Teams ‘unanimously agree’ to use halo as F1 head protection from 2018
Posted By: Editor   |  19 Jul 2017   |  9:02 pm GMT  |  421 comments

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.

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If they could only conduct far more accurate tests, they will see why this so-called safety device is going to kill more drivers than it saves.


James, has anyone dug into this? Sebastian says he gets dizzy, and therefore the aero screen is out. No team but Ferrari votes for halo? Coincidence? How many fighter pilots in the world live under a canopy and not get dizzy? There is more to this than meets the eye I suspect.


i wonder why there isn’t a penalty points table alongside the drivers’ championships points table?


They will rue this decision. Look hideous, takes away from the “danger” element which makes F1 such a spectacle. They want to attract more fans and then they introduce this? Give me break.
I’d like to say I won’t be watching because of this, but it’s not enough to turn me away, I might cringe a little though.


about time, it took them too long to introduce it. should’ve been introduced soon after sienna’s death..


The best response to Senna’s death was wheel tethers. That was done, and has probably saved a whole load of injuries – count how many times in a season a wheel is knocked off it suspension mount but goes nowhere. No need for a halo device in any of those circumstances.


incidentally mr banana…how many injuries were sustained as a result of a tyre coming off in a crash, before senna’s final crash?


i hope the halo becomes incorporated in the tub as once piece rather than an add on as it now is. it should really be a safety cage in which drivers sit. this will further enhance safety..
all those who are interested in danger should be quiet.


good point mr banana……but bianchi died in his crash..the fia may not admit it but I have a strong suspicion that bianchi may have survived had the halo been in place.


If it were true that it could have saved Bianchi, then the FIA would be shouting it across the roof tops and have mandated its use a long time ago. But they haven’t. Short of building something with the same structural integrity as the multi-tonne forklift truck that Bianchi hit, there is no way a halo device would have prevented his death.


why would the fia shout about having a device that could’ve saved bianchi but didn’t use to to protect him?
bianchi’s accident can be replicated to prove this by the way but the fia are keeping things done out of the public view..


Bull$%!$. After all the efforts to make the cars look like proper fast race cars again this is a bad move. I understand the drivers want protection but they have to accept some risk in jumping in the car. Also what about other junior categories, they will remain unprotected. Moto GP riders must be laughing at F1 drivers and the Nanny State that is the FIA.


Whilst the ‘head protection’ device appears to have been the major item on the agenda what i would rally like to know is what, if any, progress has been made re the new engines for ’21? That is more significant that anything else IMO.


If the Halo really works as intended and prevents injuries than I’m for it. But, the clear screen looks better. Perhaps they can make the Halo a different color?


Wouldn’t the FIA look so clever if some drivers on the grid couldn’t see the lights because of the halo bar and the angle between the driver’s eyes and the lights?

I hope this device isn’t as rushed into service as it appears to be.

Cristofer Lima

Of course this is ugly, but surely would have saved Surtees’ and Wilson’s lifes. Bianchi of course not. About Massa’s accident, I want to believe that the open parts of the halo would avoid the head on hit, 90° attack angle, letting the possibility of a light attack angle and would not be serious.

Only problem is if some small piece just jut the innet part of the sidebar and goes to the helmet, and in his natural course wouldn’t hit the helmet.

And I will not stop watching the races. This is silly.

Stephen Taylor

Surtees yes Wilson no.

Cristofer Lima

Sure would save Wilson’s life. The piece never would hit the helmet, would hit the halo. SOmething hit the helmet from the top only if the car is stopped.


It looks horrible, the only plus point, if you can call it that, is the fact that less of us will see it after 2018 when Sky finally make it another underground sport and the majority of people never get to watch it. Also maybe I’m just pointing out the obvious here, but why didn’t they design it with 2 side struts instead of 1 central which must be a bit irritating to the driver? Surely it would have been a better idea.


I expect having two pillars more to the side would have a greater impact on visibility. Just look at the pillars in your everday road car they provide a blind spot.


Yeah possibly, I just thought I’d rather have it off to the side than right in my central vision. The other problem I hadn’t thought of with side struts is the fact that they won’t be aerodynamically efficient without making the blind spots even worse.


@James Allen, what are the chances you have a colleague in the 2 wheeled world who could ask some of the MotoGP and WSBK riders what they think of the Halo and also their thoughts on safety and the risks involved in what they choose to do.

Also, someone might get upset by this, but I’m actually genuinely curious as to what Alex Zanardi, even Billy Monger, think of the Halo.


It’s fairly ugly, but I think the reaction against it is a bit overblown. If it makes the drivers a bit safer and doesn’t adversely effect the racing, then I think they have to do it. It’s also been suggested that the urgency behind this is in order to cover themselves in case they do nothing and a driver gets hit on the head.

I suspect the Shield is really the preferred option and that this is being implemented as an interim measure. Unfortunately, knowing what I do about optics, the distortion issues Vettel experienced are going to be very difficult to resolve within the context of a one-piece curved screen that’s strong enough to withstand the forces they require it to, but small enough to fit on the relatively narrow nose of an F1 car.


Halo: to be really safe why not extend the pit lane speed limit to the entire track? !! And put mud/safety guards over the wheels and heat shields over all the hot bits? !! Well, really!

The taking of risks is an essential part of racing off the public highway and to reach the finish is the inevitable achievement of the driver’s skill. Please stop this mollycoddling!


Why cant they leave it until 2019 when the races go behind pay wall because I wont be watching then.


I agree, what about brake lights and indicators on the cars next year James??


Ugly horrible monstrosity , its not F1its FIA induced clearly the teams have been backed into this dreadful decision , I suggest Todt buys a crash helmet ready for the fallout next season !


Why does F1 sometimes seem to do everything it can do to alienate its fans. They may as well go to a closed cockpit.


It looks ridiculous and how is it meant to stop anything smaller than a wheel. Motor Sport is dangerous but you might as well wrap the drivers in cotton wool it would be
just as effective. Time J Todt retired.


So one driver didn’t like the screen and that’s it?
The Aero Screen that Red Bull produced looked both strong and acceptably aerodynamic/visually reasonable. Why was it seemingly never tested outside of Red Bull?


I think it looks hideous and as other fans report, hides the driver from the viewer. I think a much better idea would be a fighter style glass bubble canopy which could also have fighter style glass ejection system so that if the car goes upside down in a crash the windscreen can be disconnected from the car so that the driver can push the screen away and escape.


Lets look at the history of large or small objects hitting drivers while in testing, practice, quaily and races……….MMMM ya that many. So now some big shots have decided to trash the look of a F1 car!!! Poor show gentleman (and ladies if any where present)


There must be a way surely for ‘fan power’ to stop this. Paying customers do not have a voice on the so called Strategy Committee – why not? Ross wants to ‘connect with the fans’ – this is NOT the way to do it. And the chances of it increasing safety is virtually nil. Absolutely barmy.


What they need to do with the halo is add some technology to it.

Something like the a bunch of LEDs that change colour depending on engine mode. i.e once the engine is turned up to full beans it goes from green to red.

Vettel goes red chasing down Lewis for the lead. Gaps comes down, Lewis stays green, but still the gap is coming down. Lewis it’s hammertime, goes red pulls away.

Also change the design of the halo slightly, make it look less like a flip flop and more like a Cylon, more aggressive.


I’m guessing it was Williams that voted in favour?


Disastrous decision!!! Hideous F1 looking cars for next year. How many times a wheel went flying and hitted an F1 car???. If that should be the case, why not reinforce the cables that are attached to the wheels to prevent this from happening???. With Halo, this is not open cockpit anymore, having the driver inside a cage where you can’t even see properly his helmet is nonsense, so why not close it al together and produce a more aesthetic, well engineered solution canopy style that won’t interfere or could easily be removed in case of the car being upside down.

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