Controversial "halo" to arrive in F1 next year
After sporadic testing, the F1 Strategy Group says the cockpit-style "halo" will be mandatory for season 2018. Designed to protect drivers from flying debris, the slim carbon structure was chosen ahead of the aerodynamic windshield tested by Sebastian Vettel last week.
The decision to introduce frontal protection for drivers was reached in 2016, but it's taken more than 12 months for the Strategy Group to decide on what that protection should look like. An aerodynamic windshield was put to the test alongside the halo, but the distortion it caused made Sebastian Vettel "a little bit dizzy" – and if there's one thing you don't want while piloting a hybrid monster, it's dizziness.
Both the halo and windshield are a response to incidents where debris, other cars or track maintenance equipment have caused serious head injuries. The death of Jules Bianchi is the most prominent recent example, but the list of near misses dates back to the Hungary Grand Prix in 2009, when Felipe Massa was struck in the head by a flying spring.
Although it will look similar to the hoop you see above, the halo design is likely to change slightly before the start of the 2018 season. The F1 Strategy Group simply says "with the support of the teams, certain features of its design will be further enhanced."
So it makes the sport safer, and doesn't make drivers dizzy. You'd think drivers and teams would be on board, right? Well, it turns out not everyone is a fan. Lewis Hamilton used an Instagram post to label the halo "the worst looking mod in Formula 1 history," while the majority of drivers asked about the proposed safety device were against its introduction.