Weekend Debate: Has the FIA done the right thing with the halo in F1?
F1 halo
Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Jul 2017   |  8:25 am GMT  |  300 comments

The subject of cockpit protection has been hotly debated since it was first mooted over five years ago. When we ran a post about the tests the FIA Institute had been carrying out on the halo, the canopy and other devices it was one of the most read posts of that year.

But now that the federation, in conjunction with the new commercial rights holders, has made the halo a reality from 2018 onwards, the discussion has been raging about whether this is the right thing for F1.

So much so, in fact, that the FIA has issued a statement with its justification for the decision. Essentially their point is that there is a demonstrable need for better protection for the driver’s head; that various options have been tested and that the halo is the most effective, while also providing the least constraint on the drivers.

F1 halo

And so with such a system ready to go and the only argument against it being that it is ugly, it is the federation’s duty to bring it in so that no F1 driver henceforth will suffer the kind of accident that killed Henry Surtees in F2 or Justin Wilson in IndyCar.

Looked at purely like that, it is hard to argue against.

So is the visual argument alone, the negative impact on the aesthetics of an F1 car, strong enough to outweigh it?

Clearly the federation thinks not. The FIA has become part of the family of sports federations that examines what it does and how it does it, in light of corruption and critical governance errors in football, cycling that athletics, the responsibility of a sporting federation has been reinforced.

In that vein, the motorsports federation would not be doing its job if it made decisions solely on grounds of aesthetics. The regulators believe that people will get used to the halo with time, as they did with the HANS device on the driver’s neck, or with high cockpit sides and a host of other things.

F1 halo

Although it has no impact on safety, the sound of the hybrid turbo F1 engines is another thing that fans were supposed to get used to when they were introduced in 2014. But they haven’t. And four years after their introduction, the FIA, F1 Management and F1 teams are still working hard on a better solution for the 2021 power unit, because F1 cars experienced for the first time, just don’t have that wow factor.

At Silverstone there was a parade of old F1 cars, including Nigel Mansell’s V10 engined 1992 Williams, making a splendid noise and then we also have the two seater F1 car (based on the old Minardi with Cosworth V10 engines) from F1 Experiences going around. Some teams, like Red Bull, sent V8 cars to the Live London F1 street event. What all of this achieved was to showcase a sound that modern F1 no longer offers to its fans.

Liberty Media needs an F1 product that they can promote to fulfil the brief of making the sport bigger, earning more revenues and reaching new audiences. The engine sound is critical to that and what we have at present just isn’t exciting enough.

This site has the view that the halo will serve to cut the fans off from the driver even further, reducing the feeling of engagement with him. When you watch a Le Mans car you support the team, not the driver and you can’t tell which of the three drivers is in the car without help from a commentator.

F1 halo

F1 will have to rethink the individual branding of a car to make it distinctively the “Lewis Hamilton car” or the “Sebastian Vettel car”, otherwise it will be harder for fans to feel a connection to their driver. Work will have to be done on camera angles, shortening them to create an engagement as well as to enhance the sense of speed. Greater use of driver facing on board cameras will be needed; the list goes on.

So how will they sell the halo?

Liberty’s key player in F1 management, Chase Carey, has got off to a good start in his relationship with FIA president Jean Todt and had made it clear in interviews that he has no desire to interfere in the business of F1 governance, as Bernie Ecclestone liked to do.

The dynamic between Carey and Todt, helped by Todt’s long collaboration with Ross Brawn, F1 motorsports managing director, means that those two bodies can get a lot done together.

While the F1 Strategy Group was under Bernie Ecclestone’s management, his relationship with the leading teams was sometimes stronger than it was with Todt, with whom he frequently had tension.

Chase Carey Jean Todt

Liberty have supported the halo, not seeing it as a grounds for a battle.

There are some major battles with teams coming up, however, over the distribution of F1’s revenues after 2020. The dynamic between the FIA and F1 Management and their solidarity will have a significant effect on the outcome.

The tendency is to reduce the disparity in importance (and therefore value) between the top teams like Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull and the smaller ones.

The top teams have other ideas about that and the next couple of years will see many skirmishes as they battle to show who’s more important to F1. The skirmishes have already begun in some areas.

Safety is not an area that one fights political battles over.

F1 halo

Can you be wrong about making a car safer?

Surtees was killed in an F2 car, not an F1, so the halo, once introduced, will surely have to be fitted to all cars in the FIA’s single seater pathway; F4, F3, F2 and F1 and that is just what a single seater racing car will look like from now on.

It will be safer, but will it have the ‘wow factor’ that attracts people to watch drivers racing cars against each other at high speeds?

Can you ever get the balance wrong between danger and entertainment?

Can you be wrong about making a race car safer?

What do you think? Has the FIA done the right thing or can the look of an F1 car outweigh safety concerns? Leave your comments below

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It's the right idea, but the wrong methodology........................a case it works in theory, but does it work in practice?

There has to be a more elegant and stylish solution to cockpit protection. The Halo has about much style and finesse as an American tourist. It looks like it's been designed by an ape/Jeremy Clarkson............it's not a good look. I understand the functionality, but it is something an eye sore.


In 5 years, if F1 still exists, the HALO will be replaced by a Star-trek like energy SHIELD. We will no longer see Seb ramming Lewis, the SHIELD will prevent this. We will no longer hear Seb using bad words because no radio signals can penetrate the SHIELD. So there will also be no chance for team orders and no debris on the track because nothing can go in or out of the SHIELD.
With all these advantages, no one will care that it is impossible for cameras to look what is inside the SHIELD when it is active.
An older me: Oh how i miss the days of good old HALO when racing was still racing.


Any form of motorsport is dangerous, period. Not only motorsport is dangerous, many other sports are dangerous as well, and people get injured, or even killed, by thousands every day.
So should they all be banned in the name of safety, since no one can guarantee absolute safety?
Should any of us participate or practice sport illegally if they got banned, just because we would like to take that risks and enjoy adrenaline rush, satisfaction, or whatever, we get from it?
Every single driver in any category is well aware of the danger involved, and they are willingly participating.
They have choice, but they choose to go racing.
Dangerous is appealing and, heck, Red Bull built their whole brand image (and ultimately their wealth) around it.
So if one is willing to take that risk, be it for the money, fame or the glory...I don't care...I'll watch it if I can.
To sum up, HALO is horrible and I hope that it will go, rather than stay. And I really doubt HALO will make it's way to lower categories, just like lowered ugly noses didn't make (remember, they were introduced to F1 on the safety grounds).


@Gaz Boy,
The central bar in the halo actually reminds me of split windscreens on old road cars. These were common in the 30s and 40s and were mostly abandoned around 1953. Many exuded great style and finesse, especially the American ones(!); just take a look at a 1948 Dodge or DeSoto for example. However, they were integrated into the looks of the car and not part of some contraption on top of an open race car. Most importantly, drivers were never seated centrally behind the middle pillar, but behind one of the two front windows. Must be an alltime first to have a bar positioned smack in front of a driver. Smart design...


It's not just an eye sore. It can't really stop much either.

Why don't they just close the cockpit? Then you can give everyone a helmet cam to know which driver is which and get the best view of all.


Gaz Boy you can make your point without the comparisons you made! Totally uncalled for.


@Nick4 he is known for bringing irrelevant, stereotypical, borderline racist or classist or imperialist comparisons and quips into his comments. This one is pretty tame but some I have read and wondered how he gets away with it on here.

Funny thing is he has mentioned Clarkson in a derogatory manner a few times, yet he has the same kind of tired old boy 'humor' in his rants.

Back on topic the Halo is ugly and it surely can't deflect much of anything?

Ricciardo Aficionado

Pretty sure he's modelled himself on Clarkson.


I don't really understand how he and others can regularly bring discussions completely off-topic.....and be rated 5 stars! Gaz Boy in particular is often out of line. Surely comment sections for an article should pretty much be for discussing that article, not about saying consistently how V10s need to come back....in an article about Alonso or Hamilton.

Meanwhile many posters who bring good discussion are rated low. I've never liked the star rating system on here anyway.


Aesthetically, not very good. This seems like something to give engineering students to generate ideas, a competition among schools and students to show various solutions. What has been presented does not appear to have been fully analyzed and designed.


But the FACT is an American didn't design it. Look elsewhere.


This comment is the most offensive I have ever read on this website


Lighten up brother!


Lol it's the funniest comment I've ever read here.

On topic, halo is junk and will drive many casual fans away.


Mercedes and Ferrari have come out against it. It may be a simple solution now. FIA will say, you don't want halo car makers? Sign this document that you absolve FIA and FOM/Liberty of all liability related to injury that could have been avoided with the halo and we cancel it. They won't sign it.

But indeed they want their cars to look good as a marketing tool, and this will take getting used to. I resist this change as well personally.

Finally, as for making it a Vettel or Lewis car, they will paint the halos a different color to blend it in perhaps or to identify the driver like helmets. They'll figure something out, but it will still be there. When it would be Ferrari red or Mercedes matching metallic gray it won't stand out as much.

Still, it sucks. More and more awesome is being lost. SR-71, Concorde, Space Shuttle, V10 F1 cars...are we replacing these awesone things with anything more awesome or even equally awesome? Or is that kind of awesomeness just going away now?


You've hit the nail on the head - the Halo push from the FIA is purely about legal liability now and not safety as they would like us to believe. Now that the FIA has ingrained itself into the debate on driver head safety and given numerous examples of incidents - the FIA can no longer claim innocence if something happens in the future. They now have a legal duty of care as the governing body or else they can be held liable for any accident that the halo or a safety screen could have prevented and they chose not to implement. Probably regardless of whether teams and drivers sign a waiver. All this should have been investigated and developed off the radar and in the lower classes so that it was a tried and tested product before getting anywhere near a F1 car where car asthetics matter to the fans and the image. The FIA have stuffed this entire process up in their ever increasing desire to be part of the F1 news cycle.


Mercedes and Red Bull are publicly against it...not Ferrari


God, yes the SR-71 – loved that design.
Always amused me that extreme temperature differentials between on-ground and in-flight status meant that fuel leaks on the former were necessary to allow for plate-expansion in the latter.


Question...Will the wording on the reverse of the tickets now state, 'Motor racing is no longer dangerous' ?


According to my sources it was Ferrari that supported the intro and that they were the only ones!!!

Richard Cooper

Agree totally Gaz Boy, with the exception of it being the right idea. Safety is one thing but damaging the core of the formula (open wheel, open cockpit) to placate safety officials is just not right. I've said it before but...where does it end?

I love MotoGP and enjoy the racing immensely, but I've always been an F1 fan first and foremost. I cannot imagine FIM (equivalent FIA body to motorcycling) doing something as laughable as this - can you imagine?! The fact is that F1 is dangerous and this should be promoted massively - it isn't road driving, it isn't safe, the drivers are gladiators and the fans love them for it. This is the first real time the FIA have got the balance of safety and F1 values wrong.

Different size wings, higher sides, changes to tyres, a hidden HANS device - these just don't matter really - even ugly noses (quiet engines is perhaps another matter)! But this is ludicrous.


American tourists? You are comparing American tourist to the Halo? A beach full of drunk Brits arguing with drunk Germans over nothing is a more fitting comparison.

Ricciardo Aficionado

Hahahaha yeah.
Tourists of any nationality. Don't go to other countries, it's stupid.


I've seen both and neither is pretty


I think this is a case of F1 taking a hit for the broader benefit of motor racing. In the longer term, once the halo is well refined, the technology will start appearing in other classes of racing just as high cockpit sides, the HANS device and so on have trickled down into junior formula.
But the teams were never going to start that development by choice. Status quo is king and the teams will always vote to keep doing things the way they were doing them before, nobody wants to be the first to blink and put themselves at a disadvantage. Well now they have no choice, the halo is coming and they have to ge to work developing and refining it. I expect the end result to be some kind of compromise between the shield and the halo, a smaller rigid frame supporting a clear screen, I also expect it to come about sooner rather than later.
By forcing the issue for once the FIA is doing right thing, rather than the easy or popular thing.

Alianora La Canta

Mercedes invented the original version of the Halo. Red Bull invented the Aeroscreen. Ferrari invented Shield. None of the ideas the FIA tested came from the FIA.

The FIA might have suggested head protection might be helpful, but it's the manufacturers that have been creating the solutions and doing the developments (with FIA testing support).


"In the longer term, once the halo is well refined, the technology will start appearing in other classes of racing just as high cockpit sides, the HANS device and so on have trickled down into junior formula."
This is exactly where their safety ckaim is shown its hollowness !
If FIA were REALLY concerned about safety and not only showing off in the F1 muscle contest as they are, they would have quietly introduced it in the very junior formula 4 and then each year one step up.
Anyone that REALLY loves motorsport, not just motorshow, keeps an eye on the lower classes, where the havoc is present every race for the first couple of turns, and where the head fatal injury which triggered all this happened.
And BTW, if Liberty Media wants to attract youth in the hardcore fan corps, should invest in sponsoring more live transmissions of their races ( I mean the target age group) in the junior formulas.

Alianora La Canta

That was never going to happen. The cash-strapped and more crash-prone series need rock-solid, reliable and cheap solutions. Halo will need a fair bit of development to meet those criteria, and F1 was always going to be able to have it introduced before the other series. (F2 is supposed to get Halo in 2019, with other series following suit in whatever car is their next one after that date).


The Halo stinks.


Screen was nice. Why only vettel had to try it ?


Exactly. I blame Sebastian for this: he tried it for 1-2 laps at Silverstone and quickly ditched it, having barely given the screen a chance. Ricciardo tried one in Russia last year - however the appear to be acting on a very small sample.

If the view is distorted, surely they have other configurations that they could look into?

If driving in the wet is a concern, it wasn't long ago that a supercar was going to be introduced without wipers as a static charge could have a similar effect - similar to the canopies on fighter planes.


"Safety is not an area that one fights political battles over."

There is a considerable area of compromise between safety and performance, it is an incredibly naive statement to make, no doubt with many examples to the contrary.


Interesting point that one: there should have been a political battle over the Jules Bianchi situation.

At Suzuka 2014 they were driving in poor light due to a late race start; on worn, less-than-optimal wet weather tyres; and a recovery vehicle was within the circuit confines under waved yellows (which race control had effectively endorsed by permitting driving at barely reduced speed for many years with little, or no sanction).

