Strategy Group rejects Halo for 2017

2017 F1 season

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The Formula One Strategy Group has decided against implementing the Halo head protection system next season.

A statement issued by the FIA said the group had “agreed unanimously that the 2018 season will see the introduction of frontal cockpit protection for Formula One cars in order to significantly enhance the safety of the drivers”.

German GP Thursday in pictures
The FIA previously stated in February that Halo was the “preferred option” for introduction in 2017.

However the Strategy Group today declared that “owing to the relatively short time frame until the commencement of the 2017 Formula One season it would be prudent to use the remainder of this year and early next year to further evaluate the full potential of all options before final confirmation”.

“This will include undertaking multiple on-track tests of the ‘Halo’ system in practice sessions during the rest of this season and during the first part of the 2017 season.”

“While the Halo is currently the preferred option, as it provides the broadest solution to date, the consensus among the Strategy Group was that another year of development could result in an even more complete solution.”

“Halo remains a strong option for introduction in 2018,” it added.

Earlier today Sebastian Vettel claimed around “95%” of drivers were in favour of introducing the Halo and urged the FIA to force its introduction on safety grounds if the teams failed to back it.

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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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56 comments on “Strategy Group rejects Halo for 2017”

  1. Your move, FIA.

    1. @craig-o Indeed. And with a lawsuit looming over the most recent fatality, can they really afford to do anything other than force it through?

      1. @keithcollantine

        Can you please just take over the sport soon?

      2. @keithcollantine The lawsuit is silly though, and I think its generally accepted that Halo won’t make any difference on that case. Besides since they just delaying it for more study, I think it’s a very acceptable reason.

      3. they have nothing to stand on, they gave pole to a guy who blew through two double yellows by taking a slow in, fast out, and whisked through a purple sector while it was yellow.

        The FIA blamed Bianchi for overdoing it on double yellows, but gave pole to a guy last race. Their inconsistency in regulating the performers, and complete disregard (for which they almost always stop racing/VSC for) the big iron tub that was parked right in the path off a car that had departed the track at a high risk area.

        The FIA have nothing to stand on, the hopes that people will believe they are right. Bianchi would be alive today had that tractor not been parked in the direct line of fire, big iron tractors that suck people under them offer very little safety. It’s okay to be wrong, and make a mistake, but when you completely disregard responsibility, or the inability to self govern, thats when you become a serious legal liability and open yourself up for serious discredit.

        1. *only the hopes…

        2. Justin (@vivagilles27)
          29th July 2016, 6:11

          You just might be on to something. I think we can all agree a Halo doesn’t stop a tractor. There is a chance it might have helped Massa but not like a wind screen. The Justin Wilson incident and some other deaths in lower formula are already avoidable with the tyre tethers. F1 or whomever is responsible for a tractor being on the circuit need to pay the Bianchi family.

          1. “F1 or whomever is responsible for a tractor being on the circuit need to pay the Bianchi family.”

            @vivagilles27 The problem is not the tractor per se, but it is the lack of enforcement of the double waved yellow. If the tractor was not there the situation wouldn’t be any less dangerous. Bianchi’s car was probably going to crash into Sutil’s car which at the time was being attended to by marshals. So the drivers should know and respect that they should “slow and be prepared to stop” when they see double yellow.

        3. Comment of the day for me. I was going to say something similar but couldn’t find the right words. Well said.

  2. Interesting. So I wonder if this means the FIA could still force it through as SV suggests?

    1. Uh…but didn’t the FIA sell the technical governance rights to Bernie back in 2013, so Mr Road Safety Todt could pursue his global (UN-sanctioned) road safety ambitions? The result is the ‘Formula One Strategy Group’ which is a voting member of the group.

      1. The result is the ‘Formula One Strategy Group’ which, the FIA, is a voting member of the group.

  3. I think halo is non sence.. tighten up yellow flag rules, all thats needed…

    1. Tires only fly during yellow flags?

      1. Yes tires do only fly during yellow flags, apart from the 1-2 seconds of reaction time from the marshals.

        1. @hohum

          Henry Surtees would disagree.

          1. @mike, not F1, and are you sure there were no yellow flags at the time. I think Massa would have a better case to argue but I’m not sure the Halo would have helped him.

          2. Michael Brown (@)
            29th July 2016, 4:52

            @HoHum It’s not like F2 had open cockpits and open wheels like F1. Wait.

