The HALO legal battle

When Mohammed Ben Sulayem took over as the FIA president, he was faced with a couple of challenges. A $20 million deficit and a law suit regarding teh HALO system adopted by many racing series.

Ben Sulayem mentioned that he solved the financial deficit but what intrigued me was the lawsuit over HALO. I hadn’t read this and while I am sure it has been mentioned perviously, for some reason, I never saw it.

So I went looking for the lawsuit and found it. It’s legalese and a dense read but there were some interesting elements to it. Not only was the FIA implicated but so were Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes, Dallara, Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc.

The lawsuit can be found here.

I would love to know what the resolution was and how much the FIA paid the plaintiff for his patent and to go away. The lawsuit is verbose but it lays out the reasoning and reveals the FIA were, if true, very blunt in adopting his design without compensation. The lawsuit makes it sound as if the FIA kind of just took the design and made it theirs. When pressed for licensing or other ways to work together, the lawsuit makes it sound as if the FIA simply ignored him.

Anyway, interesting read and I can understand what Ben Sulayem was facing including teams and drivers implicated in the lawsuit. Go check it out.

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Have you found the original patent application. From the sketch in the lawsuit it looks like a front roll hoop, a device that has been used in many racing series for open top cars for years (see Caterham). Why pick only the leading F1 teams, not all. Why pick only a few drivers and not all? Why no Indy teams or drivers named in the lawsuit. Finally it seems morally wrong to try and make money out of a safety device. The inventor of the safety belt deliberately did not patent it as the potential to save lives through widespread… Read more »

Xean Drury

Regarding your last point, simply because morality and money don’t often go hand in hand, sadly. ~X8