At any other workplace, they would have used a 5-why's interrogative assessment of health and safety and would have come to a more cohesive understanding and solution. Martin Brundle in particular has been at pains ever since his accident at the same circuit in 1994 to highlight the dangers, and I feel for him as his concerns have clearly fallen on deaf ears.

But it was easier to lay this one on Jules, who sadly wasn't with us to defend himself.


The fans can live with the halo system, but the drivers probably cannot live with a Surtees or a Wilson kinda incident.

Ricciardo Aficionado

Wilson an Surtees incidents were a one in a million shot... we've had two of them so I think the driver's risk is negatable.


I assume you don't actually work with statistics. So let me point out the errors with your statement.

Firstly, you make an unfounded assertion by claiming that Wilson's and Surtees's accidents were "one in a million." Do you have any evidence to back that up. No, didn't think so.

Secondly, the erroneous conclusion that a "million to one" occurrence happening twice within a year implies that it's less likely to happen again.

Ricciardo Aficionado

I assume you do work with statistics (otherwise you've given a gross misrepresentation of experience) so let me ask you this. How would you account for the statistical likelihood of the Surtees and Wilson incidents? I guess it could be many ways. One being; event divided by no. of laps turned in open wheelers. By this count one in a million is not too far off (probably an understatement)
Another method might be event divided by races run in open wheelers.
Another could be event divided by drivers in open wheel events.
Another might be event divided by crashes in open wheeler races.
How would your eminent self describe the equation to come to the probability of event occurring?
Secondly my "erroneous" statement does not declare the likelihood is less because the event has already occurred. I was however, as you've pounced upon, alluding to exactly that... just for the fun of annoying ACTUAL statisticians out there. I know a few.
The risk is negatable at my estimation of a million to one shot. No need for shady multipliers being involved.
I also know that statistics can be used to support any point of view.
Thanks for your response. I look forward to your next.


The millions they get every year is to justify the risks they take, sorry to say that.
It means I take more risks every morning when I ride my bike to the office !
I don't want any driver to die. But I also Watch because of the calculated risks I know they take.
What will be the next steps: driverless car-racing ? How exciting !

Also: the Surtees accident is dramatic, but "flying wheels" is already prevented by the cables attaching the wheels to the cars. It's not perfect but does it mean we need to cover a risk that happened once in more than 20 years (and countless open-wheels races !)

Also: comparison with HANS is not good. HANS device is not visible, nor are the seatbelts. So this has no effect on the "wow" people can get.


I'd say the Halo is more dangerous because surely it must increase the difficulty in getting out of the car in case of a serious crash or a fire.


Sure they could. About 2 people die every year at the IOM TT. They carry on racing.


The only one it might helped was JB but now cranes don't get in that position since then. It might help against a loose wheel. They are tethered on now.

It's not enough. Red Bulls solution was better and it looks better. Enclosed cockpits have worked with plenty of vision since WW2.Heck simply make the front flat and curve the sides then you could just use titanium where the contours change. The overall shape would be the same as the halo but instead of 1 skinny bar going down the front you would have two out of the way of driver vision with thick Lexan there and thinner on the sides. This would make the whole thing stronger so the top hoop of the halo could be made out of thinner material.

The whole thing should be much simpler than let's say making a turbo hybrid v6 go as fast As they now go on so little fuel.


Having digested the article i voted no. The reason for this is that, simply put, the teams apparently were 90% against! Now why was this? Did the teams think that it wasn't 'fit for purpose' ?, did they think that it was visually inappropriate? did they think that the 'screen' was a better alternative that just needed more work before implementation? Until we know why they rejected the proposal then there is very little educated guidance on whether it is right or wrong. I have never liked the 'halo' as it appears to me to be a half way house. In my understanding of the Surtees death by flying wheel, had the halo been in place i very much doubt that he would've survived as the top appears to be quite wide open. It may have saved Justin Wilson but having an open front seems to defeat the purpose of smaller objects striking the driver...Massa, for example. I would also challenge the rejection based on a one lap evaluation by one driver! Hardly a representative sample. Finally it looks abysmal, out of place and aesthetically...a disaster.


I think the problem is that teams initially voted against both solutions for the same reasons they always do: selfish ones.

The screen would have needed an aerodynamic rethink, and pulled resources away from the endless fine-tuning they would prefer to be doing.


@ Big H...Maybe now is the time that James could call all the team Principals and get their comments. After all they are the ones now charged with the implementation. It would be extremely interesting to hear their individual comments, after all, 90% rejection is a pretty confronting number for the FIA to contemplate. If that is then added to other F1 luminaries and the fans as well then we have a case to argue. C'mon james, do it.....


Well said Kenneth,
Biggest error in F1 history.
Even the qualifying fiasco doesn't measure to this flip flop monstrosity!!
Todt is a power crazy. Maybe he needs a few Henikens to get him back to being a human.
Stop playing god with rubbish tweaks.
F1 is a risk sport. However much you want to pad it up with pillows. The essence of the sport is the risk factor.


"F1 is a risk sport."

That's easy to say when you're the one watching others take the risk.

Ricciardo Aficionado

Stop playing god with rubbish tweaks.

BK finally says something.


Now this is a day to celebrate. We agree!


@ Aezy D....A confluence of superior intellect....hahaha


Had the halo been fitted to Surtees' car he would have walked away from the accident. Even a 'small' F2 wheel wouldn't have fit through the gap, it would have just bounced off the hoop instead of striking the driver square in the face. Had the halo been fitted he might even have been able to stay in the race, the car barely had scratch on it after the wheel impact.


With respect, if it hadn't have rained Bianchi would still be here. So let's ban wet races.


Not so sure. The wheel came down from above so likely the halo wouldn't have helped. An enclosed canopy would have.


The thing is wheels have tethers. The halo would stop this but not much else.


According to what i have read that is not quite the case. Do you have any supporting evidence to support your definitive statement "he would've walked away'.


Not sure about this. On the face of it, safety should be top of the list but I worry about the risk of unintended consequences. The halo may increase protection in some instances but raise risk in others. What if the device itself is damaged in an accident, could that potentially cause trauma to a driver’s head?


It shouldn't if it has a quick release.


Motogp doesn't have a bubble. Neither does IOM TT. They don't want it either. Neither should F1 have it. From the last 4 deaths that occurred in F1 (Ratzenberger, Senna, DeVillotta, Bianchi) at least 2 of those were caused by procedural errors beyond the car and halo likely wouldn't have helped. Halo, not wanted, not needed.


BBC wales has piece on about Tom Pryce (still on iPlayer). He was killed 40 years ago, Halo might have saved him. It wouldn't have helped Ronnie Peterson, Patrick Depailler, Elio DeAngelis, Giles Villeneuve, or Ricardo Palletti. It wouldn't have made any difference to Ratzenberger or Binachi. It might have helped DeVillotta because of the low speed of impact.

There's one name that F1 has had in conscience since May 1st 1994 : halo would probably have meant Ayrton Senna would have walked away from his accident.

Halo looks horrible and if is either needed in every open cockpit formula or none of them. It makes no sense to only have it in F1.


Halo might have saved Tom Pryce but the marshall would have ended the same way. What would have definitely saved them both is enforcing the rule that cars MUST slow down if there is a yellow flag (I don't even know if there was a yellow flag back then, but we have them now). Sadly Bianchi didn't heed them (and a big tractor was in the run off zone). Even worse in my opinion is that Rosberg all but ignored them at Hungary last year. Should have been DQ'd from quali. Other things like having enough marshalls with enough fire extinguishers on both sides of the track so that no marshall ever has to cross a live track are obvious things to have now. No halo would have been needed and that accident wouldn't happen today. Other accidents from history would have not happened with today's safety standards. The steel and aluminium tubs they used to race around in have thankfully gone and the drivers are much better protected from impact and the possibility of fire AND their race suits are much more fire retardant. Wheel tethers would have likely saved Senna, or the higher cockpit sides or the larger run off areas or better energy dispersing barriers. The stronger Helmets they have now may also have saved him and HANS quite possibly would have helped too. Fact is that soooo many of those accidents would NEVER happen in F1 these days and if they ever did the outcome for the driver would simply be a walk back to the pits. I maintain that Halo is not needed because F1 is safer than me getting on my motorbike and going to the shops.


A lot of people will find this unpalatable................but human beings love risk. And the more risk to life - the better they like it. Racing drivers fit into that category.

Just up the coast from Estoril is a pretty fishing village called Nazare, which just happens to have some of the biggest waves on the planet: 100 foot high monsters. And yet it doesn't stop surfers from being towed out to hitch a ride on the 100 foot big rollers even though they could be turned to dust should they fall off their boards.................

Racing drivers, surfers in Portugal, cycle racers, rugby players..............they all know and accept the risks in their profession - they should be respected for that.


I am concerned that the halo is a disaster waiting to happen

Where I see the Halo failing is in Massa style incidents where the driver is struck by smaller pieces of flying debris. Although Massa suffered some terrible injuries in that incident it was survivable due to the protection provided by his helmet. Consider however with a halo where this debris will be deflected down into the cockpit area where the driver is largely unprotected. The result is unthinkable


@Graham that's a good point. I wonder what would have been the result if Massa had been hit in the chest at 160mph with a 1Kg spring? Or let's say even 100mph after deflection?


Hopefully they will learn in a nice low speed 1st corner incident when the cockpits fill with carbon fibre bits


That's a pretty short debate. "No". Let's move on.


Indeed i can argue against the halo.
As you touched on, Henry's tragic death was not in F1, it wouldn't have happened in F1. Same with Justin. The incidents in F1 that should have a direct bearing on driver safety are, Kubica in Canada, Webber in Valencia, Alonso in Melbourne etc, etc.
Prevention is better than cure and mandating that side pods pretty much fill the gap between the wheels (like Alan Jones' 1980 Williams) and a rear bumper like Indycars have... would stop almost all these accidents and hence the need for this ridiculous 'thong' that's is being pushed through to show the FIA's authorit.


While driver safety in F1 is important, the halo is not the way to go, especially after recent efforts to improve the look of the cars. Also, even with this unsightly device, the risk of injury will remain as the halo would not have protected Felipe Massa, nor would it have been enough to save Jules Bianchi. It is a knee jerk reaction which is unpopular with drivers, teams, and fans alike, and should be scrapped until something much better comes along.


Either it's single-seat open cockpit racing, or it isn't. Safety is only an argument if you don't compromise what makes the sport distinct.

Covering up the driver may in limited circumstances be safer, but unless the object coming towards you is big enough to get deflected by the Halo you're probably worse off in terms of extraction time afterwards. Sadly it would not have helped Felipe or Jules, and I'm not convinced it would have made much difference to Justin either given the catastrophic crash he suffered.

I appreciate the FIA are in a difficult position legally (morally?) and feel that they have to be seen to be taking action. Given the calibre and creativity in Formula 1 I will be amazed if this is the best solution they can come up with.


It's open wheels that make it unique. The cockpit can be closed AFAIC.


When everything finally started to look good. We have two teams and three drivers fighting for the championship. Amazing cars with larger tyres. Liberty starting their work to make F1 great again. Social media and F1 is starting to grow together and so on. Out with the old (Mr E) and in with the new regim. First test with the windshield.
Then FIA tales this decision. How stupid can they be?


1 step forward then 15 steps back


' . . . demonstrable need for better protection for the driver’s head . . .'

And what about OUR heads - the fans', that is.
Stop messing with them, FIA and save us that 'it's necessary' b*llsh*t.
It will only be 'effective' for limited strike-angles and object sizes.
It's just an RNG marketing solution.
You know, just pick something (anything) out of a hat.

Next thing you know the drivers will be removed from the cars -
And be driving them remotely from the safety of their motor-homes.
Better still, why not remove the professional drivers altogether –
And hold competitions to let the fans drive them from track-side.
Now we’re really talking ‘fan engagement’ in its fullest sense.


I'm sure self driving cars will be racing soon. Why put up with a driver? AI is OK but remote control still leaves a human in the loop.


Who would watch self-driving cars? Serious question - would anybody here be interested in watching? It might be interesting for the first season as they all smash themselves to smithereens but after that it would be duller than a dull thing.


They'd still put out a safety car


This is my first post here after a long time reading- and my problem with the FIA is not so much that the cars will look ugly (though they will), but that they really don't seem to have tried very hard to figure out what the best solution is for actual safety. A few scattered days of testing a few concepts, by just a few teams? If they were serious, they would have had either all the teams or several outside consultants coming up with designs and then running them through repeated impact tests on and off the cars. And not just for a wheel, but for a variety of debris that might be encountered during actual collisions.

Instead, Vettel ran for a lap or two with the shield, didn't like it, and they make a blanket declaration that there is no other solution. Isn't this sport the home of some of the best engineering minds in the world? Why not develop a set of impact tests with a crash test dummy sitting in the car, like they do for the front and rear crash structures?

Requirements such as maximum size of object that can pass through the structure (if not a windshield type) and maximum acceleration imparted to the driver's helmet with a representative impact (wheel, suspension spring, broken front wing) ought to ensure safety. I for one would love to see what the teams could devise.


To be fair there have been many studies and tests conducted out of public view


It's a very pleasant surprise to rate a response on my first post- thank you.

If the studies and tests are out of public view, then the public has to fill in the blanks in the FIA's reasoning, and in the modern era this will inevitably look like knee-jerk cowering away from imagined legal action. It also looks arbitrary, arrogant, and short sighted, even if it isn't. Of course, the FIA is not a government, and it's not elected by the fan base, but as others have noted they surely care about appearances if they banned shark fins and phallic noses.

Lets say for a moment that the FIA is sitting on a secret file of research and testing data, that comprehensively shows the Halo is the best solution for protecting the driver's head from impact. It would go a long way towards calming the fans and the teams if they could show it, if they could show anything, that makes it look like the benefit in safety is real and thoroughly understood.

I won't hold my breath.

Alianora La Canta

The FIA has now put a video on Youtube entitled "FIA - Presenting the facts about Halo", that appears to be the summary of the "secret file of research". Hope this helps clarify things.


James...is there anywhere we can go to to access this data resulting from the 'out of view' tests?


People who love this sport need to understand the logic behind this decision, besides the "This is for the drivers safety" line. Involving the accidents that inspired this, would the Halo have successfully prevented the demise of the driver? It's a tough but fair question to ask.


