FIA settles for Halo cockpit protection for 2018
In yesterday's Formula One Strategy Group meeting, it was decided unanimously that as of 2018, Formula One cars will be equipped with the Halo cockpit protection device, a much debated solution to improve protection against objects that would impact a driver's helmet.
"Following the unanimous agreement of the Strategy Group, in July 2016, to introduce additional frontal protection for Formula One and the repeated support from the drivers, the FIA confirms the introduction of the Halo for 2018. With the support of the teams, certain features of its design will be further enhanced.
"Having developed and evaluated a large number of devices over the past five years, it had become clear that the Halo presents the best overall safety performance."
The Halo was however much contested, with fans and drivers highlighting several issues. Ranging from Romain Grosjean saying he did not see why it was needed, to Kimi Raikkonen saying it was annoying for visibility.
A recent run by Sebastian Vettel, with a polycarbonate transparent screen was unsuccesful however, requiring the German to abort his run as he said he was "getting dizzy" from it. The detachable screen was run for two laps in FP1 at Silverstone, before it was removed.
As this outcome appeared to make it impossible to get this alternative ready in time for the 2018 season, the FIA pushed on and decided to introduce the solution that has potentially the least impact on drive visibility.
For the first time, all teams competing in the FIA Formula One World Championship were present at the meeting with observers from Renault Sport Formula One Team, Scuderia Toro Rosso, Sauber F1 Team and Haas F1 Team in attendance.
In addition to the acceptance of the Halo, all attendees were informed of the progress made for the 2021 power unit regulations.
Cost control was also on the agenda once again, but this time saw unanimous support of all teams regarding a possible new approach as presented by the FIA.
"A new approach to cost control was presented and received unanimous support. A dedicated Working Group made up of representation from the Commercial Right Holders, the FIA and the teams will be tasked to come up with innovative solutions aimed at ensuring the sport remains sustainable in the coming years."
Finally, a decision was also made to carry out specific studies towards some undisclosed measures to "improve the show".