Halo chosen ahead of aeroscreen for 2017
Despite offering better protection from flying debris, the aeroscreen was rejected after suffering damage in FIA tests
Formula 1 bosses have selected the halo as the head-protection device that will be introduced into the sport for 2017.
The decision has been made because the rival aeroscreen device, which had been championed by Red Bull and had, in April, emerged as the frontrunner on the grounds of perceived better aesthetics, ran into trouble.
The aeroscreen had performed well in initial tests, but the device was badly damaged in ofcial FIA trials before the Monaco Grand Prix. The FIA’s self-imposed deadline for choosing a protection device was the end of June, and while it believed a solution could be found to the aeroscreen’s problems, it did not think this could be resolved by the deadline.
Testing of the aeroscreen will continue, however, with a view to its future use in F1. It is believed to have an advantage over the halo in that the screen provides extra protection from ying debris, but it has unresolved disadvantages. One of these is the question of how visibility will be affected in wet weather or in cases where there is glare from the sun.
Both devices need to be revised to provide enough ‘free head space’ for the driver. This concept is based on knowledge of how much a driver’s head can move in a high-energy accident, and dictates an area into which nothing must protrude. The FIA has discussed the issue with Red Bull, but a prototype has yet to be produced to take this into account.
Final tests will be undertaken using a revised version of the halo, made from titanium rather than steel, which will have a slightly smaller section where the three arms of the halo meet in front of the driver’s head. No problems that could prevent its introduction next season are foreseen, and a nal decision will be made by the Strategy Group, before it is voted on by the F1 Commission and FIA World Council.
Objections are not expected. A senior source said: “Everyone accepts it needs to be done.” If necessary, however, the FIA has the right to force it through on safety grounds.