I first took an interest when Jackie Stewart was world champion. I can remember it was on the radio that something dreadful had happened and he was retiring and I knew who he was (and the something dreadful was his teammate had been killed). I remember Niki Lauda's accident. And I remember the deaths ...

I remember Tom Pryce - he must have been on something like Sports Personality of the year for 1976 and he was called "the best driver ever to come out of Welsh Wales" ... a fired marshal dashed across in front of him and in the collision the fire extinguisher hit Pryce's head.
Ronnie Peterson and Giles Villeneuve were heroes when I was in my teens. I remember saying the news must have it wrong for Peterson - it was only his legs, but yes in some cases you can die of a broken leg. TV showed Villeneuve being thrown from his car.
I was on holiday in France the week the Peter Sellers and the Shah of Iran died, and the newspaper stands said on them "Depailler est Mort" - his Alfa had crashed in a testing accident. I saw Elio DeAngelis race, he too lost his life in a testing accident. The death of a little known driver called Ricardo Palletti was something I didn't notice until I became the stats nerd I am today. If you were an F1 fan in 1994, Imola is a memory which won't leave you. I saw footage of Bianchi's impact and wish I could unsee it - it is a wonder he didn't die at the scene.

In the 40 years since Tom Pryce, only F1 one driver would have been saved by Halo. Senna. The trajectory of the spring which nearly killed Massa would have taken it through the open part of Halo.
Other formulas where more, or more recent deaths might have been prevented aren't introducing Halo. Why aren't they when F1 is, or if you prefer why is F1 when they aren't ?


James - in the event that a driver does die or suffer a serious head injury (like a freak Senna like accident) that is then shown to have been exasperated by the 'Halo' say via deflected object. Will members of FIA be prosecuted for cause?


I cannot shake off the image of Alonso ploughing through the gravel upside down... Would the thingy hold the weight of the cat or would have been shattered into sharp dagers pushed through his visor ??
We see upside down cars more often than wheels flying.


Really? One lap on one car with a mocked up design and the aero screen is dropped. Thinking back to how many weekends the halo was tested last year it hardly feels the screen has been given a fair shot. With refinement I'm sure the screen would have been viable, after all LMP cars use very similarly shaped screens with no issues. Surely they could have experimented with different materials, coatings, surface finishes etc to make the optics better.

The halo feels like a knee-jerk reaction and a flawed one at that. The only deaths it would have prevented in recent years were in F4 and indy car, not F1. Massa's accident probably wouldn't have been prevented by a halo, it could even have been made worse. What's going to happen the first time some debris pings off the underside of the hoop and hits the driver in the arm or torso?

If the FIA are set on introducing further head protection, please don't settle on a design that's got 2 waking great holes in the front of it.


@Simon B - but it's *Ferrari* who have disapproved, and let's not forget the... let's say "influence" that Ferrari have within the sport.

That's why it was dropped, I suspect. Although I'm aware I'm starting to sound like Sebee with such conspiracy theories. 🙂

Alianora La Canta

Also, it was Ferrari who came up with the Shield. If they can't get a working implementation with the current version, then any implementation on other cars must wait for an improved version.


Yes I believe that they have.

Ok it might not be the best thing at the moment, but its something, and can't they continue to work on a better solution if that is what it takes.

Just stick them on the cars, paint them the same colour as the car and you can even have some more sponsors space which is in prime position.

This Halo reminds me of the HANS device, when that came out there where people not happy with it and I remember an indy car driving saying that I will not be wearing a noose around my neck and what happened to him. Sadly he crashed and left this world but it was said that if he had a HANS device he would have survived.

So stick it on as you never know, next year there could be a huge crash and it just might save a life, and what price is that life.


Next year there might be a fatal first lap crash. So let's abolish standing starts. There might be an aquaplaning crash. So let's abolish wet races. There might be some dangerous debris from a front wing element. So let's abolish front wings.


That unfortunate driver was Dale Earnhardt, legend of Nascar. He famously described the HANS device as 'the damned noose,' He was killed in a crash that resulted in him suffering a basilar skull fracture, the exact injury the HANS device prevents. Despite the irony, there was more to Earnhardt's death than his head injury. He liked to set his six point harness up improperly with the straps running outside the seat instead of through the seat holes. It allowed him better freedom of movement, but also meant that in his fatal crash they didn't properly restrain him, in his specific case and with his way of using a racing harness, it's unlikely wearing a HANS would have saved him. Needless to say Nascar enforce strict use of the HANS and correct use of harnesses nowadays.


Plus DE wasn't wearing a full face helmet. Even Evel K. wore one.


The Halo would not have prevented the last three deaths in F1 or Massa's eye injury. I would be concerned that in fact, a hard enough impact to that area of the car could shatter the carbon fibre of the Halo and send it into the driver! In my opinion, people are getting closer and closer to the tipping point of walking away from F1. The cars are getting ugly, the engines sound like garbage and they are more concerned about fuel economy than exciting racing. F1 should be like a movie. Something you watch for 2 hours where anything is possible with drivers wrestling cars like heros. While the tech in the cars is cool, what's really all that special anymore about a F1 weekend? Makes me sad.


It may have prevented JB from death. A crane arm probably wouldn't have gone thru a halo at all. It's hard to say but it doesn't matter. Procedures with cranes have been changed that should prevent it becoming an issue again. Just as the tire test is useless since the wheel is tethered. Then again it's hard telling what these new tires will do?


I was stupid enough to watch the footage of JBs accident a few days after it happened. There was no impact with the crane arm. I'm told the crane weighed six tons - the side pod of his car went underneath the body of the crane (into the space where its tracks are) and his head struck the bottom of the crane body - estimates of the impact speed vary between 70 and 100MPH. Halo is designed to alter the course of a flying wheel enough to take it away from the driver. It wouldn't have changed the course of JBs car away from the crane.


Wouldn't have changed for Bianchi. The sudden stop killed him rather than the direct impact to the head. Even his father agrees with that.


The aeroscreen concept looked much better, just how is the halo supposed to stop a Justin Wilson type accident, where the nose cone came directly down onto his helmet, I don't know.

And Jules Bianchi? Just how strong is this Halo anyway? The FIA are paying lip service to a lawsuit.


It's not strong enough to change the course of 700KG of car travelling at 100MPH and going along and underneath an immovable block of metal.
For simplicity of maths lets say a wheel weighs 35KG with a closing speed of 200MPH so the energy (1/2 MV^2) of that wheel is 1/5th of the car. It's not necessary to stop the wheel, just to deflect it.
If you think of Grosjean going over Alonso at Spa which was very close the low closing speed means Halo would have kept the car on top away from the drivers head underneath.
There a risk in a rear end accident that the nose goes of the car behind under the gearbox of the one in front and again halo would help push the car away from the driver's head.

Wilson ... without knowing the shape/size and trajectory of the debris its impossible to say. But something small or long and pointy coming head on - like the Massa's accident, or vertically downwards would probably get through.

The problem for the FIA (and teams) now is that given Halo exists, if there is an accident where it would prevent death or serious injury the courts will ask why wasn't the system being used. The drivers didn't want it, or the fans didn't like it won't be a defence they will want to use ....


Whenever I think of the appeal of Formula 1, for me, it always comes down to the cars. I used to enjoy the characters, but years ago there was not such a focus on the drivers' lives.

These days the media seems to want us to be interested in the drivers, and the inevitable close battle for the title that excitingly goes down to the wire (basically every season).

The trouble is, for me, the characters are vulgar, and ill at ease performing in front of the cameras. Oftentimes during a race we cut away to wives or girlfriends or celebs looking at their phones in the garages. Any beef between the drivers is amped up, and examined by the media, as if it is expected that the audience will just lap this stuff up.

Even during the races we are treated to drivers' team radio messages. Not all of them, just the ones the directors think will entertain. You know. The ones where the drivers get annoyed or frustrated.

Over the years Formula One has turned into just another soap opera among other soaps, like football or Home and Away. The way the media treat the product is tawdry. It seems they are incapable of doing otherwise.

But go to a race, and it all changes. No soap, no featurettes of drivers smugly doing their corporate duty. No. It comes down to the cars, the engines, and the real reason drivers are interesting; what they do on the track.

Over the years the cars have gone from sleek, beautiful beasts to ugly plastic contraptions. I never could understand why slicks were ditched for grooved tyres in 1998. They looked rubbish, and when they finally went back to slicks it was cause for a little celebration for me.

Ridiculous aero packages a la 2008, stepped noses, odd narrow looking cars. It's all nasty. Whoever is in charge has proved themselves incapable of defining what it is about the cars that people want to see. And now we have the ultimate insult to people who want to see a load of cool cars rag it round a track. The halo is the most disgusting addition to any racing car ever. The people responsible for this are incompetent. They will drive away fans, and guarantee that nobody will be attracted to F1 while the halos remain. Normal people will look at the cars and say, "Yuk."

And instead of sorting out the cars, they will push the soap angle relentlessly. "Look everybody! The title fight is going down to the last race again! Isn't that exciting?" We will hear drivers lose their cool over team radio, and we can all comment on their bad manners, and examine their inner thoughts based on what we have just heard.

I think F1 is heading for some sort of complete overhaul, because at the moment it looks to be heading for disaster.


I was about to write a similar comment when I came across yours. There is a 30mm zone for a fairing around the halo. I look forward to halo mounted T-wings, shark fins, and stepped halos making it look even worse than it does already. Car aesthetics are a vital part of F1 (for me), I've never understood how there isn't a mechanism to make these ugly developments disappear quickly. T-wings and shark fins should have been killed before the season started.

For the record, I'm for head protection, but agree with many other posters that this feels rushed. There has to be a better solution to this issue. Without knowing the detail of the data, from a layman's point of view I can't believe that although it will protect, the halo won't create other additional risks to the driver's safety.


Well said.

I blame Jon Todt for pretty much all the problems you listed. Ever since he took over from Max the show has been going downhill. Engine farce (both sound and reliability), Fuel restrictions, poor regulations, penalty inconsistency, stepped nose, stupid qualifying shakeups, Artificial passing and now the Halo. Jon Todt strikes again.


Remember when Todt said he wouldn't interfere like Mosley did? How did that go eh Jean?


Brilliant and well said @braz. Agree entirely.


This comment triggered me lol.

Here's an example! During one of the sessions at Silverstone, I forget if it was a practice or quali (I think practice 3)....one of the Channel 4 reporters was in the pitlane, and some mechanical issue happened to one of the cars (arg my memory is really failing me >.< ). This "reporter" stood outside the garage, and "reported" that yup, "something is wrong with the car, but I'm not a technical expert so I don't really know what's going on. Karun, you know more than I do, maybe you know what's going on"

Seriously?? What in the sweet [mod] are you doing on the pit lane??? Checking out people's shoes? FFS!! This same useless reporter had lots of "tough" questions for Lewis about why he wasn't in London...but doesn't know the first bloody thing about how an F1 car works.

Of the stuff I watch, the media and reporting in F1 is miles behind Aussie Supercars, IMSA, Indycar, NASCAR in terms of reporting on actual racing and not just off-track fluff. I can watch Super GT or Super Forumal in Japanese and get more technical/racing info out of the race than most F1 races.

Aussie Supercars is the hope though....run by Fox, pretty sure connections to Liberty. As far as a complete televised package to watch, the Aussies have it the best right now, it really is quite good.


What I could never understand when I was in Australia was why there were such slow speed limits everywhere when it's 1000 kms to the next town and there are about 3 cars using the road per 15 mils. Just open it up!


Can you imagine if in the middle of a World Cup semi final of the camera randomly cut to some blond woman looking at her phone?? People would lose their minds lol.

Watch American sports, and yes, they show celebs and family in the stands, but during the schedualed pauses in the game...not while there's live action taking place.

Like, we know that Christian Horner taps his foot nervously. We don't need a bloody close up of this mans feet every time Max or Dan is in the thick of it!!


This is so true. Lets see the race but at least F1 pretty much has a nonstop window during a advert.

If NASCAR is on NBC instead of NBCSN you don't see nonstop until the end of the race if then. Fox does have NASCAR early in the season and are more fun to watch.


Baz hit the nail so squarely on the head! Bang on!!!

The Grape Unwashed

Whenever I think of the appeal of Formula 1, for me, it always comes down to the cars. I used to enjoy the characters, but years ago there was not such a focus on the drivers' lives.
These days the media seems to want us to be interested in the drivers, and the inevitable close battle for the title that excitingly goes down to the wire (basically every season).

It doesn't seem any different to any other sport. Most people don't watch tennis because of the racquet technology (a big thing in the early 80s), snooker for the cues, golf for the clubs or running for the shoes. Sport is about competition between people who've dedicated their lives to being the best they can be - the very greatest are ambitious enough to try to be the best there's EVER BEEN - and that's true whether that's the Olympics, or the Tour de France, or F1.


Media coverage will always be focused on drivers because being human beings, they naturally attract the wider audience, while focus on the technical aspects of the sport will limit its reach to motorheads. If one cares more about the cars, then the grandstand is the place to be in, as you've pointed out.

I do think that your perspective on the drivers is a bit biased. True, the drivers act all corporate in the press conferences, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they lie. At least some of what they say is what they feel, I believe, and the rest they modify to sound diplomatic.

You say that the drivers are interesting only because of what they do on track. That's true, in a way. But do you find them interesting because that they drive fast cars around the track, or more because of how each driver drives his car?

For me, it's the latter. It tells me something about how a driver chooses to act in a competitive situation, about his bravery/cowardice...something about his human side, and that's what attracts me more.

It's true that the media often presents drivers in manipulative light, but the drivers getting more media coverage is not a problem in itself, at least in my eyes, because not all of it is diplomacy (on the drivers' part) or manipulation(media).

Take the content on JAonF1 for example. It's mostly unbiased and analytical.

Or, take this driver interview for example: -


I don't agree with all of that by any stretch. I remember not that long ago people were bemoaning the lack of characters in Formula 1, harking back to the days of Prost, Senna, Mansell, or whatever era of F1 it was they grew up with.

People will always be interested in people, and what goes on in the head of the guy who decides to sit in one of those machines will always be an important part of the attraction of the sport.

That said, it's hard to find fault with your argument that the cars are ugly and getting uglier, and that the whole concept needs an overhaul. One could say much the same about the rules. If you were to invent F1 today from scratch, it certainly wouldn't look anything like it does.

Of course I say that and then immediately think of Formula E which essentially was an attempt to reinvent F1. And it just gave us more ugly cars and silly rules like Fan Boost, so...