          3. @mbr-9, Wait again, the subject is yellow flags and “Halo” in F1.

  4. This has to be the best decision they’ve made for some time

    1. WheeledWarrior
      28th July 2016, 18:13

      Second that.

      1. +1

        Third that!

        1. forth that.

  5. I honestly don’t really think the Halo is the final piece to securing the head of a driver. It looks terrible and that seems to be a big argument whilst it shouldn’t be one. In the end it’s quite obvious for me, enforce and clear up the rules surrounding yellow flags and certain critical situations (double yellows, VSC, SC) for both driver, team but also the marshalls rather than implementing this Halo. Too often you see marshals running on the track whilst the yellows aren’t even out yet.

    The news around track limits however is quite disturbing. As I have said before I’m a strong advocate of a really strict enforcement of the simple white line that everyone can see via the electric tools we have and have used in Hungary. Yes, I like to see gravel traps everywhere instead of miles of run off but sadly that is no longer the time we live in.

    1. I’m indifferent as to whether or not they implement the halo, but I don’t see how attending to flag rules prevents accidents that can cause large debris to hit a driver in the head. Flags and VSC’s happen after an incident and are there to prevent further incident but halos would protect a driver during an initial incident.

  6. This is not over by a long shot. It will be interesting to see how this plays out as a power struggle between Jean Todt and the FIA versus the FIA Strategy Group and other teams. In the old days, Max Mosley would simply introduce the halo as a mandatory safety regulation and that was it for the teams-embrace it or don’t race.

  7. Is this against halo in general or do they think it is just too soon to implement it and more testing is needed?

  8. tonight will be the best sleep i had in years

    1. Is it because people aren’t complaining about you at this point of the season?

  9. Seems like good news for me, hopefully they concentrate on improving helmets instead which has the bonus of ‘real world ‘ benefits.

    1. Nowdays helmets wisthand huge g-force impacts quite succesfull, it’s our human brain that can’t handle the deceleration.

      1. …so the idea it’s to eliminate quite any potential direct impact to the helmet, because ironically it won’t break the helmet but it will shatter your brain.

      2. I would think if there was a way of having the helmet tight to the back of the cockpit it would take the full hit then it just needs to be stronger.

        I wonder if the helmets were strengthened after massa’s accident?

        1. @glynh Yes they were. Especially the visor area.

  10. I’m not against some form of head protection – in fact I’m very much for it – I just think they can come up with a better and more integrated solution than the halo.

    I think that’s probably the view most in the strategy group had too. Hopefully this drives development of a better and far more suitable solution.

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      29th July 2016, 9:24

      This is my position too @sparkyamg. I think the Halo was only a stopgap towards eventual full canopy integration anyway, and so we would end up look backing on these years as the time F1 cars looked stupid(er).
      I’d like to see elements from the McLaren MP4-X and Red Bull X1 concepts integrated into a radical overhaul of the Formula for 2020.

  11. :D how predictable…

    95% drivers want it, Seb says they’d be stupid not to have something that prevents 17% of all deaths in racing…

    Yet in comes Strategy Group and says “oh nohes!”…

    They’d be stupid not to have it, and there they go not have it. I guess teams want to look good and cover their behinds for next year, in saying “we were against it but FIA forced us.”

  12. Can the FIA just reject it…. FOREVER? Good decision, but could have been much better.

  13. This is all to do with Red Bull wanting their aeroscreen instead of the Halo. The Halo was selected out of all the reviewed options, Red Bull have an option which they know gives an aerodynamic benefit to the team which understands it best (them), so they will have vetod the Halo in the strategy group, or run the argument “Fans don’t like it” successfully.

    If you’re cynical about such matters that is….

    1. Even I’m not that cynical.

  14. I’m glad it didn’t happen. Ugly ugly.
    The cars are already many times saver then in the past.

  15. I think the Halo looks horrible.
    Hope FIA don’t enforced it.
    Wiht all the resouces they have they can’t think of a better solution?
    Lets see what happens.

  16. It doesn’t look slick but something is needed. Wish they would just raise the entire front of the car to form a nose and aero type screen.

  17. I am glad that they did not go for an introduction straight away. I understand the need for safety but it’s not an attractive solution to the problem. There must be some engineer out there who can come up with something better.

    I have heard before that this solution would not have saved Jules Bianchi anyway. I guess it might have been effective in other situations though. I think the rule makers need to be very strict about rules relating to safety on track including those relating to the tracks running the event.

