been rectified so the halo concept is redundant.If the halo is adopted it will not be F1 anymore it will be sportscar racing especially with these politically correct power units.And anyone that believes in climate change or global warming or whatever they call it now to scam millions for carbon credits have you heard of the ice age,wake up to government bs.


Sorry old age, you can all laugh as I’m already laughing. That is 54 years following F1 not 44


@graham13k…we share the same F1 lineage then?


I would just like to say that I have made those comments about the fans having input into changes for F1 as a fan that has followed F1 for 44 years. That was after receiving a signed 8 x4 black and white photo of Jack Brabham and his car at the Hume Weir Circuit when he and I think it was Silvertri some demonstrated their Cooper Climax F1 cars.


For me this is an issue of F1 ‘s image.
Is safety a good idea? Yes.
But why does the pinnacle of motor sport,the apex in car technology, innovation and engineering excellence seem only able to come up with this solution? Ridiculous.
It’s a bit like putting a roof rack on a super car…….it’s functional but you just wouldn’t……shouldn’t.


I often read and hear decision makers say I think the fans would or not like this or that,. Well there is a more precise answer to that.

I think with todays technology it is time for the other part of the equation thet makes up F1 is invited to have input into changes. This could easily be done by having a voting window on all relevant subjects on say the official F1 website. Then the enthusiasts (fan) would feel even more involved in the sport they love as much as anybody else inolved. We are not as smart as those actually involved constructing or partisapating but we are not stupid either.

We want it to progress and succeed as much as anyone else involved in the sport.


I think there would be more acceptance of the halo if, as suggested in the article, it were adopted by all open cockpit formulas. At that point it would be seen as ‘normal’.
The halo will probably be introduced in 2018 but may only last for a few years until a better and more elegant solution is found. I believe that the move towards greater driver head protection is inevitable. Nobody in charge of the sport wants to see another death or serious injury, and if such a thing happened after the FIA refused to adopt the halo the outcry would be deafening.


Most any solution does not look very good. But how about combining Red Bulls ‘glass’ screen with just the loop portion of the ‘halo’. The ‘glass’ portion would whelp with projectiles coming at the drivers face, and the cantilevered ‘halo’ portion would protect from larger objects. That said, the only really safe idea is a canopy. When I see the cars from Senna’s era, they look great – you can see the driver much much more. We are never going back to that however.


Why is it needed? F1 is an open cockpit formula. It would not have protected Bianchi or Senna, and is likely it wouldn’t have protected Massa either. F1 is slower now than 10 years ago so I don’t see why it’s now an issue.


The canopy looks a good deal better but I want F1 to stay the same aesthetic i.e. open wheel…open cockpit. I get all the safety arguments for the Halo cage but god it is ugly. Also I don’t know how the drivers vision is not impaired with the vertical strut element of Halo.


Things like the halo and aeroscreen are awful. Just awful.

As the sport becomes increasingly less fan-friendly, this is one slap in the face too many.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m pro-safety. Things like seat belts, crash helmets, HANS, etc. were game-changers. But they did not fundamentally alter the DNA of open cockpit racing.

If open cockpit racing is too risky for you, fair enough. There are lots of choices. Do go race something else (ie- with a roof/windshield). Don’t add such elements to F1.

It’s a slippery-slope from halo/aeroscreen, to roof, to covered wheels, etc. All in the name of safety. But then it’s a sportscar. So go sportscar racing — don’t bastardize F1.

The halo and aeroscreen are abominations. F1 should not deploy them.


Can we keep Halo as an optional device?
If some driver wants it – he can use, others will race without it.
Don’t make it mandatory!


I think it looks great.

The drivers-as-gladiators theme so popular here: it might come from the riskless, protected lives most people live. There are things worth dying for. Sport isn’t one of them.


Is this not just some kind of knee jerk affect after Bianchi”s sad loss. Has it been proved that the Halo would have saved Jules? I don’t think it would have😳. I’m all for driver safety and don’t want to see unnecessary driver deaths, and I’m sure if it is bought into use we will all at some time get used to it. And I’m sure the aero wizards will find some way of making it benefit the car.
I don’t like the Halo, can’t even understand why it’s called a Halo? Much preferred Redbull”s option if something has to be used. But I’m still hoping that this idea is scrapped.
Agree with rupertdabear aswell. What will the Halo do with the water in the wet races? But as I said before, I’m sure the aero people will sort it out.
That’s my pennies worth!


