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F1: FIA get on more protection in cockpit with 'Halo' starting next year

FIA’s move to introduce more cockpit protection in the form of the ‘Halo’ from 2017, has drawn mixed reactions from drivers. mid-day gives you a low-down on the closed cockpit concept

What?
Formula One’s governing body, FIA, recently announced that improved cockpit protection is due to be introduced in 2017 with the ‘Halo’, their preferred option. The Halo — first pioneered by Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes team, is a bar attached to the car that curves around the driver’s head and is supported in front by an upright strut. It is designed to shield drivers from flying debris. The Halo will weigh around 10 Kgs

The Halo (outlined in red) designed by Mercedes for world champion Lewis Hamilton, who is keen on its implementation for safety of drivers
The Halo (outlined in red) designed by Mercedes for world champion Lewis Hamilton, who is keen on its implementation for safety of drivers

Why?
Racing accidents in the past have seen drivers being hit and even fatally wounded by debris flying across from cars ahead of them involved in accidents.

July 25, 2009: Brazilian Felipe Massa was struck by a spring from Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn during qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix.

July 19, 2009: Henry Surtees, son of 1964 world champion John Surtees, was killed the same year after he was hit on the crash helmet by a tyre during a Formula Two race at Brands Hatch.

Oct 5, 2014: Jules Bianchi succumbed to the devastating injuries he sustained at the Japanese Grand Prix in July.

Reactions from formula one drivers and technical experts

We now enter the design phase, where drivers need to be open to a slightly different visibility spectrum due to the additional structure (Halo)
— Alex Wurz, head of the GP Drivers’ Association


Daniel Ricciardo If they close the cockpit I am in favour.  need to change something, we need to improve the safety in that area. I hope it looks nice, but we wait and see
— Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo


Force India driver  Nico HulkenbergIt’s a personal thing. I just don’t like it (a closed cockpit). Single-seater racing has always been open, and in my eyes I would like to see it remain open.
— Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg


Red Bull team boss  Christian HornerObviously, head protection is crucial. Red Bull is making a submission for a canopy that we believe will be safer. It's more of a canopy than a halo, but needs testing
— Red Bull team boss Christian Horner

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