I think it may just be that the rich old men who enjoy motorsport enough to want to run it have very poor taste and no real understanding of what normal people like about seeing cars go fast. In which case, we're scuppered.


Excellent observations! Especially the "soap opera" comparison so compelling to the media and lapped up by the fans.


Well you just defined today's society in general and how its been manipulated by over government and corporate greed, add to the mix poor management and judgement.

Liberty Media only have the ability of making F1 a "reality "show for fools.

Your correct, F1 is heading for failure - at least in the eyes of those who still have a reference point to compare to.

Soon the issue will be sanitized. There will be no 'issue", no disaster. So when I look to Todt, I wonder what the hell hes doing ?

I look to Brawn and say - really ? Put your money where your mouth is ( or has been recently).

Who knows maybe all they care about is their end game ?


Perfect comment. Thanks


The five development phases of an architectural style over its lifetime :-
Definition, Integration, Modulation, Decoration, Disintegration

Equally applicable to F1 –
To which of the last two does its ‘Branding Phase' apply?


Thought provoking comment, thanks


Superbly put. I agree with every single word.

Fulveo Ballabeo

"(the FIA) would not be doing its job if it made decisions solely on grounds of aesthetics"

Aesthetics are fine. Until you fundamentally alter the DNA of the sport.

Open cockpit means open cockpit. No rollbars, no windshields. If a driver prefers that, then go race elsewhere. There are no surprises: drivers know F1 is open-cockpit long before they make their own choice to pursue F1.

After tipped noses, vacuum cleaner PU's, shark fins, and T-wings, the halo is the last slap in the fan's face. I've loved the sport for years, but why would I watch when its lost its open cockpit raison d'etre and I'm repulsed by the cars?

The answer is: I'm done. I won't watch.

How many others are like me? Like elimination qualifying (another slap in the fan's face), the FIA has made a huge mistake with Halo.


This is undoubtedly the right thing to do. We want closer competition. Faster cars. The risk of avoidable injury or death needs to be reduced as much as possible.


If you were truly skeptical, you would ask how this actually reduces the chances of injury and / or death. 🙂


I was playing some pCARS on my PlayStation this morning, no one got hurt :). It's ubber safe (although I'll probably end up with carpletunnel in my old age, so I'll try to sue Sony at some point, because it's their fault or something and I take zero responsibility for the choices I make in life.)


Then line the cars with 30 inches of bullet proof steel and restrict them to 30 mph. In fact let's just do roborace instead.


I'm not against making the cars safer, or some kind of device that saves the driver's head, etc etc. My issue is that this has bubbled away for over a year with nobody taking the reins - and now all of a sudden it needs a decision RIGHT THIS MINUTE - and we get stuck with the silliest, ugliest design imaginable.

While I am sympathetic to the argument of "F1 is open cockpit", perhaps it's time to bite the bullet and make the cockpits fully enclosed. It's got to be better than a halo. Bring it in for 2019 or 2020, give the teams time to think it through properly, and you'll be amazed at some of the innovation (specifically around visibility) that comes out of it.


Does anyone actually know who actually came up with the Halo design? So I can go and give them a gigantic slap on the face with a flip flop.


someone at Mercedes.. just slap Toto, that will cover it
(this is a joke, I'm not advocating violence against F1 team personnel - just highlightsing that it was Mercedes' design originally.)


"with such a system ready to go and the only argument against it being that it is ugly"
Is that really the only argument against it at this stage? What about driver egress in the case of an accident? What about the possibility of debris or tires deflecting off the halo in an uncontrolled manner, possibly striking another car or going over the fence into the marshalls or into the crowd? I'd hate to see the halo CAUSE an injury that otherwise might not have happened.

I understand the desire to make the cars as safe as possible, but as many have said, where do you draw the line? We've been hearing for some time that despite the dreadful incident with Jules F1 has never been safer than it is today. Tracks have been sanitized and some famous corners watered down to make them safer. Still, you have large, heavy pieces of metal circulating at close quarters at 200 mph. How do you take the risk out of that? How much risk is acceptable to today's drivers? The only way you can be truly safe as a driver is to not get in the car in the first place.

Jackie Stewart was a major campaigner for driver safety back when F1 was still in its Wild West days. I'd be very curious to know what he makes of the halo and the way tracks have been changed with the installation of large run-off areas instead of gravel traps. Does Sir Jackie think safety is being take too far or does he support these moves?


If the halo is to used on safety grounds then surely every open cockpit car in any formula has to have it, will this be the case or is it only F1 cars that are to look ugly.


How safe is safe enough? It is " arguably " much safer to drive a tank, but no one will come watch tank races. Like it or not a significant part of the allure of F1 racing is the danger involved. This is nothing more than a "cover your ass" situation for the FIA. Liberty had better get involved in this, as well as the teams.


Maybe you can hear the engines?


I'd actually watch that


Do they get live ammo too? I might watch that...


I might watch a tank race. But it wouldn't be f1.


It's called NASCAR


I think should we stick on a halo or not is actually the wrong question to start with.

Sticking on a makeshift solution looks ugly because the car wasnt designed with it ib mind.

A true solution would be to redesign the driver tub, and entire chassis concept, to better protect the drivers head, built around something like the halo.

There has been significant evolution of the tub and chassis, ofcourse, but so manipulated and restrained by regulations that it simply cannot have gone down the 'best' path, only the best regulated path.

A design contest, either among teams or public could have come up with a beautiful and more effective solution.

In my opinion.


But 'beautiful' and 'safe' can be mutually exclusive. There's no point to a member of the public designing a cockpit protection device because 'joe public' would not have access to the necessary data. When all's said & done, the debate should lean heavily towards function. Personally, the halo doesn't bother me and the main reason the teams don't want it is it means extra weight high up, which they all hate without exception. I think the FIA were between a rock & a hard place and I suspect this device will 'evolve' in both form & function. For now, fans and would be product designers should perhaps keep their toys inside their prams. I do agree with the poster that posited that this 'device' should be designed and constructed as part of the main crash structure i.e. the tub.


Last night I watched some moto-cross sidecar racing on Motorsport TV. Those crews were hanging off the machine and changing sides amid huge ruts in the dirt track, massive airborne leaps and inches away from the crash barriers. Absolutely huge bravery and skill on display, probably for very little financial reward. With these technical rules F1 is getting poorer every year.


Why is this even up for debate James?

the Halo is a joke.

It further separates the fans and driver.

the only accident it would have likely prevented was the freak accident of JB.

99.99% of the (vocal) f1 fans hate it.

most drivers hate it

most teams hate it

why is this even up for debate?


"And so with such a system ready to go and the only argument against it being that it is ugly, it is the federation’s duty to bring it in so."

While I understand the sentiment, it feels more like the FIA is introducing the Halo so it appears to be doing something which is just as hollow.

I still have concerns (as have some drivers already expressed) about driver extraction and wonder if Alonso would've been able to extract himself in his Melbourne 2016 shunt. Could marshals pull the dead weight of an unconscious driver out of a fiery crash with this thing in the way?

So there's an argument not based on aesthetics.

It still feels rushed and knee-jerk to me.


It has already been stated that the halo wouldn't have saved poor Jules.


It's up for debate because of lawyers suing the FIA over JB...

Lawyers have ruined F1.


a poorly designed safety device like the halo won't protect the fia from the lawyers. no one's safe from lawyers.
how come cycling can get away with substandard helmets?
why are boxers allowed to punch people in the head ?
how can rugby get away with neck breaking scrums ?
what about high board diving, mountain climbing, base jumping or rodeo riding ? it's called sport and if you think it's too dangerous don't do it. motorsport would not be ranked among the top sports for head injuries. i think todt has gone a bit loopy with his road safety campaign. motorsport has at best a tenuous connection with road safety.


Because it is a known saftey problem..........if someone dies and it was not take care of then the FIA would pay a very hard price...when James Hinchclif almost died at Indy from the lower "A" arm coming and going through him in two days the engineers came up with a plate to simply make a larger contact to stop the penetration of the tub..everyone knows they had to do something....it was not seen so we the fans say GREAT...this saftey devise is a bit ugly the Halo but....they need to do it....it will take no time at all for some brilliant engineer to come up with a better one now that this has been forced on them


Well, the poll pretty much sums it up.


Surprised it is only 70% against.
But when I last checked 'unsure' was almost as high as in favour.


I don't like the Halo I think looks like they've put scaffolding on top the car and doesn't look good . However I would say the Halo has it's own safety problems mainly in regards to the FIA extraction procedures where drivers have to get off the car in set time -this could be particularly key if a car sets on fire. Also there could be problem if a stationary car has live ERS and has to touch a part of the car he shouldn't because the areas of the car he could've used are obstructed by the Hallo.


Might as well have the drivers driving the cars by remote control and be done with it. F1 must have more stupid rules than any other major sport. The the cars all look the same and the magic is long gone.


Why do you think the FIA is pushing Robo Race as the support series to Formula E?

Humans opperating machinery is dangerous, we're far too incompetent, someone might get hurt. Computers are much better, they a perfect job every time. All machines should be operated by computer, humans are no longer necessary. The moment a human steps outside their safety cell (a giant bubble we'll live in, full of pillows and glitter, designed by a computer), things get far too dangerous. Humans just need to stay safe, let the machines do all the work.


Please; no head shots of the driver while racing. It's what the driver is doing with the car that matters—the interaction between his car and the track, and competing cars. Cosmetic shots are for before and after the race.

The only thing that might change this depends on what sort of rearward view is available from the centre top of the halo. Can we see the track and cars behind? If we can, it might be a useful shot when one car is being overtaken by another—but only briefly.

The FIA made a good decision recently when they increased the size of the numbers on the car. I'd like them to ensure that now the driver becomes even less visible behind high cockpit sides and a halo or screen, then more is done to enable the viewer to distinguish which car is being driven by which driver. At the moment it can be confusing at times when they cut between scenes. Even the commentators are quite often confused for a few seconds. Perhaps the drivers' helmet colours could be extended onto the bodywork?


Who said the Halo will make F1 safer?

less visibility in wet weather , drivers stuck in the car if its upside down, drivers can't see start finish lights on certain grid slots, drivers can't see yellow flags going up hills like eau rouge or up the hill at monaco for example.

Drivers will think they are even more indestructable now racing each other.

The device needs to be tested for a season in a lower formula first.


"drivers can't see start finish lights on certain grid slots"

Interesting point - Has this been verified by anyone?


putting my cynical hat on old mr todt cut a deal with ferrari to let vettel off with
his mad effort in baku in return for a ferrari vote on anything he wanted.
So thats means we get the halo. (unless it was another team that was compliant. I haven't followed this 100%)
Either way its a bit of a disgrace.

Alianora La Canta

Ferrari voted with the FIA, but if had voted against, the result would have been exactly the same. The FIA put Halo in due to invoking its executive powers regarding matters it considers to be safety-related. When that happens, offering to the vote at all is merely a courtesy issue, and a 100% vote against cannot change the FIA's actions. Ferrari's vote would perhaps have earned it a favour from the FIA, but any politicking in the infamous "secret meeting" with Vettel would have been on a different topic.


"Liberty Media needs an F1 product that they can promote to fulfill the brief of making the sport bigger, earning more revenues and reaching new audiences. The engine sound is critical to that and what we have at present just isn’t exciting enough." This is absolutely 100% correct and the move to the Halo is only amplifying the sense of outcry that essentially F1's customer base is being deliberately ignored.

In any other business when the company ignores the needs or the interests of their customer the company fails. What makes F1 think that it is any different?
Bottom line - it is not immune from irate customers voting with their feet, eyeballs or wallets.

This is a ridiculous decision that is jumping at shadows in regards to increasing safety, a complete overreaction to an overall very low instance issue. Motor racing is dangerous. Full stop. The participants both on and off the track know that, if they don't then they shouldn't be there. The halo smacks of Nanny State Welfare and is completely unnecessary and removes the right of grown men and women to make adult based risk assessments in their sporting activities.

The halo goes completely against the notion of what open wheel , open cockpit racing is. If the participants don't like to drive in an open cockpit car they have any number of different enclosed cockpit racing series to race in.

This will absolutely damage the F1 brand irrecoverably, the outpouring of comments that are clearly telling the FIA and Liberty that they will indeed vote with their feet is a clear indication. I can assure you that I will no longer be following the series from 2018 not just because of this that is a simplistic view. The reasons are many - lack of close competition, the sound, the cost, the difficulty in watching on TV and now the Halo. It has lost its allure on all fronts and no amount of Britney Spears after parties and fan zones is going to get me to go the races to watch these lame cars 'race' each other.

What happened to hero's taking on all odds pushing man and machine to the limits? Imagine some poor kid pinning up a 2018 F1 car on his bedroom wall with some ghastly halo thing covering the driver saying "yeah, I wanna be like that?" Embarrassing. Not gonna happen. So with all these changes F1 has managed to completely alienate their existing fan base and will no doubt fail to draw in new ones based on this rubbish, its a bad product that is incredibly costly to watch that neither inspires the old or the new.

David Muggridge

As so often these days, facts and non-facts become blurred. A halo is unlikely to have prevented Massa's injury and would not have prevented Bianci's tragic death.
All of the guys have a choice and have done throughout f1's history
To market f1 as a sport trying to achieve absolute safety is to take away one of its USPs.
It will never work.


I don't agree with the halo like many others however not for all the same reasons. Yes it is ugly and honestly it doesn't look like is a very clever solution for a very rare type of accident. Would it have save Jules I don't know. But, my concern is with the lower formula's and grassroots guys. If we look back at the Hans introduction and how it trickled down this will inevitably does the same. Now I agree with the Hans I have been racing in the SCCA for over 20 years and I wore a collar before the Hans. But, the Hans is expensive and the Halo will be expensive. For the weekend warrior group those prices can stop people from competing and it will get there. We will have formula V cars that hardly go 90 mph requiring this. I'm for safety but the snowball effect over the next 15 years is going to suck. I can't help but feel this is just the FIA doing some cya with only their interest in mind.


