The Halo is coming and is here to stay, thus ending Formula 1’s seven decades of open cockpits as from 2018 drivers will be surrounded by scaffold-like safety device that by all accounts will further reduce injuries and fatalities in the advent of an accident – but Mercedes boss Toto Wolff hates the idea.
According to FIA studies, the Halo had a beneficial outcome in 90% of test accident scenarios they conducted, and of course, the issue of driver safety is not negotiable but the Wolff laments how ugly the device is on sleek, modern F1 cars.
He told ESPN, “It’s a dreadful piece! We’ve had it in the staff briefing and we’ve shown it. It’s a huge piece of metal, much too heavy, it feels completely alien and I’d like to saw it off if I could!”
“But then we need to look after driver safety and if there is a device that helps to protect lives, then we need to put it on the car. Maybe in the future, we can find a solution that is a little bit more aesthetically pleasing than the halo.”
“In terms of aerodynamic development it didn’t interfere too much and everyone has the same problem.”
To accommodate the Halo the minimum weight of the cars has been increased by five kilos, but this is unlikely to be enough as the device will be heavier when mounted.
“With all the bolts and nuts it’s probably 10 kilos that you have up at the highest point in the car. So the centre of gravity moves up a large chunk and you need to compensate for that. So it’s all wrong!” added Wolff.
Big Question: Is the Halo really necessary for Formula 1?