I notice in multiple quotes from this article that “fans” are not considered one of the stakeholders of Formula One. I guess I already knew that “fans” were considered unimportant – it’s obvious when you consider all aspects of the sport.
Regards the halo, it’s an abomination and sacrilege, in my view.
Besides, FIA could legislate perfect, 100% safety with no risk of injury. All they need do is require drivers to drive the cars from the garage, using remote control and fly-by-wire a la military drones. The technology exists today.


Thas device, the Hallo as it is called, is not right for F1. We are talking about F1 being so dangerous that it needs grotesque devices such as the hallo. But how dangerous is F1 when compared to MotoGP? F1 is safe enough nowadays and the hallo is just one device too much.


Halo, Aeroscreen, Canopy, etc…
The entire discussion is beside the subject.
The issue is: Do we continue allow the “Open cockpit” concept as a category of race or we stop it.
Some of us will be able to enjoy a 1.6L V6 barquetta on the former F1 circuits, but I really think the bulk of spectators will chose the “higher ” categories as Le Mans Series, WEC or whatever. Bye bye Indy welcome NASCAR as Americans are concerned. The newly born Formula E, kaput.
Or, we accept the idea that some degree of risk is inherent in certain sports (btw I am not sure if not more cyclists have died than F1 drivers) and leave it as it was conceived.
Besides, as we see high speed camera footage in slow motion for all our daily use cars, we should have been presented with at least one +200km/h tire hit on the halo mounted car ( give it to the Mythbusters to make the necessary contraption for the tire launcher if FIA does not seem capable) and then – after being quite convinced that it won’t shutter or get ripped off the bodywork – decide on other reasons.
-Have anyone considered a tire deflected by the halo in the middle of the grandstands? Ask Mercedes about consequences.
-How much sturdier (heavy) has the bodywork to become in order to hold the halo hen hit as such ?
I am sure technical staff can think of more like above….
So, stop racing open wheels or leave it be that is the real issue.
There are other fields where danger lurks and human kind does not step back.


What about every other open wheel car? It seems safety is only for F1 drivers even though the wild driving is going on in all the other catagories all the time.
The whole thing smacks of the ‘seen to be doing something’ sickness incubated in the uk and now spreading to ruin everything.


they’ve just changed the rules to make the cars look better and faster because they want the drivers to look like heroes again. the halo makes both of those changes pointless


What happens if you have a high impact crash, the Halo jars across the cockpit and the driver can’t get out of the car, which could be on fire?


This is my concern too.

Have they done enough research around high-speed impacts where the HALO could become deformed and either sever the driver’s head, perhaps spear into the driver’s neck/chest, or even “just” prohibit their escape from the wreckage.

I just can’t see how something that thin could not become deformed and/or break up on a massive impact considering the immense forces involved…


Vettel’s right ‘. . . nothing justifies death . . .’
So city-wise –
When are we going to see all pedestrian crossings replaced with pedestrian bridges?

As others have mentioned – take a leaf out of the MotoGP book.
This whole debate is one more nail in F1’s coffin –
And there won’t be a halo to save it.


Seriously a 17℅ improvement for something so ugly and clearly wrong for f1?


I understand the arguments. I have competed in cars but mostly motorcycles, so I understand the risks first hand.

The current chassis and accompanying devices have reduced the risk to drivers to a point incomprehensible even twenty years ago.

However, looking at this from the other side, there has to be limits. Without limits we have drivers competing in military-style armoured vehicles. They would be all but immune to injury, but who will bother watching? In fact, who would bother driving?

I’ve also done some spelunking (cave exploring) – often crawling through spaces so tight, I had to exhale in order to squeeze through. Looking at the halo, I don’t think it would be nearly as easy to get out of an upside down car as this article indicates.


No single device can totally eliminate all risks.
Halo is better protection than ‘nothing’
Full cockpit canopy maybe better than halo
Fully enclose as part of chassis , even better protection. But is this f1?


No let’s wait for something to happen. You know “tradition” and all.
If anything, only the driver majority can prevent it.


I personally think this is a sticking plaster + knee jerk solution. Ugly or not…it would not stop things like Massa’s “spring-in-the-face” incident. I don’t have the structural analysis data to say for sure that it would’ve made Bianchi’s accident survivable, but I very much doubt this would’ve helped.

If F1s plan in 10 years time is to make the cars monstrously fast that the drivers barely have the mental capacity to handle the speed, agility, and performance….then they should go the whole hog and give them a survival cell. Full canopy and fire resistant driver cockpit. None of these half baked measures will help them then.

I don’t think single seater = open cockpit. If the ‘traditionalists’ can look past this idea…maybe there’s hope.


After x amount of time, everyone will be used to seeing it, so how it looks is largely irrelevant.

It only has to prevent 1 death or serious injury to be justified.


that’s ok. the driver will be only 17% dead


And it has to be a factor in how many deaths or serious injuries to be binned?


The Halo just happens to be the first possible solution to be studied. I think the rest of the options need more research and then decide. I don’t see why eventually both visuals and safety can be satisfied.


F1 hasn’t exactly been known for satisfying visuals in recent years, has it.

They did a very good thing with the 2017 regs, but it seems that the don’t have many qualms about hideousifying the aesthetics again in 2018.


Let them have the halo….and rid of all run off areas on the circuits – maybe put concrete walls there instead.


I hope the drivers all take pay cuts if they start implementing all these stupid safety rules and make the sport sterile. This is F1, it needs to be dangerous, if it is not, it ruins the spectacle of it.


I’m firmly a NO to the ‘Halo’
F1 is safe enough. Drivers in the current era have never been safer & the Halo is a fundamental change away from open cockpits. I’m a 30+ year F1 enthusiast – I will stop watching F1 & go to WEC & Moto GP if they still persist with this.

For those drivers who are too scared to drive in F1 – retire & do something else as you don’t have the ‘kahunas’ needed for F1. (Also, those same drivers would never have made it in any other era if that is the case.)


Yes halo doesn’t look good at all, infact it is ugly.
It is not what id the DNA of F1 which i love most.
So it should not have any space in F1.
For a machine I must say this, however i/we must accept that the car will be driven by the highly skilled professional drivers and I may not like some of them however, I respect everyone of them. We cant play with them so everything which provide them security I standby that.
So bring it on (halo) if u find better much ugly I wont mind.


Motogp has far more exposure to the rider yet there is no attempt to nanny state that series. Put all gokarts in full panel shells and it’s no longer go Karting. F1 is about driving state of the art open cockpit machines at the extreme. Halo is dumb!


“just dumb” sums it up. who thought putting a 50mm tube smack in the middle of a driver’s vision and called it a safety device?
Is there any vehicle racing or not that has a frame in the centre of the drivers view?


there’s about 20 times as much energy involved in a f1 car at top speed versus a kart at top speed. That’s the issue.


Also indycar doesn’t seem to be too fussed about additional cockpit protection, depite the fact that it was a death in indycar that prompted this whole desire to put a thong on f1 cars.

Why is it always F1 that comes up with these wacky, knee-jerk solutions to perceived problems, and in some cases even non-problems.


No but indy has had a big push on trying to avoid wheel to wheel impact. They are barley open wheelers at the moment. I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder but personally I think Indycars and Halo are both truly fugly.


Just a bloke; still, indycar racing is more dangerous on the ovals. And the possiblilty of getting hit by debris is probably higher than in f1.

Given this, it seems to me that indycar is more in need of additional cockpit protection than f1. And yet indycar doesn’t seem too fussed about it. It’s always good old f1 that has to go too far — and often in the wrong direction.


The F1 bosses are ridiculous, and drivers are cowards. Do you want halo? Ok, less salary


The halo or any kind of screen will not destroy F1.

Safety is an evolving thing, as it should be. We’ve seen over the last decade this particular problem of debris entering the cockpit occur several times, leading to deaths and injuries at high levels of motorsport. It isn’t a new problem, but as other issues have been largely addressed it’s one that’s become more prominent.

There is no doubt some kind of protection needs to be put in place. At the moment, as the article points out, the halo is ready and will address safety. Other options need more work.