Making things more expensive for grass roots enthusiasts is the FIAs main objective, it's what they do. Why do you think the FIA is now all of a sudden interested in Drifting (a discipline that they considered unworthy of the title "Motorsport" just a few short years ago). Their goal is to come up with global standardized rules, but these rules will make it impossible for a grass roots guy to compete in a local competition with a street legal car. Gone will be the days of guys like Nakamura and Yokoi, who could beast their cars on the street by night, smoke the competition at comps by day, and do it all in the same car (often times without a support trailer, spare tires strapped to the roof and trunk). There's even talk that the FIA regs would put a limit on how old a car can be to be eligible...so no more S-Chassis. They also saying to cross manufacturer motorswaps, so bye bye LS and JZ swaps. To anyone who understand Drifting, this is the formula for how you kill it off and turn it into an exclusive rich guy passtime that only some middle eastern prince can afford to partake in.


If the FIA was serious about safety the cars would be neither open cockpit nor open wheel.

Still, even with the halo they won't be as ugly as an Indycar...


And those Indy Cars sure are ugly but I guess the reason the body work extends to the rear wheels were because they were being launched in the air at 200 miles an hour. And Indy fans are still attending races and
I'm sure F1 fans will (if they can afford it) and we'll still be here commenting 🙂


Lmao wait until you see the 2018 indycar...


@ Twitch6 the renditions that i've seen are quite stunning. looking forward to seeing the real thing.


So it seems the discussion on whether a halo increases safety or decreases it is closed and the conclusion is that the halo indeed makes F1 racing safer. For me that is the most important point.
And i think the question on aesthetics is the wrong question. The question should be whether a halo makes watching F1 racing less exciting. I don't see it would do so. I will watch with the same pleasure as i am doing it the last years. Much, much, much more important is narrowing the gaps between teams, so that we can see fights between drivers and not fights between engines.


How long have you been a fan for?
I'm curious.


I think that many people are making a big fuss about nothing. The main question would be, how does the halo affect the racing and the answer is not at all. If the FIA thinks it is safer and it could avoid certain accidents, then yes use it. Alonso would have been protected when Grossjean nearly took his head of and M. Schumacher had 2 similar accidents where the Halo would have taken protected him, both drivers where very lucky. R. Kubica was very lucky in Canada. One day the driver won't that lucky and everybody will be screaming that the FIA should have done something, after all if something happens the FIA is responsible and therefore they have to take decisions. When we look at J. Bianchi's accident, many people said after that the race should have been red flagged, but the same people would have questioned the decision if the race was red flagged, because if the race would have been stopped there would have been no accident and people would have said the red flag was for nothing. There is no democracy when it comes to making rules in sport, the decisions have to be taken by the officials and if the viewer wants to enjoy the sport he or she should sit back and enjoy instead of complaining about each decision taken by the officials. If we look at designs of F1 cars, they have always changed over the years and there were always some people unhappy about the changes. We will get used the new look, so stop complaining, because too many cooks will spoil the broth.


Sorry, can't agree. Grosjean didn't take off Alonso head.. he's still here today. Same, same with Shumi... no halo and no injury. Suzuka didn't need to be red flagged, it just needed race control not to allow the inappropriate earthmoving vehicle track side until the safety car was deployed.
Kubica didn't survive sliding upside down by luck... it was by design - the top of the driver's helmet is below a line from the front bulkhead to the roll bar.
The FIA don't know what the problem is that they're looking for a solution as shown from the two options available for the teams to choose. The halo stops big things, wheels, cars etc while the screen protects against small debris.
If they don't know what the problem is, how can they choose the best solution?
This whole thing smacks of doing something for the sake of doing something.

Alianora La Canta

The FIA always meant for the solution to stop a wheel coming through. Shield and Aeroscreen were supposed to stop it by means of their outer frame, Halo by its entire construction. All other types of accident protection were seen, from the beginning, as a bonus rather than the goal.


How long have you been a fan of f1 for?


Hear hear that man....


Absolutely agree. It'll end up being an aero device anyhow. Plus it offers great opportunities for camera mounting and pov shots. Granted it ain't pretty but how many cars from the modern era can compete with the 50s and 60s for looks. The sport has evolved like it or not and I can't see how this admittedly unattractive device will effect the actual racing.

Ricciardo Aficionado

Well I'm glad that this is probably not going to happen.
There's no way the FIA is going to put that thing on the car next year. No team wants it, they'll challenge it in appeals courts for years by which time Liberty will have sold or got used to the risk of a driver dieing on their watch. I think it would look ok if there was no air box behind it. Kind of like a luxury speed boat. I remember Honda turbos in the eighties with NO air intake. What happened to that concept? If this HALO was in front of the drivers head, is it safe to have nothing but a headrest behind the drivers helmet. Awesome connectivity with the driver! Maybe a bit exposed. The cocoonish little cockpit they have now looks perfectly safe. All they need to do is give the driver the ability to duck. Then there'd be no need for HALO. I remember a time when HALO was the best game ever. Launch game on Xbox... That was epic. The "thong" is epic only in its fail-ness. Maybe put some one way advertising in the gaps. They could paint eyeballs in there. Another perfect Cars3 tie-in.
Why do they keep making the cars uglier?
I would like to see little screamer, 2-stroke, hydrogen powered go karts racing inside an airtight bubble stadium which collects all the emissions on its surface and catches in underground tanks for drinking. Something revving at 23000 revs.


They will never u-turn on a "safety" feature.
Open cockpit f1 is officially no more. The best you can hope for is a shield design instead.

Ricciardo Aficionado

Hey Aids. So who put the FIA in charge anyway? Did Bernie make that deal?
F1 could abdicate. Teams could get together and start a rebel series. Liberty owns F1, can't they just take it away from the FIA? In the US, that means Financial Interests of America. People will stop watching F1 if the cars have thongs. I'd rather watch Indycar. F1 will hit America as the "Soccer" of motor racing. But who knows?? American Football has the face grill helmets and shoulder pads. They might love the Halo...

Alianora La Canta

"Who put the FIA in charge anyway?"

A combination of Bernie Ecclestone, Max Mosley and Jean-Marie Balestre, back in 1981.

Ricciardo Aficionado

Thanks for the response. I'd appreciate some elaboration...


No it's an FIA owned championship. They licence the commercial rights to FOM (now known as F1 Group) to exploit on their behalf

But F1 is owned by the FIA

Ricciardo Aficionado

Thanks for the clarification.
So essentially liberty bought the rights. I assume there is a timeframe to that licence?
It seems risky to purchase something that can be fundamentally changed post sale. The Halo is only going to have a negative impact on the image of F1. Which is essentially what Liberty have bought. Hardcore fans are disgusted and potential new fans will just laugh at it.
Liberty must have concerns about its implementation. But they can't do anything because as Aids says, noones ever going to repeal a safety measure.
I think this will end up going through a review committee for the next five years until it is quietly dropped amidst some major technical overhaul.
I really can't see it happening.

James McPastilhas

FIA's next step: mandate that the drivers use a remote control and have them race their cars remotely from the pits (it's not safe to be in the car anymore, just in case they crash and can't get extracted safely)..... plus, as the cars can lose connectivity to the pits and maybe get stuck in full throttle, ban the fans from attending the race track and make everyone that want to follow F1 to tune in to pay-TV. As the halo now allows for it, they can easily install some tiny projectors and project the pilots’ image onto the cockpit, we can even see their faces as they do not need to use a remote (until the FIA realise that they’d better do, in case they poke their eyes with the remote’s antenna).

All in all, I used to be an avid follower of F1. Since the mid-eighties that I used to get up at silly o'clock to watch the live broadcast from Suzuka and Adelaide – I do remember seeing, live, that Mansell’s tyre blow up in ‘86 or the deluge of ’91. Even later when the result was all but sure to be a Ferrari 1-2 in the Schumacher days I would still put my alarm clock to the middle of the night as I wanted to see the best and fastest cars driven by the best drivers.
Then from the mid 2000s the cars started to look more like space ships with a myriad of aero appendages and then the V10 was banned and later the V8 plus only half the races are now live on free-to-air TV. So after about 3 decades of following the sport I now do not bother getting up to follow a live race in the middle of the night and soon I won’t bother to tune in at all.
F1 is, bit by bit, losing its hard core fans from long ago and, with the hypothetical scenario of remote controlled cars, is more likely to find new fans in this new generation of kids that at 3 years of age are already masters of the iPhone and of the internet.


Looks terrible and will not solve anythig. Too big of a change to be forced like this


It's the wrong idea and one that is massively intrusive to the appeal of the sport. HANs device and high cockpit sides were minor changes that didn't radically alter the look of the cars.

Think of the stepped nose which when seen on footage these days looks utterly appalling. The halo is a much bigger visual turn off.

This will be a huge mistake and rather than reverse the fortunes of the sport, this is going to increase the exodus. Fans have choice these days.


Just as a discussion point, had Alonso's car had a halo device when Grosjean flew over him, could an impact with the halo have resulted in a worse outcome for Grosjean?


The FIA is slowly but surely taking the risk inherent in motorsport away, and offering a sanitzed version on par with golf, bowling or god forbid cricket. When anyone can get into an F1 car, drive it and return without so much as a blister - you no longer need a hero, a simple microprocessor will do. People watch the IOM TT, or Moto GP not to see someone die in a crash, but to challenge death by going fast through a corner or around a blind curve that no mere mortal would even dare. Hence the hero is needed, someone who accepts those risks inherent in a sport that balances on the razors edge of triumph and disaster. Man and machine wheel to wheel at 200 mph is exciting and dangerous hence the allure. Removing more and more of the danger will only reduce the excitement. F1is open wheel racing and the FIA should remember that, and there are certain risks associated with it. NASCAR and endurance racing have closed cockpits - if an F1 driver has those concerns, go there and race. That's why Ferrari are offering Vettel 140 million dollars to race next year. The FIA can continue down this road of total risk aversion, sanitized tracks with parking lot run offs and Halos and such, but at some point (and we're getting close) as BB King once sang 'the thrill is gone'. Remember Hemingway: “There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing(except F1), and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.”


+1 for my favorite Hemingway quote. You can smell the age of that quote now, I believe bullfighting has been marginalized in most places today by law, "motor racing" actually sounds like something your crazy grandfather used to do, and mountaineering, well, only that one seems to maintain its cachet of "non-negligible probability of death" in its extreme forms. Modern F1 really doesn't resonate with the term "motor racing" anymore, in the way Hemingway intended. To be fair to 2017, the world has evolved tremendously since then and we like our heroes alive (e.g. Alonso, Kubica).


The debate isn't about halos. It's about whether "society" accepts an open wheel open cockpit motorsport series. Apparenty the answer is "no". Apparently we are too weak minded and precious so everything in life has to be safe and sanitized. Except...we have MotoGP, SuperBikes, IOM TT....so either we can accept the risks or these series are not long for this world either or maybe somehting else is going on probably having to do with money.

In any case after 20 years I will stop watching F1 and stop giving the sport my money. I have had enough of sanitized mannequins driving safe ugly cars. I will switch entirely to motorcycle racing where men with some balls compete with aspirational machines. At least until those series are killed off by weak minded bureaucrats also....


The wrong move enforcing protection by either one method or another when perhaps a combinaton of both would solve the problem better and look more elegant.

Rollcage/halo to protect top of head, small aeroscreen to reduce front area exposure - similar to top fuel dragsters.

What about FIA Formula 4, 3 or 2?
What about FIA Formula E?
What about FIA Hillclimb?

All are, or have open cockpit, classes.

I'm curious to see what they do with FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship! No tethers, no halo 1200bhp monsters.
It cannot be possible that the only championship where there is risk to the driver in an open cockpit is Formula 1.

To apply protection to a single class makes no sense . If the FIA are applying head protection due to fear of litigation then they are implying they'll only act on head protection when there is a perceived risk of legal challenges and not based on safety concerns.


Some reasonable deductions there.


Yeah it might look ugly but people will get used to it, I even think that Williams White one isn't too bad. If I remember all those contacts where a wheel or another car just barely missed the drivers head, it's much better than doing nothing. It might nog have saved Senna but that loss was just too hard for me to not try to avoid not all accidents, which is impossible, but maybe save one world champion's or other drivers life some day.

jonathan powell

Hi James,
I'm not in favour of the halo device myself as im a fan on F1 for it being open cockpit single seater racing and as Paul Di Resta said in his Silverstone Practice commentary look at what little proctection jockeys or cyclists have by comparison!Yes they arent going at 200mph but they still have fatal consequences if there is an accident or something goes wrong!
As you and your site are not in favour of the halo James what is your response to Andrew Benson's question at the end of his article on BBC Sport when he asks 'If somebody was killed in an accident that would have been prevented by the halo but it hadnt been introduced how would you feel then'?
With regards to the sound im in complete agreement it needs to have the wow factor of the v8s,10s and 12s,absolutely no question!
I had the pleasure of paying only £15 to go to the Ferrari Racing Dau at Silverstone a few years ago to hear the scream of the glorious naturally aspirated engines...and I cant wait to go again this September!

Keep up the great work James!


Did the FIA ever carry out tests regarding possible deflection of debris pieces towards the driver's chest? I see this discussed a lot in comments sections, but I'm not aware of any major publication picking up this topic? This actually concerns me even more than aesthetics. Imagine the Massa spring being deflected thus hitting his visor or even lower instead of luckily just above the visor.


I find it ridiculous that F1 in trying to be even more safe than it already is, has to implement this. It looks terrible. What next, every driver has a bubble wrap suit on top? It's boring, it isn't a demonstrable guarantee against tragedy, and I'm guessing the FIA just don't want to get sued should something go wrong.


Maybe airbags attached to the suits? 🙂


They do that in motogp!


MotoGP riders do have airbags in their leathers. Not to suggest that F1 drivers should, just a notional comment that the technology exists, is in use, and even available to the mere mortal for about $4k.


Whilst we might not like the Halo and perhaps the Halo will only be around for a couple of years before it's replaced by the screen. But let say we didn't have the Halo and there was an accident that the Halo would likely have prevented (whilst we waited for the screen) no doubt many would be complaining that the FIA didn't do anything to prevent that accident.

Ricciardo Aficionado

Those people who would complain are the people who got us into this god awful chicken little nightmare.
Let them watch bowls, be damned and leave life to those who wish to live it.


I certainly hope liberty media gets a product they can promote and garner new fans.. as for me, I’m done.
The racing is boring, the drivers are, for the most part, boring, the cars are ugly and the rules are becoming ridiculous.

The Grape Unwashed

The subject of cockpit protection has been hotly debated since it was first mooted over five years ago. When we ran a post about the tests the FIA Institute had been carrying out on the halo, the canopy and other devices it was one of the most read posts of that year.