    Hopefully a little more time will give rise to a better solution.

  18. Vettel is becoming a grumpy old man. :-)

    1. Vettel is a parent with loads of money and titles, it’s not surprising that his view now is different to that of an ambitious 19 year old.

  19. I don’t think Vettel “urged” the FIA to introduce the Halo at all in his comments in the presser. He said the drivers weren’t against it and the FIA could do what they want… He also repeated that it was ugly implying there could be better solutions.

  20. All those that feel strongly that the halo shouldn’t be implemented in 2017 as at least an interim form of head protection: please contact that FIA and place all of your worldly assets in a trust to help pay for the lawsuit that will come if there is a driver injury that would have been prevented if the halo was on the car.

    Yeah, that’s what I thought. Easy to say, when it’s not your body or your money on the line. If something like what I outlined above were to happen, it could would be catastrophic: for the driver AND for the future of the sport.

    Yes, the halo is pretty ugly. Well, so are the cars and they’ve been ugly for years: in addition to the aero design, a lot of the ugly aspects of current F1 cars are based on safety. It essential and that’s they way it’s going to be and the way it should be (safety first). I’ve been watching F1 since 1961 and yes of course the cars were more aesthetically pleasing in days gone by, but I would trade any of that to have seen Clark, Senna and countless more live to fulfill their careers.

    1. Justin (@vivagilles27)
      29th July 2016, 6:24

      So where is your advocacy for the thousands of kids racing in Karts every day? I race every other weekend in karts and I have quit many times only to come back the next race. It’s called accepted risk. I do it. Parents do it with their own kids because they know their kids accept the same risk. These guys don’t race if the helicopter can’t fly them to the hospital. Give me a break.

  21. They could make a taller head rest, protruding a bit forward and upward and with a big cushion in the back to absorb impact.

  22. Not really seen it mentioned anywhere but I was just told that the strategy group also voted to be more lenient on track limits because its too hard to judge if any advantage has been gained.

    The feeling been that if everybody is doing it then nobody is really gaining anything so they feel a “free for all” is better than how its been until now.

    Incidentally IMSA took a similar approach at COTA last year-

    1. @gt-racer, maybe they should just make the tracks oval, no advantage then.

  23. Whatever happened to this idea?
    Looks aggressive and if strong enough, would deflect a tyre over the drivers head.

  24. Justin (@vivagilles27)
    29th July 2016, 7:03

    I am glad to hear of this decision.

    First, I do not believe the benefit of head safety outweighs having a huge pole in the direct center of the driver’s vision. I remember drivers asking to have tiny antennas moved out of their way in the name of safety back when telemetry became the new fad. The reaction time of a driver to what is directly in front of them is the greatest deterrent to an accident.

    Second, let us put this in perspective. Driving a car, or any other vehicle is an accepted risk. If the Halo is essential to the acceptable risk for one to be a Formula One driver, then we have gone too far. Where does the protesting F1 driver retire to after the rejection of the Halo? Moto GP? Karting? Please explain that to me, the 44 year old father of two who goes club racing. Explain that to my friends who set (not buckle) their kids into a kart that can do 120kph. I do it because I love it. My friends allow it because his kids love it just as he did.

    The “you can always quit if you don’t like it” argument no longer applies to Formula One, granted. This is no longer a blood sport. But what Formula One would be doing by accepting this ridiculous assault to the very DNA of the sport is a final declaration that racing is no longer a risk, to the overt point that the average fan realizes that a trip to the market is more dangerous than Fernando Alonso launching over a Hass in Australia.

    If the FIA had any balls, they would start at the bottom, not the top. The loss of Jules Bianchi is not a matter of car safety. It was a matter of circuit safety and bad training of personnel.

    1. Wow, spoken like the kind of guy who should NEVER be allowed anywhere near safety rule making. That fake tough guy bravado should be thrown back to the 60s and 70s when drivers died from easily correctable rules that couldn’t be installed because people said it would change the sport. Sorry, it didn’t and this won’t, other than not give you your sacrifice of a driver to make you feel stronger than others because it’s risky. If it makes you stop watching, I’d say that’s F1s gain not a loss.

  25. Why not just try the slow zones like in WEC this year, yellow flags = 50mph. The cars have all got telemetry and can be monitored to check they are abiding by the speed limit and it removes any contentions “well I slowed down a little” nonsense.

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