Most of the criticism directed to it is purely aesthetic, but much (if not all) of the testing has been done with black halos and not body coloured ones. I have seen mockups of the 2016 cars with body coloured halos and they blend in much more. Some people will never like it, I get that, but give it a chance and you may not notice it after a while.

A few people have mentioned visibility issues, I know various drivers etc. have commented on this saying that you don’t notice it as much as you’d think – the drivers aren’t often looking straight in front of them, they tend to be looking on more of angle for braking markers, the next corner etc. Even on straights, they may be crossing from one side of the road to the other eg. between Ascari and Parabolica at Monza.

The tradition of F1 being open cockpit is just that, a tradition. Whichever solution ends up being put on the cars will change this either in part or in full. Again a sign of safety, and our thinking on it, evolving. Let’s not forget that an argument against seat belts was that they would prevent a driver from quickly escaping the car in the event of a crash!

As for my own personal preference – I would choose a full fighter pilot style canopy. It would be the most elegant solution to the problem, unfortunately it does pose many engineering challenges which need to be addressed.


If that’s your personal preference, fair enough, but go and follow sportscar racing. Don’t try and turn F1 into something it isn’t.


The tradition of F1 is just a tradition not more.
Driving in a partly closed car should be Formula F1/2 ( the 50% solution)

And reading the article this struck me
[q] The halo structure was extensively tested at F1 events throughout the 2016 season [/q] I have seen several cars during free practice driving one or two times with the halo. Is that extensivly testing? Come on, it’s a pet from someone with lots of influence/power and as such inevitable for F1.
Not by safety standards. There is not a single deadly accident in F1 that would not have happened with this “thing””.


@ eric…funny how, after all these years, i have always thought and talked of F1 as being principally/primarily ‘open wheeled racing’ without ever considering ‘open cockpit’ as generically inherent. That is, i suppose, simply because there was very little, if anything, said about full or partial enclosure!


I think this halo is ridiculous! You have the engineering geniuses at these F1 teams – they should build the car to incorporate a screen not some ridiculous add on cage like this…is it just me or is this totally crazy?! The screen should be part of the car and based in the regs so they can wind test it and build a car with it in mind.


I fully agree with you. The screen does look good and i’m pretty sure that there are special materials that would be almost frictionless to help avoid any build up on the screen. The days of black oil spotted drivers visors is long gone.


then why do all the drivers use tear-offs?


It’s not you and you’re not crazy.

This solution is more appropriate for a sprint car, not the pinnacle of Motorsport.


Wouldn’t have saved Massa wouldn’t have saved Senna and it is HIDEOUS.

Scratching my head how anyone would come up with this…


Considering Senna… I believe he was fatally wounded by a piece of suspension. I fact checked it. Two sources. Telegraph says so… Wikipedia does not mention suspension, only deceleration as the cause.
Anyway, the point is… What’s it take to break one of these halos and turn it into little shards of lethal weapons? Have they broken one yet?


And it wouldn’t have saved bianchi either.


I agree with safety, but that it the ugliest thing i’ve seen in a long time

Jason Blankenship

Awful…just awful. Kill this thing forever!


The halo is an abomination and has no place in F1. For many reasons, most of which have already been enumerated here, i doubt whether it will actually work in all circumstances. I fully endorse the Red Bull aeroscreen. It looks great, adds another dimension to the aesthetics of the car and, with some serious tweaking, would, most likely be at least as effective, if not more so, than the halo. Open front/sides like those in the halo do zip to deflect any intrusions. Hopefully it is discarded and if we are to have anything at all it will be the screen followed by the canopy!


For once we agree Ken.

I have to say though. I hate the screen and feel any cockpit cover is going too far.

The sides are already far beyond anything seen in years prior hiding the driver almost totally. This is a serious level of protection.

The oft commented Surtees and Bianchi accidents are moot. Surtees was racing in a different series without the F1 cockpit protection and nothing of this nature g string or screen was saving Bianchi. The only thing that could have saved him is no 14 ton digger on the side of the track.

No Motorsport is dangerous. The dangers have been eliminated to the most extent possible before actually Motorsport and in particular open cockpit racing becomes something else. Research should continue but when it interferes with the concept? No that’s enough.

