Halo not disturbing drivers’ vision, but glaring problem remains

In 2017, FIA announced that the Halo safety device would be compulsory for all teams in the following season, and while this decision was met with a lot of controversy from drivers and fans, the early frustration seems to have settled down.

In fact, given the latest statements coming from the paddocks, it seems like drivers actually don’t find it as that big a concern.

The halo is a titanium bar F1 now requires on its race cars, which can apparently hold the weight of a double-decker bus.

You can argue that it makes cars look like fast, aerodynamic flip flops.

FIA had decided to make this compulsory for all teams because it was deemed as the safest option in a sport that has been lucky to witness such a small amount of life-threatening injuries.

While early versions of the Halo looked far from appealing, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen argued that the view was alright in early testing, and vision from the final product didn’t look that bad in videos from last month.

The Halo might not have gotten any better to look at, but opinions certainly have become less rigid.

Even Mercedes star driver Lewis Hamilton claimed that the Halo wasn’t that bad after all, having been one of the first to ask FIA not to implement it.

Here’s a summary of what the drivers have said about the Halo so far…

Lewis Hamilton: You definitely notice it, you definitely lose some visibility with it. If you had 100 percent visibility [before] you’ve lost a certain percentage. But you just get used to it and as I started driving your mind learns to work around it.

It doesn’t really affect you in corners. I think if there’s a car in the distance down the straight you can lose a little bit of that visibility of the car but i [sic] think it will become second nature at some stage.

Fernando Alonso: I know it’s quite a big thing from the outside — also for myself, when I see the pictures I see the Halo in the middle of the vision. But when while driving for whatever reason you are focused on long distance, you are not that focused on the middle part of the chassis. So far I think the Halo is not a problem for driving.

Kimi Raikkonen: It was no different than, say, normal running. I didn’t find any issues last year and now, especially that it has been designed into the car – last year we obviously just put an extra thing in the car that was not designed for it, so it was never going to fit in as nicely as this year. It’s not an issue.

Nico Hulkenberg: You do kinda forget about it, I did one day Abu Dhabi test so knew already what it would be like. It doesn’t affect me driving to be honest, not visually, not in any other way, so for me it’s pretty transparent to have it on. No issue.

Valtteri Bottas: We’ve done some testing examples inside the simulator where the Halo is identical on many different circuits and it was no problem on any circuit for the start lights. You can always see them with one eye and that’s enough.

While there seems no problem as far as the vision is concerned, the main problem seems like getting in and out of the car, with Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly claiming that it ripped his fire suit doing so.

Others have also reportedly confessed that it’s easier to get in the cars because they can use a step from the outside, but that it takes some acrobatic jumps to get out of the car with a halo—something that won’t be super easy after long and tiring races.

The vision element doesn’t look to be a great concern, at least not for most.

As far as the appeal of the car is concerned, surely some designers are going to come up with a stellar mould soon enough!

One Comment

  1. Michael

    March 5, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    it makes cars look like fast, aerodynamic flip flops.

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