In one of those possibly unanticipated result situations, the FIA have moved to adjust the starting lights because the new HALO obstructs some driver’s vision of the start lights depending on where they are on the grid.
“With the halo what we’ve asked every circuit to do is to make the lights at a standard height above the track,” said Whiting.
“We’ve also put a repeat set of lights, in this case off to the left, over the verge.
“Those repeat lights were normally halfway up the grid, and they were fitted round about 2009, when the rear wings became higher on the cars.
“Some drivers complained about not being able to see the main start lights, so that’s when we introduced an extra set.
“But now the wings have been lowered, there’s no need for those halfway up the grid. So I’ve decided to utilise them somewhere else.
“Pole position seems to be the worst case scenario with the halo there – maybe the driver can’t quite see the lights, or see only half of them, and he might have to move his head too much.
“But then he’s got a repeat set of lights which are five metres further down.”
In order to test the new lights, the FIA have allowed a trial on Friday of the starting procedure which is a bit unorthodox as well.
“We haven’t normally allowed practice starts on the grid here because it’s quite a tight timetable and things like that,” Whiting added.
“What I thought would be a good idea was to give the driver sight of those lights rather than have them look at them for the first time on Sunday evening.”
It would seem that all circuits will now have to invest in new lighting to accommodate the HALO but I assume the FIA knew this would be an issue back when they were entertaining making the HALO mandatory. I also recall them saying something or other about the elevation change at Spa and how it wasn’t an issue although some drivers are concerned that it could be.
F1 has a history of ushering in new regulations that beget a series of issues and unaccounted consequences—a reason I am no fan of pragmatism over prudence. If you think of the money spent already on HALO from complete new chassis fabrication for all teams, HALO safety and application studies, new circuit changes with lighting gantries and much more, it would suggest that of the three grand trump cards in the FIA’s hand—safety, sustainability and cost-cutting—safety trumps cost in the triumvirate of trump cards.
Hat Tip: Autosport