For goodness sake – you will find long circuit kart racers at 170mph plus and 3G with slicks and wings… And no seat belts! Yes there have been fatalities. But then so have there been in the under 11 karts.

Don’t get me started on bikes.

Then it’s up to drivers to decide if they actually want to race or not. Oh you know… And earn a bit too!

It’s not like they work for poor pay in a war zone where some other ‘best in the world’ people choose to do!


Have another look. The aero screen is just a halo with a bit of Perspex nailed on the front. Add rain, dust, bright sunshine or any other visibility problems you can think of and you’ve got a whole lot more to worry about than a carbon fibre g-string waved in your face for 300km!


@ JJV….Really? Not at all what i have seen. There is no central pillar for starters which splits vision and there is no specifically rigid volume that follows the top perimeter profile whatsoever. It has been acknowledged that ‘clarity’ may, repeat may, be a problem but ‘tearoffs’ similar to current visors is not beyond a possibility. Your analysis just doesn’t make any sense.


Yes, but you think it would improve on the 17% effectiveness of the g-string in debris impact situations. The scenarios you alluded to are more easily manageable.


No Kenneth, THIS is an abomination! If you are curious, it’s an Eifelland March from 1972 with a centrally mounted single rear view mirror and it is 𝘩𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘰𝘶𝘴……


Yep prefer the Screen Red Bull tested.
This FIA Y Bar looks pathetic and aesthetically dire.
This Yorkshire bar contraption has a few blindspots that will become a problem in wet conditions.


Leave the decision to the drivers. Who are we to say?


They are trapped between some heavy politics of pleasing and not pleasing us , themselves , the Bianchis , Fia etc…. I think 99% of us agree it looks ridiculous and it has big gaps in it!


Indirectly, we are ones who pay the drivers. Without spectators and fans there would be no commercial sponsorship and no F1, so we are entitled to put our views forward.


@ Quercus…the author of the article requested we post our comments!


Leave the decision to the drivers. Who are we to say?

Booyah!… best argument yet.


Who are we to say?
We are the fans who pay in all forms to sustain the whole sport – without paying customers there is no F1 as there would be no revenue from media rights, no sponsorship & no gate receipts.

Fans should have a say or they should be listened to & have advocates at FIA & F1 to give us a voice.


Shame they can’t simply make the helmets & visors tougher?


Please, no halo, or thong as its more aptly dubbed by some. It’s just wrong for all the reasons mentioned in this article.


It might be safe, but it still looks like a G-string…

It’s a real shame we don’t have invisible force-field technology yet – That’s the real solution they’re looking for 🙂


awesome, it’s no longer the halo… all hail the G-string


What is the point of introducing mean looking fat cars when the FIA are just going to stick some scaffolding on them next year?


Drivers feel soo safe they take liberties on the move they attempt.
By making F1 Soo safe you are in fact making it more dangerous.


It is safer if a loose wheel is floating around. But haven’t they overcome that with tethers?
It is debatable in an accident like Fernando’s where the car is badly deformed and upside down.
It may well have killed Felipe by deflecting the spring down into his visor.
But, really, above all else, this is F1, the premier sport of open cockpit racing.


“It is safer if a loose wheel is floating around. But haven’t they overcome that with tethers?”

Only sort-of… It depends WHAT breaks off to allow the wheel to be free… You cant actually tether the spinning bit of the wheel… a tether attached to the chassis at one end and the wheel at the other will wrap around other suspension bits and freeze the wheel from turning (if not rip it odd) in a few rotations (depending how long such tether is….)

A tether that is workable must be strong and flexible, and attached at both ends to parts that don’t rotate… So lets say on a skinny formula single seater (with long skinny, fragile?) suspension arms, you also use a tether, some magic-strong unbreakable rope, that joins the main tub, with the front wheel mount/steering knuckle/brake holder at the other end of the skinny suspension arms? if the skinny arms break, the knuckle with stub-axel and wheel attached is still connected via the magic-strong tether and will not get within 20cm of the drivers head (due to the length of the tethers being designed correctly for the chassis)…. But what happens if the wheel nut comes off? The steering knuckle is still attached to the suspension arms, and our super-strength unbreakable tether is not even tested…


I think driver safety in F1 should be paramount and should be given greater priority than any other considerations including aesthetic reasons . If the Halo keeps drivers safer we should use it. F1 should never prioritise looks of cars over safety and I don’t think teams will either. Expect the halo’s introduction next year.