This is what I don't understand, five years is plenty of time to test the alternatives, get feedback, make improvements and come to a considered solution. The Halo is a hideous addition which doesn't even prevent accidents like Felipe Massa suffered, they should have come up with something better by now.

They should have been able to develop a windscreen solution, ironed out the reflections and visual distortions and ended up with something both effective and aesthetically pleasing. Instead they seem to have prevaricated until the 11th hour, then rushed to choose the best of a bad bunch. This is appalling stewardship. I only hope that development continues on the windscreen solution, the Halo should only be a stop-gap until an elegant solution is found.


The halo would not have saved Jules Bianchi's life, He was simply driving too fast under a double yellow flag condition....The halo is not the answer, no one wants it except the FIA and Ferrari of course..
I would prefer to see a full canopy solution to help prevent head injury ..

Racing driver 1

What baffles me is that the screen was a genuine contender to the halo. They then strap a moody teenage girl in the car....... Sorry did I say moody teenage girl? I mean Sebastian Vettel. He drives around cursing everything that moves and probably uses obscene language as usual, and tells everyone that 'HE' doesn't like it. The FIA then say "ok it's decided".
I half expect Ferrari have foreseen the halo to be used, and have already committed to some aero development in collaboration with the halo, hence making Seb slate the screen. This would not surprise me.
The screen did look somewhat sexier though. Reminiscent of a fighter jet.
Now that we have the halo, why not just put a screen around it. The screen wouldn't need any structural integrity and would look more along the lines of the screen concept. However, we may as well just have closed cockpits if we do that.




I can't believe no-one has pointed out to the FIA that these cars go very very fast indeed - surely much too quickly to be safe. I suggest a speed limit, perhaps 70mph so that the marketing people can relate it back to everyday drivers in their road cars?

Seriously though - does anyone at Liberty, the FIA, the teams or the promoters ever speak to a fan?


Work will have to be done on camera angles, shortening them to create an engagement as well as to enhance the sense of speed.

Please no!!! The angles are so tight already, we can't see driver's lines through a corner, it's tough to see details of many overtakes. On most tracks, the angle is so tight all we see is walls and paved runoff...no scenery at all. Since you like soccer analogies so much, that'd be like zooming in on the ball to make the game seem faster.

As for Halo, massive mistake. It's purely a CYA excersise the the FIA, and it's very cowardly. It's purely to save them from another Bianchi lawsuit...which could have been prevented if the kid would have obayed yellow flags!

Adding the HALO is absolutely not the same as HANS, or cockpit sides, or even DRS. HALO fundamentally changes F1 from open cockpit to USAC that can turn right.

This change to F1 would be equivelent to the NHL switching to rollerblades on the grounds that someone might get cut by a metal skate blade (it actually happens rather frequently, 1 guy almost died on the ice a few years back when his jugular got cut). I mean, it's not that big of a change, fans'll get used to it. Or how about the 2017/2018 VOLVO Ocean race, instead of circumnavigation the globe across the most isolated and desolate place on earth, they just sailed circles in the English Channel. Yup, that would be much safer....ya it fundamentally changes the DNA of the sport, but meh, fans'll get used to it.

Honestly, this whole "fan'll get used to it" attitude to me shows how callus the FIA is and how little respect they have for the fans.

Where the FIA got it in their thick, arrogant skulls that they are somehow a "global leader that needs to set an example for the rest of the world" is beyond me. They had to have dreamt that up themselves in one of their working groups. Like, when Hammond crashed at that hillclimb, the FIA came out and said they need to investigate because "it makes all lf Motorsport look bad." WHAT???? Someone crashed a car on a closed circuit, and it makes Motorsport look bad?? What are they smoking???? But let's be honest, that incedent didn't make anything look bad, it's just an excuse for the FIA to add more regulations, more cost, and eventually, shut the event down because the organizers can't deal with the FIA anymore.

@James Allen, here's a serious question for you. Can you explain why F1, or any series, needs the FIA? Aussie Supercars, Super Formula, Super GT, TCR, Indycar, IMSA, NASCAR (organizations who don't have the audacity to label themselves as "world leaders") all seem to operate with little to no input from the FIA. Why doesn't someone make an F1 version of TCR, just drop any association with the FIA, and let them run the current F1 into the ground like they've done with WTCC (hell, maybe they could introduce Joker laps in F1....fans'll get used to it."

The very fact that Todt is FIA pres, and has this road safety agenda, is so conflicted and convoluted. It'd be like Dana White (pres of UFC) also campaigning for non-violent conflict resolution or something. Yes, the world needs non violent conflict resolution, but that has absolutely nothing to do with hand to hand combat as a sport. Exact same as road safety, yes we need it, but it has zero to do with racing purpose built race cars on a closed circuit.

All this talk of Halo actually making me really excited for the next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. Finally get a chance to watch a sport (the last one left) where athletes go to the very extreme in the most brutal conditions imaginable, all in the pursuit of glory. Yes, it's getting to the point where Sailboat Racing is more extreme and exciting than F1 racing.


The tried a non FIA top level racing series years ago - It was called A1GP and it failed, big time.

Part of the reason F-E is starting to have some success is that they have the backing and support of the FIA, something that Agag said was very important at the time.

Could a racing series compete without FIA support? Sure, but it likely be a damn sight more difficult.

Alianora La Canta

A1GP was with the FIA, else it couldn't have had rounds in the EU. Someone else organised it, true, but the failure there was poor money management - formally FIA-backed series are not immune from that, as the GT World Series demonstrated at about the same time as A1GP.


@Random79, do you think A1GP failed because it wasn't not with the FIA, or because it wasn't supported by the big teams?

Also just because A1 failed, it doesn't necessarily mean a new attempt would fail.

Like I said, there are a lot of series currently in operation who have little to no association with the FIA. Indycar is growing, IMSA is growing massively at both the top level and the GT4/TC level, TCR is putting WTCC to shame, Aussie SC is probably the best total package as far as a series going right now, Super GT is going strong, BTCC is very healthy and competative....the list goes on.

All of these series have made moves directly counter to the direction the FIA is going, specifically because the FIA route is not sustainable. IMSA went ahead with their DPi regs, which from manufacturer involvement point of view goes head to head with LMP1. TCR was created specifically because WTCC is a farce, and the TCR catagory is the fastest growing on the planet right now. BTCC went their own direction as well, as FIA TC regs were set to kill off the catagory completely (see the strength of both the STCC and ETCC championships for reference, both run by the FIA).

Maybe I just need to learn more, but I really don't understand what is so special about the FIA. What exactly are they NEEDED for? Can't we just create a new governing body?

Alianora La Canta

We could, but that governing body could not then have a round in the EU. This is because the EU effectively granted the FIA monopoly in 2001 on safety grounds.

Unless the FIA messes up on safety grounds, there won't be room for anyone else to take the position, and if the FIA ever falls, there's going to be a big scramble to fill the gap.


"do you think A1GP failed because it wasn't not with the FIA, or because it wasn't supported by the big teams?"

Not at all, but that was likely one factor among many.

As you said there are many racing series that are doing well without FIA support, but how many more fail without it?

Having said that, I'm no fan of the FIA and no, I'm not exactly sure what it is they do either.

Not a great argument I know, but I figure they can look after themselves 🙂


Very well said.....as an ex yachtie i couldn't agree more.


@Kenneth, are you ready?


Riding the coat tails of a cyclone through the southern ocean, basically as far away from land as you can get. If something goes wrong, rescue is a few days away at best.

They don't sail as far south into the ice as they used, they use satalite imagery to keep the boats north of the big ice (but "small pieces" are still an issue...small being the size of a VW micro bus...hit that at 25 knots in the dead of night, it's no "small incident").

You could say the addition of the ice barrier they sail around in recent years is like paved runoff at most circuits. That said, there's definitely no HALO for these brace men and women.


@ Twitch6...Thanks for the links. Incredible footage. I've seen a lot of it before and it never fails to excite me. Having experienced similar, but of a lesser intensity, sailing, i can assure you that there is nothing quite like it. I once was in the process of commissioning my last new yacht in Sydney and intended to take it to Pittwater where i was going to berth it at RPAYC for a race fitout. A fellow yachtie with heaps of experience joined me and together we headed out through Sydney heads right into a southerly storm of great intensity. As it was a following sea we took the risk. With three reefs in the main and a storm headsail we ran from about 2km offshore to Barrenjoey lighthouse in 28mins!!!!. Burst boomvang and the bendy mast at max. i have never ever spent such an exciting time. The mast was 30ft high and at the base of the swells was level with the top of the swells!!! We finished up getting knocked down at Palm Beach so we called it a day and motored to the club. That was in a small 29ft quarter tonne racer with very little race equipment on board. Other instances of one tonners in offshore 25km races have also been exciting under similar conditions but never quite like this. Once experienced never forgotten.


James, I don't know much about the material of the halo and whether it would be possible - but what if it they could be transparent to give an 'invisible' effect?

I'm sure there'll be some good visual innovation so they're at least not like the black ones that have been tested

Alianora La Canta

I believe it's a form of carbon fibre alloy, so unfortunately I don't think transparency is an option.


If the FIA is so set on head protection then they need to move forward with closed cockpits similar to lmp1 cars.


Cigarette branding! Unsafe! Off with your head, unless you have a personal Halo device 🙂


I agree, I think by adopting the 'halo', the FIA are effectively laying the path for F1 to become a closed cockpit, open wheel formula. They would better doing a fundamental change like the option in the picture and actually sell it as something cool. All this rubbish about how drivers will see if screen get dirty is comical, LMP1/2/3 cars seem to manage just fine so why can't these?



I was reading an article on Motorsport where someone was arguing that: "The Formula 1 brand is very strong, and Formula 1 is very iconic". That may very well be true but those things were built in the past and the sport continues to live on the legacy of its glory years. Men died quite regularly in those years, and like it or not, that is what the F1 brand was built on. Danger, bravery, risk, passion, emotion and drama. None of those things exist any longer. James Hunt could never get a job in modern F1 as his behavior wold be deemed unconscionable by the marketing people guarding the corporate brands. As we saw with Vettel a few weeks ago, even passion and emotion are to be outlawed in modern F1. The sport will continue to be commercialized and sanitized under the new owners until it becomes some Disneyfied theme park experience with concerts, shopping and other diversions all designed to extract the maximum amount of revenue from the so called fan base. A fan base that is evidently becoming less and less interested in the core product, hence all the sideshows.

The halo is an utter disgrace to the spirit of this sport and all of those who lost their lives. It's bloody motor racing, there is supposed to be an element of danger. It seems to me that it went from being tragically dangerous to extremely safe as Niki Lauda himself has argued. No idea where this push is coming from. Everyone seems to be against it. As for FIA pushing safety via F1, what a joke! Open wheel cars doing 200mph inches apart, braking at the last second and they want to promote safety. Why not just impose speed limits and turn signals. Not to worry though once they get the social media strategy up and running all will be well.

I am finding it harder and harder to tune in each weekend. Was hoping that the Ferrari revival would make for a good year but that is looking in jeopardy right now.


@ Robert NYC...you know, i am also finding F1 less appealing after watching for as long as it has been happening, even before F1 was a label!!! I never thought that that would happen but the gloss is becoming dull. I have supported the screen solution as that was an added touch of favourable design elements and enhanced the overall looks of the cars as well as adding a level of safety commensurate with the objective. What i find unacceptable is that with 90% of the teams voting against it that we have not been favoured with an explanation of 'why' they chose to do this. The teams and the drivers should have had the final say IMO.


Simply no. This is a botch job at best. It looks ghastly. Let's see, the last two fatalities in F1 were because of.. 1. A tractor operating within the circuit configns. 2. A lorry parked in an incorrect position adjacent to the pit lane. I doubt this contraption would have made any difference. It certainly wouldn't have helped Massa. The Surtees fatality can be prevented with further R&D on wheel tethers. There are fatalities in rugby (even schoolboy) and football almost every year, a lot of things in life will never be 100% safe.

F1 was already well on the way of losing its 'gladiatorial' tag but this is the icing on the cake. If this actually goes through, and I'm still sceptical, a lot of fans will turn away. The FIA is killing the DNA of the sport.


I personally prefer my cars to not look like flip flops and my flip flops to not look like cars.

This is a rubbish solution to safety as it does nothing to protect the driver from the more recent accidents. FIA just want to wash their hands off it and make it seem like they have done something. A better interpretation of the screen would be a better solution. One compliant from little miss daisy Seb about feeling dizzy should not be the end of a product trial.


F1 is so death 🙁

With this decision you can see how Liberty don't care about anything else but their business, this Halo not only ruins completely the aesthetic of the F1 cars but kill the mystic of F1 drivers... F1 its secure enough already by the standard of "running a big peace of hardware load with flammable fuel at 300kph" is.

I only regret that by a moment had faith on Brown coming in to the management, lets prepare for a lot of other "gringo" type decisions in their vision of how sport should be... maybe they will cut races in pieces in order to have more advertising and a "middle race show with lady gaga" .... damn... F1 its so death.


Ironic the FIA dictate removal of shark fins and T-wings to broaden aesthetic appeal of the cars, yet make it collassally worse by bolting on the halo. How safe must it be? Nobody wants to see death played out in front of millions of eyeballs worldwide over sport, but those of us who do watch racing already get the danger, understand the risks and so too do the participants. At a time when they endeavor to make F1 more popular, this will surely not.


It's interesting to read people saying the halo wouldn't have prevented (insert name) accident /death. However there's no way for certain to prove that's true. It's there to prevent future accidents, not to prove the efficacy of it on old accidents.

I'm not a fan of it but it is what it is. If people turn away from the sport because of it then that's fairly shallow. After all, no matter what the cars look like surely we're watching the sport because we want to see the best drivers duke it out on track.


I'm wondering... can't it be made out of transparent material?


maybe they are trying to obstruct the drivers visibility and by adding this disturbing thing in front of them some of the drivers will make mistakes and that will bring more racing variables ... dunno... maybe they are genius..... hahahaha.

maybe they also should add an umbrella on the top of the car, you know just for safety, to avoid accidents when asteroids come out from space.

maybe they should add directional lights to the cars to avoid Kvyat's accidents hahahhaha.


The f1 teams were 90% against the halo, and I am 100% against it.

Won't be watching formula1 ever again (watched every session from 1995 to 2014 at midnight my time, so I was a diehard fan).

