F1 'halo' cockpit safety device is 'least worst option'

Head protection system is not universally popular, but is the only viable choice for 2018

Sebastian Vettel and F1 halo system
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel tests the 'halo' cockpit protection device
(Image credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images)

F1 will have a very different look next year after it was announced that all cars are to be fitted with the controversial "halo" cockpit safety system.

The decision was taken at a meeting of governing body FIA in Geneva this week, even though "there was opposition from the majority of teams", The Times claims.

FIA "has been adamant that some sort of head protection would be fitted for the 2018 season to protect drivers from debris, with the halo and the 'shield' the front runners", adds the paper.

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Tests of the "shield" were held at Silverstone at the British Grand Prix, but Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel managed only one lap of a planned three as it made him feel "dizzy".

"The halo has had far more extensive testing, with every team running it at least once last year," says the Times.

However, it has not proved popular with drivers.

Lewis Hamilton described the halo, which is designed to block debris, "as the 'worst-looking modification' in the sport’s history", reports The Guardian. "The British driver changed his mind following a subsequent safety presentation but the aesthetics of the device, with its three prongs which run at approximately head height around the cockpit, has courted criticism."

However, it appears to have been adopted as the least worst option after the latest unsuccessful test of the shield.

"The 'halo' was found to be the only device that both successfully passed the test of deflecting a wheel fired at it at 150mph and provided a largely unobstructed view," says the BBC.

"Some drivers have expressed concerns… on aesthetic and philosophical grounds. But, as a collective body, they are in favour of additional head protection."

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