If driver safety is paramount, then have the driver sitting in the pits, driving by remote control…..


That’s totally possible now, then in five years time when two driverless cars crash at 397 mph and a spectator suffers some form injury there will be calls to ban the car building at all and just race virtually. Would sort out the track promotion contracts at least.

I’m not an expert but do drivers need to fit modern safety kit to historic race cars where this is practical ?


This is what makes us human. I follow NHRA and they have introduced full canopies in Top Fuel, As much about aero as anything else but they do keep the look and visual impact of the sport.


They probably can’t dismiss it anyway. Let’s say they do and in the following season a deadly accident occurs that would have been non-leathal with the implementation of the halo. I wouldn’t like to be responsible for that…


I think its obviously not the best possible solution considering the possibility that, it might not have saved Massa from his 2008 incident.


The Halo device is obviously not right at all. Two reasons.
1. Although it might not seem like a big deal, the vertical component right in the line of sight simply has to diminish a percentage of track visibility, however small.
2. Any long debris entering through the two side openings cannot be pushed out of the way by the driver. The driver is trapped with whatever debris is wedged or spearing through either of the two side openings. Any debris trapped in either of the side openings could remain trapped and free to impinge upon the driver’s head over and over and over again, in a typical multiple rollover event.
The Halo device is such a fundamentally flawed piece of kit it defies imagination how anybody came up with it.


indeed… we have seen pieces of plastic, bags etc caught on the pitot tubes and aerials (Jensen wasn’t it) imagine something caught on the middle stay? it could cause a distraction leading to a fatal accident.


Hi Craig,

Imagine driving in the rain at 200km+ with diminished visibility. Rain drops splattering off this device also!


No problem. The FIA will simply ban wet racing jn that eventuality!


Makes you wonder though Warley is that the way the FIA are heading. A few soft race starts last season in the wet, Brazil the exception. Kimi was very lucky he didn’t get cleaned up with the field so bunched up when he spun on that little river.

Nascar don’t race in the wet due to the ride height of chasis/wheel configuration, Indy cars don’t run on ovals either when its raining… this a direction that F1 might be heading?


My comment was slightly tongue-in-cheek but as I see it the issue is that the self-assigned road safety remit that the FIA took upon itself is ultimately incompatible with motor racing which is inherently dangerous. When you go to watch racing the ticket states “Motor racing in Dangerous” or it did last time I went. Eventually, bureaucrats and politicians will stop motor sport (as the Swiss did) because ‘THEY’ will decide for ‘OUR GOOD’ that we will not be allowed to take risks. The future is Orwellian I’m afraid and more aspects of human activity will be placed under more ‘CONTROL’ by the Thought Police 🙂


I’m personally not in favour:
1. It looks horrible
2. According to the article it’s only a 17% improvement
3. This would not have prevented a single F1 fatality in the last 40 years.


Exactly . It’s got to be all or nothing . Massas 09 incident proves that. You could throw Bernies payslip through that gap.


do i wish justin wilson had the halo – of course
if it saves one life will it be worth it – of course
do i want to see it in f1 – no
does that make sense – no


C/O AUTOCOURSE 1967-68, an article called “The Way Ahead” by editor David
Phipps. Notice the photo – the editor is suggesting a perspex canopy to protect drivers heads……………….and that was 50 years ago!

PS Having just come back from a short break in the S of FRA, and having bought a bottle of Jean Alesi wine in a Toulon supermarket, I can confirm the charming and amiable Mr Alesi sure knows his grapes in his Rhone Valley vineyard. And the Mistral wind that the back straight at Paul Ricard is named after will snap your neck in two with it’s cold chill………..terrific tail wind for a grand prix though…….


that’s better looking than the halo.
good old alesi, how different his career would’ve been had he chose williams instead of ferrari


I am totally against halo, its aesthetically super ugly. The drivers should be prepared to take such risks. This is F1 after all I am not saying F1 should go back to 60s. Introducing halo will also increase weight which is unnecesary the tires get chewed up and we will get worse racing.
Second thing the halo needs to used in lower formulas first as safety regs are not as stringent in those categories and people tend to drive like crazy!