One bad decision too many, the absolute worst being DRS push to pass.

And anyone thinking the FIA will reverse this "safety" decision - no chance. The best you can hope for is a shield instead.


Great timing! Someone released a render of the combined halo and aero screen. Exactly the kind of thing I was thinking of.


Right idea, wrong execution. The Halo doesn't stop debris, so it's only half a solution. They (FIA) should have given themselves 2 years to develop the shield into a fully workable solution. It's aesthetically better, and provides better protection too.


Who said they still won't develop the shield comcpet for the next couple of years? I wouldn't be surprised if for the 2020 season we have the shield.


A terrible decision. All car manufacturers could be making vehicles that give almost complete accident protection to occupants by the use of more passive and active crash prevention/protection systems that could save thousands of lives, but they don't because of cost/aesthetic considerations. Just consider the average side impact protection - hardly confidence inspiring is it? So why the hell should F1 be forced to adopt something that partly removes its main USP of open cockpit racing and makes the cars look laughable? I understand the need to improve safety but this poorly considered and executed 'solution' risks undermining the very essence of the sport.


And so with such a system ready to go and the only argument against it being that it is ugly, it is the federation’s duty to bring it in so that no F1 driver henceforth will suffer the kind of accident that killed Henry Surtees in F2 or Justin Wilson in IndyCar.

While the accidents that befell Wilson and Surtees were indeed horrifying, they were both very specific circumstances - and also in other modes of racing.

Does this mean that Indycar and F2 will be introducing the halo as well?

If those series aren't rushing to take action, then why is F1?

Is there a specific reason that the FIA use F1 as their guinea pig when it comes to pushing things like this?

How come they never use their feeder categories to test and trial these things before bringing it into the marquee, where the fan base is more likely to have a negative reaction (at the time of writing, 70.3% have reacted this way)?


Perhaps it's a cost issue, anything new can cost a lot to develop and this cost might more easily be absorbed by an F1 team. Once it has been developed you simply have the cost of the item.


FIA doesn't regulate IndyCar, but they do sit together on a high level safety panel so it may be that IndyCar may adopt something similar

F2 is an FIA series so I cannot see how any of the single seater pathway series will not be using halo too.


In a word? 'No'.


James, regarding connection to drivers and cameras. At the very least they need to have cameras mounted on the halo. Crazy idea: mandate for every car to have a driver facing camera which streams real-time footage to mandated side facing screens mounted on the cars "fin". Plus give fans at the track the ability to livestream it to their mobiles, along with driver biometric data.


The halo looks like something designed in the 1970s by a professor who was asked to interpret F1 cockpit safety in 40-50 years time.


Yes, they have. We're at an exciting period in the sports history. In the coming few years we will see a complete redesign of the Formula One car as we know it, and this is the first step of that process. It's about time we had something a bit radical on the cars; something controversial and daring. If integrated properly into the body for 2018, the Halo will look very menacing. It just needs a few minor tweaks, particularly from the front view, but the huge, predicted wave of negativity is way over the top. The current crop of cars, whilst looking their best in over a decade; are still merely extensions of an antiquated design concept formulated in the late 1960s. I for one am excited to see how the cars morph into something more futuristic, 'Star Wars-esque' as Brundle put it. It's time for a refresh, and despite what you all may think aesthetically of the Halo - it will spark the much needed conversation around the future design of a Formula One car. This is the perfect time to experiment given the overhaul of the regulations for 2020. Change is always met with opposition, but it's time for many fans to open their minds to a new direction and vision for the sport. I will miss the true open cockpit feel that I've seen for the past 20 years watching, but I'm at peace with the Halo for 2018 and cautiously excited for how they'll look on the cars. I hope to see the majority of you here for next year and beyond. It's time to embrace change in our sport, however tough that may be.


Sorry, it looks like the strap of a pair of flip flops. Ive supported this sport through the ridiculousness of the high nose, the penis nose, the pit lane speed limits. This is too far. Having said that ill probably stop watching when the Kimster retires.


@ Sebastian...I'm all for change where that change means something positiive. I find nothing positive about the 'halo'. I have outlined elswhere my reservations and they are still valid until there is more data. What i am against is that the 'screen' was, IMO, the ideal solution and needed more development time. To base its demise in such a cursory fashion is derelict. To discard it because of a sense of dizzieness experienced by the driver after one lap is nothing short of ludicrous!


Is this formula one, or some mamby pamby race series where god forbid there is some danger.I want conventional big engines v12 would be nice,It would lower the cost of these save the planet power units . ITS FORMULA ONE.


Faulty logic has been applied. If they want safe cockpits then they need to do away with all open cockpit racing, GP2, F3, karting...and go to canopy cockpits like LMP1 cars. You want safe, go safe, quit monkeying around. You want open cockpit, accept a little danger.


If the desire is to make F1 cars safer, then limit the speed to 100mph, enclose the wheels and install air bags. Let the gladiators fight and let the spectators see the drivers putting it on the line. Oh, and say goodbye to kart racing!


Create better helmets, it's just that simple.
I'm sure the 1969 Apollo mission to the moon helmets would be a good starting point. Perhaps attach the helmet in some clever way to the car that permits maximum visibility might work?


Some fighter aircraft used to have a hoop tilted back, holding a flat piece of glass that the pilot looked directly through, that was the front piece of the bubble canopy. It seem like that would work in this situation, where it could be incorporated into the so-called halo sides. As it is, the halo is certainly a design failure. It is obviously a committee design. I don't understand why the sleek bubble screen cannot be produced with out the visual distortion. Seem to work in the aircraft industry.


Yes, FIA have made a good decision in my opinion. I don't find it "ugly" when compared with the modern F1 cars they will be fitted to which aren't exactly beautifull! The halo would deffinately look out of place on cars of a few decades ago before they started hanging all those ugly bits off them! The critics will get used to the halos as they've always got used to every other change/modification over the years. The windscreen wouldn't be too good when it gets oil/rubber/dust/grime plus the sun low in the sky in the afternoon, unless there was some sort of tearoff system that could be employed without having to go into the pits to be removed. Don't worry, Guys, everything will be O.K. in the end.


Why not let the Halo become a driver customised feature of the car, so that we can then identify them really easily! Could prove to be an enhancement to the viewing experience after all.




Thought they got this sorted out when they stopped allowing heavy machinery onto the track.They already have helmets.Remember meeting an old driller and he had an immaculate landcruiser and he had towels on the seatcovers so he would not get the seatcovers dirty.Always thought that was strange but here f1 is endorsing strange.


Although it's been subject of discussion for a long time it still feels like it's rushed through. The screen looked a lot better and yes, Vettel had issues with it but I'm sure they could have been resolved, or at least they could have attempted to resolve them.


Hi James if this has to come in and my word it doesn't look hideous what about making them out of a hard glass like material so it's almost invisible / see through ? Thoughts 🙂


Aesthetics apart, the decision was taken it seems, with litigation issues at the core. If FIA don't introduce a halo and an accident then occurs that could have been prevented, it will expose the FIA to a serious litigation challenge. One country which regularly has shown its teeth over the years in these matters is Italy; on numerous occasions from Von Trips' accident in 1961, to Jochen Rindt's in 1970 and finally Senna’s accident, the Italian courts were determined to charge someone with criminal culpability.
It appears most drivers are in favour especially the big names, likewise the GPDA. James, can you clarify if indeed the teams voted to oppose the halo?


If the design of the Halo evolves into a wing improving cars to follow each other, than YES. I am all for close racing.

As a bonus. With the added safety feature, circuits could be made more unforgiving as well …


A close up look at an unnecessarily maimed or dead driver will stay with you all of your life. The unaccustomed impression of the halo - and of later modified versions - will fade if we aren't hung up on resentment. It's discouraging to think that there's enough savagery left in us to make this a tough choice.


How good is the thing? I don't know. But I'm glad that they'vd made a start at least. There's nothing so mindless as deliberate inaction because perfection isn't possible at the start.

If I wad up my car at 80mph on a fast road, my belts might or might not help. But if in running around town at 30 mph, I come to and instantaneous stop against the side of a big truck, then Woo Wee! I'm glad I was buckled up. Most accidents happen around town at 30mph.

Similarly, those halos someday are going to save some noggins in a % of accidents. Good.


One thing the FIA did terrible wrong was presenting the HALO without presenting new possible camera perspectives. They could have done 3D ray tracing videos for the possibilities.
The driver is partly hidden behind the HALO, but this is only for cameras outside the car. I can think of 6 cameras mounted into the HALO:
1st: Front, mounted forwards in height of drivers eyes. More realistic look than watching above his head.
2nd: Front, mounted backwards for a total of the drivers face.
3rd+4th: sides, mounted outside to see wheel to wheel battles
5th +6th: sides, mounted inside, for example to see the 'driver to driver communications' like middle fingers, raised fists, ...


It's a no from me. It will be very difficult to get out of it now due to the many legal and liability issues that others have stated, especially now there are lots of Americans involved (land of the claim culture, although regrettably we are going the same way).

I wholeheartedly agree with what Martin Brundle was saying last weekend. Something should be done but it needs to be done properly, wait till the next reg change and integrate the protective device into the chassis, don't just bolt on a hideous looking thing.


No, no no. This is the wrong path to take. Its a middling compromise that serves no purpose. Driving a car at 300 kmh is never going to be a 100% safe.


Restricting oneself to Formula 1, only two fatal crashes come to mind which could have been prevented by the halo. In 1983 François Cevert crashed into the barrier at Watkins Glen, the car ending up upside down on the guard rails. Cevert's body and head were penetrated by parts of the barrier. Just possibly the impact of this crash could have been mitigated by the presence of an halo, although this remains very doubtful. However, Tom Pryce would definitely have survived his horrific accident in South Africa 1977, when race marshal Jansen van Vuuren crossed the track to assist in a minor car fire and was hit by Pryce's car. Van Vuuren's body was shredded, the fire extinguisher he was carrying crashed into Pryce's head killing him instantly. Here one really gets the impression the halo would have protected Pryce. Of course, procedural improvements have since rendered similar accidents a thing of the past.
The argument brought forward by many here that the halo is a risk when drivers have to be retrieved from their cars is definitely valid I think. Especially pulling the driver out sideways is much more difficult. I can totally understand Lauda's objections: with a halo, he might not have been saved from his burning Nurburgring 1976 wreck quickly enough. The same applies for Ronnie Peterson (Monza 1978) who was pulled out of his burning car by James Hunt very quickly (only to die from complications a day later). These two cars rested on all fours, what about inverted cars? Because of the intense fires, the halo would have made little difference in the fatal crashes of Lorenzo Bandini (Monaco 1967) and Roger Williamson (Zandvoort 1973).
I agree with those who feel that the lawsuit by the Bianchi family has triggered all this. Although understandable after the terrible loss they suffered, this is what it has brought us. The FIA should have held fast to just imposing strict procedural rules and should never have promised safety improvements to the cars that fly in the face (sic!) of open car racing.
It's mostly a law thing now. If safety really was paramount, then why be so lenient when newly designed devices are clearly not safe? This season we've seen multiple T-wings fly off (Bottas alone twice) and one pink sword finn being ripped loose - all these instances without any previous collision or contact.
Visibility is impaired by the halo too. Drivers will have to lean left, right and even forward to look around the central beam of the halo. Bearing neck muscles in mind, that's not exactly increasing safety if a car impacts on you from the side or rear at such a moment. I'd be interested to see a full lap at Spa with the driver's head in view. How much extra head movement will it show?
Rain has been mentioned also. It's quite possible to drive through heavy rain and spray from cars not far ahead. At the driver's location the spray will have accumulated into one or two diffuse layers of water. However, logic ordains that a couple of bars right next to and in front of you will cause strong intermittent and erratic gushes of water from several angles. Possibly not merely a distraction but actually dangerous.

Well hey, since every road driver has to deal with beams in the line of sight in their car, I suppose with the halo F1 has at last proven road relevance now.
Oh no, got that one wrong... road driving has proven to be relevant for F1, we got it first! We are all used to leaning to and fro to see the traffic, particularly on roundabouts. Which reminds me, near where I live there happens to be a chicane. Of course a roundabout is not far away either. So as a road driver I got window beams, roundabouts and chicanes. F1 driving used to have just one of these three: chicanes. Now view-impending beams have arrived, so the only thing missing is... roundabouts! I suggest we introduce them into F1 as soon as possible, preferably one in every low or medium speed corner. We cannot have 3-car wide situations in these corners, far safer to force the drivers either left or right. Added bonus: it will write finish for all discussions whether or not a particular driver missed the apex of a corner.

We'll have to face it: race driving (and watching it) will be less fun. The same applies to road driving of course. Automation is taking over. I call present day traffic 'battle of the cruise controls': the art of forcing the other guy to disengage the cruise control before you have to. The old art of overtaking with a litlle flurry of gas (I'm not including my American friends in this description) will soon be a thing of the past. And while there are still cars without cruise control you witness funny things. The other day I was being overtaken by a car without cruise control. Next we went up a slope. My cruise control held me at steady speed, and the man in the other car started to gesticulate I shouldn't 'accelerate'!
Year of cruise control introduction in F1 on the long straights: 2023?


Corr.: 'beam' should be 'pillar'


It's embarrassing and makes F1 look like a sport run by chumps. Sticking crude scaffolding on a car and in front of the drivers' eyes is like the FA making footballers wear helmets because heading the ball is too dangerous. It's not just the ugliness, it's sends out a message that the most technological sports category is run by amateurs. It's pathetic and a crude fix for a problem that doesn't exist.


One of the most difficult questions that the fans would have had to answer in a long time.

Would the halo alone (all other factors remaining the same ) have helped protect the life of Jules Bianchi ? If the answer to this question is Yes, then what the FIA is doing is right.

For aesthetic reasons, the shield/canopy seemed better, but it supposedly posed other issues that hindered with the driving aspect. So as of today, the halo is the only choice. Anticipated safety over aesthetics is the better choice, any day, when it comes to a drivers life.


I think this is a step in the wrong direction. No amount of safety will protect a driver at speeds above 300kmh in the event of a crash.

Maybe remove Todt and leave aesethetics alone.

Looks like it'll be hard to get out of too.


Hi James, would this have saved Jules?


The pictures of Palmer and Massa above make me shudder. It's been stated a hundred times before but I'll say again - what an abomination.

