It’s 2018 and it’s time for the Halo

Time for the Halo

So it happened. Here we are about to start another F1 season and after so much debate and arguing, the Halo is finally here. The new cars are being unveiled and with them is the brand new safety device that, according to Mercedes, is strong enough to hold a bus.

Toto

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said “it’s an awful thing” and that he would like to saw it off if he could, when he spoke to ESPN recently. He went on to say it was too heavy and it has been tough to build it into the design of the car. He went on to say the entire rig weighs about 10 kg and as it sits so high on the car, the centre of gravity has changed and a lot of compensation was needed. However, he also said we have to look after the drivers. So, like many others, he is able to accept it, if a little reluctantly.

All Teams

There is no doubt Toto’s feelings will be echoed across the other teams when it comes to design. There are a number of discussions about looking for a better looking alternative in the future but for now, at least, the Halo is here to stay.

Will They All Look the Same?

Initially, it was thought all the Halo structures would look the same. Whilst there is not much room to “play” you can be sure the teams will try. First of all, they can paint the structure – there was a lot of talk about it having to be black initially. There is also around 20mm of wiggle room in terms of aero and a number of teams have made pains to help increase airflow over the device.

Visibility and Safety

Whilst it looks like it would make it hard to see forward, the drivers all say it does not impact on things very much. In terms of safety, it is a mixed bag. On the one hand tests show it would have improved outcomes in 15 out of 17 of the last major crashes involving things coming into the cockpit. On the other, it only offers a 17% improvement on smaller objects hitting drivers. It has also been pointed out that it would not have saved Bianchi when he hit a track vehicle in Japan 2014.

The Future

No one wants to see drivers hurt so, ultimately, the Halo is a good thing. For many it is one step too far but for others it’s just part of how things have to be. It is certainly a challenge from a design point of view but, no doubt, everyone will forget all about it when the first set of lights go green!

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