GPDA back HALO in 2018

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The last I checked, most of the teams, drivers and fans dislike the controversial HALO device intended to protect the driver’s head in a Formula 1 car. Never mind that, the FIA announced this week that they’re going with in 2018 and everyone else can just suck it up. What??!! Are you against SAFETY??!!

The three trump cards of F1, as I have stated for several years now, are sustainability, safety and money. Pretty much in that order these days. Anything F1 might do can be instantly trumped via sporting or technical regulation via one of these trump cards and the safety card actually can be imposed with little say form teams or drivers or even the owners of F1. This is where the former F1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone, earned his pay. He would normally prevent such a ham-fisted move before it turned the remaining fans of F1 off the scent.

I’ve said all along that F1’s continued dedication to the art of pragmatism is its worst trait. Pragmatism is not a virtue, it’s a compromise and in many cases the wrong move. The HALO may save lives and while it was a junior series freak accident that tragically took the life of Henry Surtees and an equally freak accident in Indycar that claimed the life of Justin Wilson, neither of those are Formula 1 and neither of those series are rushing to use the HALO in 2018. At least I have not read that they are deploying it, I could be wrong.

The HALO, most likely, would not have given us a different outcome in Jules Bianchi’s tragic accident and may have actually made things worse in Fernando Alonso’s Australian accident in 2016. Will it deform, will it become detritus during a crash that the driver cannot navigate around if injured and needing to exit the vehicle quickly? Are there safeguards to quickly remove the unit in the event of extrication?

Lots of questions that I have not read empirical data on that assuage those fears. Did I mention that they look hideous too and that the driver’s line of sight is compromised by a stanchion? Never mind because the Grand Prix Driver’s Association is in favor of the device.

“With regards to the introduction of additional head protection, as stated various times, us drivers respect the FIA’s stand on safety and support their ongoing quest to make racing safer,” Wurz told Autosport.

“Over recent decades, we have seen increasing speeds and ever faster lap times, and this ultimate racing quest is solely possible due to increasing safety.

“Equally, over the same period of time we have seen an increase in popularity of our sport.

“F1 is a role model for ever increasing safety without jeopardising performance.

“Whilst the halo solution might not be the most aesthetically pleasing for everyone, us drivers will nevertheless race and push as hard as we can on track, which is the key for F1 to continue its growth and popularity.”

I’m not suggesting that the FIA haven’t tried to research a device to protect drivers heads but the article says they just have to go with this because they can’t sit around anymore. I would hate to be the driver actually hurt or killed by this device and then face a lengthy legal battle with the FIA. 

We know what an errant suspension rod can do and one need look no further than 1994 to see that. Having this apparatus so close to the driver’s head doesn’t seem like a good idea to me.

Some fans of “SAFETY” will say that all the detractors will have to answer for their disdain of a safety device the next time a Wilson or Surtees incident happens in F1. I think there is, right or wrong, and element of risk the drivers all know when they climb into a car. That sentiment doesn’t help the Surtees or Wilson family, I know, but if it actually harms someone, who will answer for that? It’s all speculation and it is hard to make such sweeping moves in the world of odds and speculation. But to their credit, it’s also hard to do nothing. A tough call for sure. 

Hat Tip: Autosport

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Hanwi
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Hanwi

I’m all for safely but this is like putting an albatross on Gal Gadot’s head. The thing is ugly and if it goes upside down I don’t know how they will be able to get out. Not to mention it will obstruct an already limited view. If they are going the halo route just put a cover on the cockpit and be done with it.

Zachary Noepe
Guest
Zachary Noepe

She could still be my plus one with the albatross and all.

REDRACER
Guest
REDRACER

We just need some of that Transparent aluminum from Star Trek IV and problem solved.

Member

The Shield and Aeroscreen were made out of transparent materials, why not make the halo transparent, too?

longshot
Guest
longshot

I doubt there’d be a transparent material strong enough to stop a wheel travelling at 225km/h, which is how they tested the Halo. Even if there were, it may not improve the looks that much as there’d be reflections, and the light passing through the Halo would be distorted – it’d look quite odd.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Try the searches below, and check out the videos embedded in the pages you’ll find to see what transparent material can do with a wheel (and tyre) at 220kph
F1 COCKPIT SAFETY-RACECAR ENGINEERING
RACECAR-ENGINEERING .COM/UCE-CLOSED-COCKPITS-TO-FI
You’ll be amazed!

Negative Camber
Guest

“Computer! How quaint.”

Takethisone First
Guest
Takethisone First

Mark my words. We are going to have many crashes from behind on the straights while trying to pass with drs.
Can’t measure distant perfectly with this thing between your eyes while looking straight.

longshot
Guest
longshot

Firstly, while it may improve safety in the vary rare circumstance of a loose wheel bouncing around the track, it will worsen safety in terms of obstructed vision (especially on tracks with elevation changes), claustrophobia which can’t be good for driver confidence & skill levels, and hampering egress. As Takethisone First said, this will likely _cause_ crashes. The GDPA (which doesn’t even represent half the drivers on the grid) is in favour because Alex Wurz is just as much a politician as Jean Todt. I don’t believe either are really trying to improve safety, they’re trying to be SEEN to… Read more »

Hanwi
Guest
Hanwi

I’m not sure about people switching off but I agree with the rest of it.

Zachary Noepe
Guest
Zachary Noepe

I am sure about it because I’m one. I will stop watching F1 over this. Let’s be honest, it takes a lot of patience to find something to love about this sport, this is supposed to be the most exciting season in a long time because of the points but have we even seen a car abreast the leader’s car once this year? Have we been three or four races without a legitimate overtake? You really have to think about the subtleties of tire compounds or points math/parts usage in order to find any drama, or else get off on… Read more »

Hanwi
Guest
Hanwi

I agree with everything you said but as with real football (American that is) it is just much watch tv because when that perfect race/game happens it’s magical. Collegiate athletics more often offer the holy grail of euphoria but there is something about Verstappen making a late braking epic inconceivable pass or Brady throwing a TD pass to win a SB that cannot be surpassed.

Zachary Noepe
Guest
Zachary Noepe

Good point i was at Fenway for Jackie Bradley’s catch last week, won’t forget that one.

longshot
Guest
longshot

Heh, just wait till the FIA turn their sights on MotoGP…

http://cyrilhuzeblog.com/wp-content/uploads/motorcyclesgreenerthancars.jpg

Zachary Noepe
Guest
Zachary Noepe
Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

The halo ugly or not will protect against large objects on track. Like wheels, nose cones and cars that will break your neck plus extra protection like when hitting a barrier under a freak angle (like Wehrlien at Monaco). I don’t think a halo, canopy or shield would slow the driver extraction process much, a driver still can’t get out of a rolled over car that lands on its roll hoop. When other safety measures were mandated, like hans and cockpit high sides the same or maybe more of the same ruckus was much in vogue. Now that the FIA… Read more »