FIA confirmed a few days back that the controversial Halo cockpit protection device will be introduced in F1 next year. Designed to reduce the risk of serious head injuries by offering drivers extra frontal protection against flying debris, the think-tank began soon after Jules Bianchi’s fatal injury in 2015 in Japan.
The Shield device had also been in the running for 2018 but after an unsuccessful debut at Silverstone last Friday, the FIA confirmed that Halo presents the best overall safety performance after having developed and evaluated a large number of devices over the past five years. However, it begs the question of disrupting the aesthetics of the car and the pure joy of the sport being open-wheeled.
The FIA wanted to run Halo on all cars this year but in July 2016 the Strategy Group voted to postpone it as more tests were felt needed for its introduction. It led to additional research around the Shield concept as it divided opinion among drivers, paddock members and fans by a greater margin.
Despite the issues, the FIA confirmed it would have the Halo debuted on all cars in 2018 as previously planned in a hope that with the support of the teams, certain features of its design will be further enhanced. It seems to be the only option available for FIA to implement additional cockpit protection soon.
In the last meeting of the Strategy Group, the subject of the 2021 engine regulations, cost cutting and improving the show were also discussed. Analysis of the upcoming power unit concept will be completed over the summer before being reviewed at the next meeting in September.