Date: 11th February 2018 at 7:16am
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The introduction of the new halo for 2018 is more than just plonking the sandal looking device on the chassis as was the case in testing.

The debate over introducing head protection in Formula One really ramped up in January 2016. Formula One racers, via the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association began pushing for the introduction of head protection and from there the Halo was born.

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 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 perhaps, Justin Wilson who was killed after he was struck by debris during an Indy Car race.

It’s not clear if it would 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 even if there is even a small chance improvement to safety, then device will achieve what it was designed to do.

But its introduction is not a simple one.

When the device was tested in various Friday practice sessions in recent years, it was merely bolted onto the top of the cockpit.

It’s permanent additional will see a change to the chassis, this will be to withstand it’s weight but also to incorporate the change in aerodynamics.

‘We had to strengthen the design of the chassis so it would be able to take roughly the weight of a London double-decker bus sitting on the top of this halo,’

‘To make sure it would be strong enough to withstand the type of event that it’s designed to protect the driver’s head against.’Mercedes’ technical boss James Allison told Sky Sports.

‘Nothing in Formula 1 stands still for long and we will all be taking this first go and trying to improve it,’

‘Trying to make sure the safety gets better but also the aesthetics. It’s a bit of acquired taste and we’re still busy acquiring it, but I think there are things that we can do in coming seasons to also make it look nicer on the car.’

 

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