I'm now finding myself hoping, to some extent, that my beloved F1 just crashes and burns.

Let's be happy to say that F1 existed until 2017, and end it with our enjoyment unblemished. I'm sure that in 2018 there will be some good racing, but let's call this new thing that once was F1 by a different name. Retire F1 and let its memory be untarnished.

Just as the one-dayers transformed the cricket world forever, premier motor racing is ripe for revolution. Someone could now create a formula with all of the right ingredients - it would stand head and shoulders above what F1 will be in 2018. Let the people have their say!



Previous changes have improved the safety of cars to an extent whereby risk of injury by airborne objects are now statistically significant (wheel tethers, safety cells, higher cockpit sides with shock absorbing foam etc.).

The injuries affecting Massa in Hungary '09 are not guaranteed to be mitigated by the halo and the tragedy at Suzuka regarding Bianchi was down to poor application and methodology and not insufficient safety measures.

200 mph flip flops here we come.

Carlos Marques

In the US top dragsters had discussions for years if they should or should not have a roll cage because (A) it looked terrible and (B) made driver egress difficult. Today we don't even notice the roll cage until we look at old photos and wonder how those crazy drivers survived the wild years...

John Shackleton

You must be ancient! I'm 61, have followed NHRA since I was 13 (1969) and don't remember any controversy over roll bars or cages in any class of dragsters. They've just been a given, always present. Sadly, many TF drivers have lost their lives in race crashes since the 50's despite them.
Note however that they don't impinge on a drivers vision as does the Halo. The perspex screen in front of the GasMonkeys car in shot above is purely for aero and driver comfort reasons, although it has a similar configuration to the Aeroscreen idea, passed over by the FIA in favour of the Halo.
I'm no Halo fan either, but suspect with others that it's basically a butt protecting legal exercise on the FIA's behalf. The whole world's getting more and more litigious. Look more closely at the GasMonkeys car around the engine. Notice the long cover along the north/south axis of the rocker covers ? (only the L bank visible here). This is a strong folded steel plate to contain a possible violent exit of a spark plug from the engine under extreme combustion heat & pressure- yes, really. Being both mechanically and chemically supercharged, these 8L pushrodV8's produce 8K - 10K hp for very brief periods and are basically bombs masquerading as internal combustion engines. These spark plug shields, along with Kevlar supercharger blankets are measures to protect (1) spectators from any risk of shrapnel injuries caused by engine explosions, and (2) NHRA from opportunistic lawyers. Looks to me like the FIA and NHRA are in sympathy here.


Hideous.....flip flop on an F1 car..yuck


The halo is a crown on the head of the driver saying "I'm more concerned about getting hurt than about going fast and I'm happy to be dictated too by old blazer nabobs who are dedicated to protecting the money-people that are sucking F1 dry.


I think this is all Phillipe Bianchi and his ambulance chasing lawyers fault. If he'd accepted that Jules' freak accident was exactly that - a freak accident - we'd never have even heard of the halo.


Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope

Completely the wrong thing, it will cause more problems than it solves. Looks wrong


Alonso was only inches away from having his head taken off at Spa a few years ago. To everyone who voted no I would ask the question - would your vote have been different if Alonso's accident had been fatal? The halo may be ugly but it is effective and completely necessary in today's safety conscious world


Why does it have to be more safe? What is it with all this risk aversion and PC nonsense about a safety conscious world? Is anyone suggesting putting spikes on the sides of the wheels like some sort of cartoon?

No one is actively suggesting that there be death or injury but life is risky, everyday life is full of examples where adults take calculated risks and get a reward for doing so, some do more so than others and some activities are more risky than others, does this make it wrong? No absolutely not.

There are certain pastimes and human pursuits that are risky and even dare i say it dangerous! Motor racing is one of them....in case everybody forgot. So is horse riding, parachuting and surfing. Should we advocate all of these activities have similar protective measures put in place, should they be outlawed instead because they're too dangerous or should be perhaps just let full grown, intelligent adults make their own risk assessments about their actions?
This is a clear case of the FIA getting scared out of their wits by a law suit and insurance companies.


I would still vote no. My reasoning is below.
1. All sport is dangerous. Whether its a footballer suffering a career ending injury, or a F1 driver being injured, there is no way anything can be 100% safe
2. Thankfully there have been great strides in safety, whether its through better tech, eg, carbon fiber tubs, procedural issues, eg, pit lane speed limits & safety cars, or better design, eg, high cockpit sides, we have only seen one or two deaths in F1 since the dark day that Senna died
3. Accidents will happen. Some of them may lead to injury, and some may lead to a death.
4. The chances of being injured are a lot higher when one is motoring around at 300 kmh.
5. If the FIA is truly concerned about the drivers safety, all drivers should be banned from using helicopters & private jets. These have significantly higher chances of accidents vs commercial aviation
6. Most of these drivers get paid in a year what some of us might struggle to earn in a lifetime. High risk = high reward
7. The Halo has not been adequately tested in various scenarios. What if the Halo causes a spring to hit the driver in his chest, thereby breaking his ribs & collapsing his lungs?
8. This is an open cockpit series. :Follow @kits example below, and either enclose the cockpit or leave it as is.
9. This Halo BS is just the FIA doing a CYA activity, where in case of an untimely death, they can say "See, we had the Halo"


The HALO crisis remembers me about the gate-post crisis at soccer when safety laws forced the clubs to move from cheap quadratic wooden gate-posts to elliptic ones from aluminium.
Will a ball hitting the post behave unpredictable, will the metallic look irritate the players, or the older generation: why now and not already in 1966 when this Russian referee was obviously blind or bribed at Wembley, ...
All my stupid posts here are because i was 13, goalie and already 192cm when i hit my head at a only 200cm quadratic steel goal post for 7 vs 7.


In my eyes, this whole issue is like a circumcision. Either have the full canopy, or be completely open-cockpit. Anything half-way just seems and looks ridiculous.


What the fans think about the halo has been pretty obvious since it's conception. That thing will not be longlasting.


The Halo would not have prevented a death in F1 since Ayrton. Probably longer. It might have caused one, deflecting the debris into Felipe's face. Perhaps drivers should sit on the car, rather than in it. A daft idea you say? Well the thats' what "the Doctor" does.......


Driving a sportscar entails an element of risk, which is something most drivers embrace. The principle of 'safety at all costs' which James argues the FIA have a duty to follow doesn't apply, otherwise the arguments for an entirely closed cockpit would be irrefutable. I agree that aesthetics alone are a poor line of argument when set against the terrible accidents that befell Surtees and others, but no-one can say for certain that the Halo would prevent all such accidents in the future - it is just the "most effective" solution that doesn't involve a closed cockpit. I guess we will get used to this, but there is no doubt that it takes F1 further away from its roots. I honestly think that the combination of over-safety and the inevitable obsolescence of the internal combustion engine spell the end of F1 as a cutting-edge sport within the next 20 years. There will still be an F1 'heritage series', where older cars are driven competitively, but it will not attract serious manufacturer sponsorship.


although I did post this as a reply to the comments where they fit, it seems it was to late for them to be read. Even I did not have the patience to read all 240+. But I read more than half from top and about a quarter from bottom and I did not see anything about my concerns so Y repost as a comment:
1st. @JNH
"In the longer term, once the halo is well refined, the technology will start appearing in other classes of racing just as high cockpit sides, the HANS device and so on have trickled down into junior formula."
This is exactly where their safety claim has shown its hollowness !
If FIA were REALLY concerned about safety and not only showing off in the F1 muscle contest as they are, they would have quietly introduced it in the very junior formula 4 and then each year one step up.
Anyone that REALLY loves motorsport, not just motorshow, keeps an eye on the lower classes, where the havoc is present every race for the first couple of turns, and where the head fatal injury which triggered all this happened.
And BTW, if Liberty Media wants to attract youth in the hardcore fan corps, should invest in sponsoring more live transmissions of their races ( I mean the target age group) in the junior formulas.
and 2nd:
I cannot shake off the image of Alonso ploughing through the gravel upside down... Would the thingy hold the weight of the cat or would have been shattered into sharp dagers pushed through his visor ??
We see upside down cars more often than wheels flying.

I expect some reaction to the above, albeit negative


On safety ground YES the FIA has done the right thing... imagine if they went back on the decision later this year and then the unthinkable happens next year & a driver gets seriously hurt or even killed after being struck in the head... there would be hell to pay!!!
However as you say as it is being introduced in F1 next year then it MUST be brought into all other single seater FIA categories within a 12 month period or else what is the point in it especially when the only incidents of drivers being killed by head injuries is in other formulas!

On the looks side I agree with most other people, it looks hideous!!! However we should remember the HALO we have all seen so far is obviously only a test / mock up version which has been produced for teams to test & evaluate, I very much doubt that the version we will see on cars next year will look the same. The teams will be given a set of specifications which it must confirm to & then they will go about designing their own versions to fit in with the rest of the car, I also suspect they will also start experimenting with them to see if any aero gains can be made from them?

On a side note about driver identifications, having been at Silverstone a couple of weeks ago even though the cars now have the drivers numbers on & their 3 letter initial some are still as hard to identify as before.
Then you watch F2 & GP3 and all those cars have the driver number on the rear wing end plate and are as clear as day to see so I really think the FIA should make the teams in F1 do the same, a black end plate with a white square showing the drivers number & initial. Yes the teams might complain about loosing some sponsorship space but surely the fans being able to spot their favourite driver should be more important?


Having read James's site for almost 10 years now; I have a feeling that this site serves as a medium of feedback for the FIA and F1 in some or other capacity. Hence I think it is wrong for this site to offer up and opinion on this subject and bias it's readers.

Personally, I think that one simply cannot put a price on safety and if I have to live with Halo for a year in order for more time to be put into development of a more elegant solution, then I would gladly do so.

Who says that the Halo cannot be used to enhance and accentuate the colours identifying the drivers? Hell, use the Halo to mount a camera that faces back on the driver so that you can look him in the eyeball as he races.

I personally prefer the screen that Vettel tested recently but it clearly does need work. I am sure that the company that produced it is working on different refraction properties of the material and an aero shape to counter the issues that were experienced. F1 is the arguably the most technical sport on earth, surely someone can find a solution. There must be more PHD's walking around the paddock at any one time than there are at MIT!

I say it is a question of priorities and surely safety is exactly that. Had halo been part of open cockpit motorsport, not only would Surtees and Wilson still be with us today, but so would Jules and de Villota.


Whether the FIA did the right thing or not is a bit of a mute point in my opinion, as they did what they HAD to do.
I think the thing looks dreadful but it is by far and away the most mature solution, credit to the FIA for pushing through with this.

If left to the teams and drivers this would drago on forever.
THIS is one of the main reasons why the FIA exists people !
Tyre tethers
HANS (I remember the resistance to that one too, by the way !)
Higher sides
More stingent nose tests
Spine supporting extraction seats . . ..

All of those things were forced upon the teams.

Sure the FIA gets it wrong sometimes an certainly the super complex Hybris PUs may be one such example, but to have tested a SAFETY feature for five years and then not introduce it ?
It is a no brainer that it has to be introduced and hopefully, in fact most likely, it will be replaced by an open canopy style solution in a couple of years time and everyone, incl. me, will be happy again.

My point:
- It looks awful, truly
- It nevertheless has to come, they stalled as much as they could


Aesthetics aside, the halo is a device that does very little to protect the driver and in fact likely adds to the danger. Newsflash, RACING IS DANGEROUS. Maybe the halo stops Massa from eating a spring and Justin Wilson a nose cone... but had that been a wheel, like the sort that flew off JV's crash at Melbourne and Monza 2000, the Halo would have folded and just became something to impale the driver. There are just events that you can't predict nor protect from. The attempt to further sanitize the sport is a waste.


First they screwed the sound of the cars and now they are going to screw the looks too. F1 cars are getting less inspirational all the time. I pay about 30 euros in a month to see F1 from TV and first time in the time I've been following F1, I'm starting to think that should I spend that money on something else. And should I stop dreaming about attending an F1 race someday.


I voted NO.
Just like FIA with Halo, I stand steadfast in my decision that this will be my last season watching and following F1, unless they withdraw it. Goodbye, it was great while it lasted.


Will someone please explain to me how the halo would have saved Henry Surtees. Look at the Red Bull photo above - a falling tire is still able to hit you on the head. How about extending the intake port over the driver's head ? Daft looking but more effective. The FIA oversees the IoM TT ! Why the safety disparity ? Oh dear, what shall be done ?


As alluded to, these sort of decisions *always* end up having unintended consequences that call into question the original judgement. Time alone will tell.

That said, while the purist in me wants to see sleek and beautiful F1 cars, I've accepted the decision and am kinda over it already. Hopefully when they are fully integrated into the design they won't look so hideous, and we will get used to them.


I don't understand why they don't just raise and lengthen the cockpit sides, it would probably reduce visibility and require mirror tweaks (larger, mounted more forward etc) but it would achieve the same result and look more in step with the existing lines of the car.


The way the FIA has gone about head protection is bad for competition. Ferrari developed the halo (I think). Could there not be a competitive advantage as they may have taken into account how the device would influence their chassis and their competitors chassis as well. FIA tech regs require chassis crash tests but do they design the chassis for all the teams? No. Each team designs a chassis which will pass the test. Why isn't this same process used for head protection?


I've thought about this over the last few days and I've decided that for UK fans at least, none of this matters. When FTA ends at the end of next season, the majority of us will disconnect for good any way, so they could put inflatable bumpers on the cars and limit them to 30 mph for all it matters. Silverstone no more? So what. Ugly cars? Won't be able to watch so who cares. F1? Something I used to watch when I was able to. My son is already bored with it and is far more into MotoGP because of the passing and last lap tension. Why do we care about the halo? Bring it on. Sorry for being down on F1, I do love it, but I've essentially been told by the commercial rights holder that I'm no longer welcome because I don't have the money. Tough.


I'm against the Halo simply because it's a rubbish version of head protection, that could have implications for visibility and could impede escape from the cockpit!

The fact that it won't stop a Massa type accident from happening is proof enough that it's rubbish at protecting the driver's head.

If Luciano Burti had his Spa 2001 crash with a halo, who knows but perhaps a tyre could have went under the halo and trapped him in the cockpit???

The shield should have been pursued and developed, the Halo is a rush job and a feeble attempt at head protection.

franco petrella

I can see things getting stuck in that gap. It is definitely worth a try though.