James Allison, who won the world championship with Mercedes in his first season as technical chief of the team in 2017, has spoken about the new halo device which all F1 cars will have to carry this year.
With less than a fortnight to go until the new F1 cars begin to roll out ahead of F1 testing, Allison says that the engineering required to integrate the halo into the chassis has been significant, given the massive loads the device needs to be able to withstand.
“This is not a light piece of work, it is several kilograms of titanium that needs to be put in the car,” Allison said in a Mercedes-issued video today.
“There are changes that we needed to do to accommodate it to ensure the overall car would still stay below the weight limit.
“It’s also not light because it takes really high loads.
“We had to strengthen the design of the chassis so it would be able to take roughly the weight of a London double decker bus sitting on top of the halo.
“We needed to make sure it would be strong enough to withstand the type of event it was designed to protect the driver’s head against.”
The halo raises the centre of gravity of an F1 car, which is something teams work very hard to avoid. They also have to be careful to add a fairing onto the titanium tube to ensure that it doesn’t affect the airflow to the rear wing or into the airbox.
There are mixed feelings about the halo within F1 on aesthetic grounds, while many fans have been vocal about a device which they feel cuts the drivers off and sends the wrong signals out about F1 as an extreme sport.
But driver head protection was something that was considered long overdue and this was regarded as the least-worst option, after extensive testing.
The FIA, which has mandated the use of halo in all senior single seater championships including F2 and Formula E in 2018, believes that fans will get used to it in time, much as they did with the HANS device on the drivers’ helmets.
All photos: LAT Images
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