The Formula 1 Strategy Group met on Wednesday to decide that next year’s F1 cars will be fitted with the ‘halo’ cockpit protection system.
The halo was designed to reduce the risk of large debris hitting drivers’ heads, and trials were conducted during a number of Grands Prix by teams in 2016.
After the ‘shield’ was tested by Sebastian Vettel at the British Grand Prix, its negative reception is thought to have swayed sentiment towards the halo for 2018. The design of the halo will be further optimised before its use next season.
The Strategy Group, for the first time comprised all teams competing in the constructors’ championship now including Renault, Toro Rosso, Sauber and Haas – though those four teams were present only as observers, voting on just a few issues.
Although there was unanimous support in 2016 on the halo, there are reports that there was opposition from teams this time around but the halo is being introduced anyway on safety grounds. Initial reaction from fans seems quite negative but it will only be once the new cars are revealed, tested and then in the early Grands Prix of 2018 that the full weight of sentiment will be known.
This website is not in favour of the halo on the grounds that it is another thing that cuts the fans off from the driver and also on aesthetic grounds. It will be hard ever to consider an F1 car “beautiful” again.
But we are sympathetic to the drivers who have to drive the cars and who are calling, in some cases, for protection.
And if nothing were done, when a workable solution is available and a driver was hurt if killed by a flying wheel or large object, then questions would be asked, some of them legal.
Other topics such as future power units, cost control and fan engagement were discussed and the FIA claimed that this cockpit protection solution was reached under “unanimous agreement” in its statement today.
“Having developed and evaluated a large number of devices over the past five years, it had become clear that the halo presents the best overall safety performance,” the statement continued.
Teams were thought to have wanted to pursue the shield rather than the halo, but with pressure building, the FIA concluded the matter with today’s vote.
Regarding cost control, the FIA will task a Working Group including representatives of F1’s commercial rights holders, the FIA itself, and teams in order to make the sport more sustainable for teams in the future.
On the topic of fan engagement, the FIA’s statement said: “A number of sporting measures aimed at improving the show were also debated and specific studies will be carried out to assess these.”
What do you think about the Strategy Group’s decision to adopt the halo as its head protection system for 2018? Have your say in the comment section below.