Date: 23rd July 2017 at 7:46am
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Formula One will introduce the controversial Halo head protection from the 2018 Formula One World Championship.

In January 2016 Formula One racers, via the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association began pushing for the introduction of head protection to Formula One.

The device has a vertical strut support in front of the driver and two arms curl around the drivers helmet towards the back of the car which provides some protection from debris.

It is unlikely to protect drivers from debris striking their helmet as was the case when Felipe Massa suffered a head injury when he was struck by a spring that had fallen off Rubens Barrichello’s car during the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying.

But it could potentially prevent tragic circumstances such as the death of Henry Surtees who was killed during a Formula Two race at Brands Hatch in 2009. Or more recently Justin Wilson who was killed after he was struck be debris during an Indy Car race.

Unfortunately the look over the Halo isn’t pleasing on the eye for many and teams attempted to create a design that was more aesthetically pleasing.

Red Bull Racing developed a canopy and at the British Grand Prix Ferrari modelled the shield.

Neither pleased the traditionalists who call for Formula One to remain an open cockpit, open wheeled sport, but once four-time Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel told Sky Sports that the shield made him a ‘bit dizzy’, that idea was almost dead in the water.

‘Forward vision is not very good. I think it’s because of the curvature, you get quite a bit of distortion, plus you get quite a bit of downwash down the straights pushing the helmet forwards. We had a run planned with it, but I didn’t like it so we took it off.’

You may have thought that this would see Formula One take a step back in development of this area, but instead within days Formula One announced the introduction of the original halo design.

‘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.’
an FIA statement on read.

With little time ahead of the new season develop it, it’s likely that it will remain looking like a flip-flop plonked over the drivers head, but the comment ‘further enhanced’ does mean it should evolve into something that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing.