Halo made little difference to visibility – Raikkonen

2016 F1 season

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Kimi Raikkonen says the Halo driver head protection device he tested this morning did not cause any significant visibility problems.

The structure, which may be mandatory on F1 cars next year, is intended to offer better protection from flying debris. It features two curves bars above the driver’s head and one in front which is pinched at the bottom to minimise blockage to vision.

The Halo cockpit protection device. More pictures
“The difference to the usual driving was surprisingly small,” said Raikkonen after using the device for a single run at the beginning of today’s test.

“The visibility is just a little bit limited at the front but I don’t think this is the final version of the device, so it can be improved further.”

Today was Raikkonen’s final run in Ferrari’s SF16-H before the first race of the year in Australia. “It was one of our best days of testing,” he said after setting the quickest lap of the test so far.

“We could run without a single stop, except for the red flags on track. Maybe we could have been faster on some laps, but in general the feeling was fine and we are more or less happy with the way things are going.”

“Of course there’s always room to improve and work to do,” he added. “Like I said many times, I don’t like guessing so there’s no point in figuring out where we’ll be in Melbourne.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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20 comments on “Halo made little difference to visibility – Raikkonen”

  1. “The visibility is just a little bit limited at the front but I don’t think this is the final version of the device, so it can be improved further.”

    I think this is the important part, so it does obstruct at some extent the visibility. I would also question the case when driver turns left for example, his right eye can have the view not obstructed but disturbed, the corner of his eye will be disturbed by the halo and ether he would not notice a car coming from the right or he might have to move somehow his head to have a better view.

    Their head must obviously be protected, so why not use canopy? This halo could prove dangerous in cases like in Massa accident, it could deflect an object down on his chest or belly, imho.

    1. The problem of using the Canopy regards driver rescue after an accident, more specifically when a card is partially on top of another, like Alonso and Raikonnen in Austria 2015.
      But I agree with you that the canopy is the way that provides the most protection, but it has this downside… I believe that there’s no perfect solution, and this ‘Halo’ thing they created is the best so far.

    2. Then they’d have to add air conditioning as well to cool the cockpits, which would further bring up the weights of the cars. Le Mans cars with closed cockpits, air conditioning is mandatory, and the interior cannot go over 32 degrees C.

    3. A canopy shaped to fit round the typical F1 cockpit would likely also have some visibility issues. Because of the need for strength, it’ll need to be made of quite thick material and this, coupled with the tight curvature, may create significant distortion, making objects appear displaced from their true position, and disguising their true size.

      There’s no easy answer.

      1. But there is an easy answer. Don’t do anything. Death is 100% nobody gets out of life alive.

        1. RaceProUK (@)
          4th March 2016, 9:35

          The easy answer is to throw all safety concerns out the window?

    4. “This halo could prove dangerous in cases like in Massa accident, it could deflect an object down on his chest or belly, imho.”

      THIS is something i was really thinking. This Halo could actually be deadly in such an incident. Considering the height the spring came from and the place it hit Massa then if this Halo was there it would most likely have passed under it and make no difference or hit the bottom of the halo changing course and hitting his body.
      And considering the damage it did to his helmet it would most likely have killed him if it hit his body.

  2. “The difference to the usual driving was surprisingly small”

    must be the press team’s translation of “it’s ok”

  3. Very encouraging regarding a progression toward improved protection and safety for our revered F1 drivers. Hopefully IndyCar and other single seater series follow suit soon.

  4. I can’t help but feel my personal impression of F1 will be fundamentally changed for the worse seeing a whole field of cars wearing these :(

    1. I’m sure people said something similar 50 years ago when drivers had to wear helmets and not just a leather cap and a pair of goggles

    2. @scottie – I used to feel somewhat the same way. But, my fundamental impression of single seater racing changed for the worse while watching a piece of heavy debris bounce off Justin Wilson’s helmet and fly about 50 to 75 feet in the air. Seeing this and other incidents over the years has led me to believe that drivers’ lives and safety are far more important than whatever sentimental value I may have after watching open cockpit single seater racing for over fifty years.

      I look forward to the continued evolution towards improved safety that this will bring. The engineering, expertise, ingenuity and talent is already in place to improve safety without diminishing the racing. Improving safety is always a worthwhile goal in what will still continue to be a dangerous sport. Hopefully somewhat less dangerous when these measures are implemented.

    3. RaceProUK (@)
      4th March 2016, 11:26

      The same has been said about helmets, seatbelts, and HANS. Yet today, no driver would dare race without them.

  5. I have no issues with the aesthetics. It looks racy. I can even see potential for aero benefits if teams are allowed to develop it that way.

  6. Maybe we can take it 1 step further and have some kind of air bag system build into it?

    1. Scott Bailey
      5th March 2016, 3:23

      Maybe one further again and incorporate a better mirror system into the back side of the halo. That way it can work like a full rear vision mirror/camera giving the driver much better side and rear vision. This also elimates the drag and weight caused by current dated style mirrors.

  7. To me, it looks like a thong hanging out the back of someone’s jeans…

  8. I’m not sure why instead of a single pillar in front blocking the view of the drivet, they can’t have 2 pillars to the left and right? That way they can also add a windsreen down the middle to protect the driver from smaller debris but still allow drivers to get out from the side. If they require some airflow to the driver then they can lift the base of the windscreen just slightly so that there’s a gap for decent airflow.

    1. Same here, it would look better, have better forwards visibility and potentially be safer than the current ‘halo’ design.

      It would look like an actual racecar and not a rushed mess. (Yes I know this is just a test version that has not been designed for the car etc.)

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