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F1 nears crunch decision on ‘Halo’ device

The FIA is nearing a decision on whether to introduce the divisive 'Halo' cockpit protection device for the 2017 season.
A final decision on whether Formula 1 will adopt the so-called 'Halo' cockpit protection device could move a step closer next week when the divisive design will be put to the teams formally in a Strategy Group meeting.

The controversial device has been created in response to drivers' concerns about head protection and cockpit safety in the wake of fatal accidents for Jules Bianchi and IndyCar driver Justin Wilson, but has divided opinion between drivers.

The device was first viewed publically in March during a brief shakedown in Spain, with a revised version reappearing at Silverstone earlier this month. As it stands, the device has completed only 4 slow laps attached to a 2016 specification F1 car.

PHOTOS: The 'Halo' gets a Red Bull Racing run

However, the FIA believes a formal decision on whether to go ahead with a potential 2017 introduction is now ready to be made, with the drivers receiving a presentation from FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting during a briefing at the Hungarian Grand Prix detailing the benefits and restrictions it poses.

From here, a vote will take place at the Strategy Group meeting in Geneva next week, but even if teams decide against it, the FIA could still push the Halo through on the grounds of safety.

Though the device has received support from the likes of Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button and Daniel Ricciardo, more vocal opposition has emerged since March, with Lewis Hamilton, Nico Hulkenberg, Daniil Kvyat, Christian Horner and Pierre Gasly – who tested the device at Silverstone – against its introduction.

READ: 'Ugly' halo against tradition of F1 says Jolyon Palmer

For Kvyat, though he says there is little doubting the Halo's benefits, he feels it could have gone 'too far' in sterilising the sport.

“The arguments they gave us are very strong,” admitted. It does help us when the wheel comes off and when you roll and this and that. If we really want to, we can make Formula One completely sterile and completely safe, but the question mark is where we need to stop. I don't know if we have already gone too far or if we have reached that point with Halo.

“I might be playing the devil, but I have already said multiple times that when I come to the race track I already know it might be my last day in the office. It looks like now that it is fading away. I'm not trying to be a hero or anything, but in the end we are racing for other people and Formula One is a show. The final word [from me] would be no.

When the Toro Rosso driver was asked whether the next step for F1 would be a 'closed cockpit', Kvyat replied 'yes and this is not Formula One anymore'.

It is understood drivers were also told why the Halo represents the better option compared with the Red Bull-developed Aeroscreen, which received a more favourable response from an aesthetic perspective when it appeared at the Russian Grand Prix.
by Ollie Barstow

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
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July 23, 2016 4:16 PM
Last Edited 180 days ago

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