How heavy exactly do you think the halo is?


20-30 kgs


Well said Grabsplatter – It’s the wings that really weigh them down 🙂


Just looks like a giant flip flop.
Surely they could do better than this vulgar contraption. Yes yes it’ll save lives but they could’ve brought abit of style to it instead of a universal add on that has a few blindspots for the drivers to get use too. Prefer the look of the Red Bull screen even though it failed.
Has anyone tested it in the wet when the handle bar design may in fact drag water into the cockpit ?


Halo will destroy F1. Won´t be F1 if halo come. I hope it will not be accepted


Driver deaths would destroy F1. Society at large will not accept it in this day and age, even if F1 drivers (and fans) are tolerant of it.


I go with that, F1 Fan. And I don’t think drivers have much tolerance for it either. The carnage of the late 50s led to the safety reforms of the 60s and later, and drivers were part of the movement.

I wouldn’t want fan preference to be too much of a factor. For fans F1 is a game, and often one with some sort of romanticised, mythologised code of bravery – like Hemingway’s – and frankly I wouldn’t want fans motivated by that to make decisions about what for drivers is a life and death matter.

And what’s prettier and more exciting, a needlessly dead driver or a car without a halo or some other effective protection?


There was a driver death in 2014, and it’s interesting that Mekies apparently failed to mention it. Would the halo have saved Jules Bianchi? It’s highly doubtful.


But isn’t this somewhat like pointing to a single road accident fatality and claiming that belts don’t prevent death on the road?


My opinion is that the halo would have saved Bianchi but so would have driving at a safe speed under the yellow flags and I prefer the latter solution as it maintains the tradition. I don’t think we will see any halos in motorcycle racing. The real problem is that the FIA cannot reconcile any danger whatsoever and inevitably this will lead at some point in the future to the cessation of motor racing on safety grounds!


It will work if they paint it Vantablack.


@ sir tease…i don’t think it comes in tins or tubes.


They said the same about seat belts, crash helmets, HANS, etc…

Personally, I prefer it when the drivers don’t die unnecessary deaths.


Who said it?
I’ve been around a long time and I don’t recall any controversy about the safety measures you mention.


Going motor racing is unnecessary.


Let’s ban racing, then, if we want to go all the way to keep drivers safe. Or set a 30mph speed limit….. Racing is about balance and risk management, not risk aversion. I was never against seatbelts, or HANS, or other safety devices, but this is a step too far. Open cockpit racing must remain. It’s in the DNA of motorsport.


Last death was Bianchi which this certainly would not have protected. Before that was Senna 24 years ago; pretty sure it wouldn’t have helped him either.


Doogdeb, you are obviously not a true motorsport follower otherwise you would have remembered John Surtees’ son and the pomy guy, Wilson, in Indycar both of whom suffered head injuries, then of course, there was Massa’s injury! The Halo may well have saved two lives and perhaps reduced/prevented Massa’s injury, and we are talking only the last couple of years! How many other head injuries/deaths over the decades have occured? And we can’t be too sure, but the halo may well have saved/helped Bianci and the Indycar guy that hit his head on the wall! I say “Just do it”, don’t wast time arguing! You can expect a few wheel/tyres to be flying around this season due to them sticking out too far /less room on the track, So I’d get ready for that.


wheel tethers would have saved Senna .. not the halo


You do realize that there’s no deceased F1 driver from like 25 years, who wouldn’t have deceased due to Halo?


what about Roland?


Roland’s death was caused by basal skull fracture. High side cockpit protection and HANS device they have now might have given him a better chance of survival.


Umm, Jules Bianchi?






Dmitry, there have only been two driver deaths in those 25 years, so not much of a sample size. Henry Surtees and Justin Wilson both died in accidents that could just have easily happened in F1.


Ridiculous statement. Do you even know the difference between the two sports? If so, then you would realise how stupid you sound saying it could just as easily happen in F1.


Nator, No similarity between single seater racing series? of course there isn’t!


I’m not sure a halo would have saved Henry Surtees.


Richard, it is designed to prevent serious injury in exactly that type of accident.


Where did you get those stats?


F1 is necessary?


I doubt that someone actually said that seat belts would destroy F1…

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