Halo, Sauber, 2016

FIA: Visibility not a problem for drivers with Halo

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: The FIA says the Halo device will not cause visibility problems for drivers.

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Gene Haas has indicated there will be no change in the driver line-up at Haas next year.

Surprising to see Haas confirm both drivers for 2017 so early. I have a feeling they’re doing it as a way to keep them motivated.

If true though, it would leave both Giovinazzi and Leclerc out in the cold. The chances of either of them getting a Ferrari seat next year is zero, so the only way they could get a race seat next year is if Grosjean goes to Ferrari and his seat opens up.

Sauber is a big question mark, and I’m not sure if Ferrari could leverage with Force India (failed it with Bianchi in 2013), even if they open up a seat there by appointing Perez. I have the sinking feeling that we may well have seen Giovinazzi’s last F1 race.

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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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  • 97 comments on “FIA: Visibility not a problem for drivers with Halo”

    1. No one says the halo is the BEST solution. Its the best SO FAR, and it’s hideous. But i rather have that until they come up with something better than not having it at all.

      1. Solution implies a problem. I reject that premise.

        1. So you don’t think it is a problem that drivers could be killed by being hit on their head by a wheel that came off a car due to it not being properly attached when mechanics were attempting to make a sub 2 second pit stop?

          1. How many times in the last 20 years has a driver been killed from a wheel that came off because it was not properly attached at a pitstop? What percentage of all pitstops in the last 20 years did that happen at?

            1. Just because something really bad hasn’t happened before does not mean it will never happen, we have seen in the past wheels come off because they were either not fitted properly or something was broken or failed and people have been hit by these wheels, a mechanic in Hungary 2010 and a cameraman in Germany 2013 are recent examples.

              When they implement the halo then the drivers will be prevented from getting hit by something as large as a loose wheel, and it will be much safer for everyone because whilst anyone to get hit by a loose wheel is devastating you certainly don’t want it to be one of the drivers. If a driver gets hit on the head whilst driving at speed and are knocked unconscious or killed then that puts many more people in danger because you will then have an out of control racing car. The halo can and will prevent such a scenario from occurring.

            2. It could happen. I don’t think anyone is denying that. But I could die / be injured at my job too. It’s a fact of life. Pretty much everything that you do can possibly harm you. It’s balancing the risks with the reward. And I simply don’t see enough danger to warrant the halo. But that’s just my opinion and I’ve never actually sat in an F1 car.

              Both of you modern examples (cameraman and mechanic) would not have been helped at all by the halo.

            3. As mentioned in the FIA article the halo protects from “car-to-car contact, car-to-environment contact and external objects”. There has been considerable discussion of debris and detached wheels but these other types of incident (car-to-car and car-to-enviroment) are also really important in terms of head protection. We have seen a number of near misses over recent years, particularly when a car is launched over the cockpit area of another car.

              The key points on these types of incident:

              “in the case of car-to-car incidents the Halo was able to withstand 15x the static load of the full mass of the car and was able to significantly reduce the potential for injuries.”

              “In car-to-environment tests it was established that the Halo was able to prevent helmet contact with a wall or a barrier in many cases, using a selection of previous incidents as a reference.”

            4. How many times (in f1 at least) in the last 23 years, a driver died for a basal skull fracture? Yet the HANS, and all the neck protection on the cockpit is mandatory

            5. The lethal tire issue has been addressed in 1994 by imposing speed limits to the pit lanes. The mechanics getting head injuries by tires has been addressed by the mandate of helmets be worn. The protection of cameramen can be done with helmets as well which save much time and money vs the halo if youre using that as a justifying reason. The whole notion of lethal tires to drivers is a non starter because cars will never travel at the speed to make the tires deadly weapons towards other drivers and since the tire is rolling forward if detached wont just turna round 180 and spin directly at the incoming car.

            6. Before Bianchi, when had a driver ever been killed by colliding with a tractor on track?

              Would you prefer to wait until a driver is killed by a wheel to implement better head protection?

              If the FIA did nothing and a driver was killed, everyone would be up in arms and demanding that something should be done. But because it hasn’t happened yet, even with close calls like Massa, people are calling for nothing to be done because the solution isn’t pretty enough!

            7. The whole notion of lethal tires to drivers is a non starter because cars will never travel at the speed to make the tires deadly weapons towards other drivers

              Except that is completely wrong. Look at this for example


              Buemi losing both front wheels at the end of one of the longest straights on the calendar, watch the trajectory of his right front. If there had be another car infront of him taking the corner that wheel could have easily took the drivers head off.

              Or this


              Same corner, Webber loses a wheel after it was not attached properly during his previous pitstop. He almost made a full lap before it came off. Luckily RBR realised it wasn’t fitted properly and told him to slow, if they hadn’t it could have come off at full racing speed.
              Even at that slow speed anyone could have come round that hairpin and collected that tyre. And remember rear tyres on a F1 car and much bigger than in 2013, even at slow speed taking one to face is not going to be pleasant is it?

        2. There is a problem: We live in the 21st Century, not the 20th Century. By the 1990s it should have been obvious there was a need for more driver protection, but nothing was done until now. Saying there isn’t a need for protection is less important than the law, which in many countries says F1 drivers do need it. Now Halo will be mandatory from the start of next season. If you don’t want Halo then you will need to change the law.
          Saying “I reject that premise” is a very poor argument when one is taken to court. It is much better to take evidence to court.

          1. Can you tell me in which countries it is illegal not to run a halo device? What do you mean exactly, what law? @drycrust

            1. @john-h That’s an interesting question. The was a recent article on F1 Fanatic discussing this. That article didn’t mention the exact laws that were relevant in each country F1 races in, or rather will race in next year, so I can’t bore you with the exact laws that apply to each race track because I don’t know them, but below I have listed which law books might be opened in the event of a death of a driver for Silverstone racetrack. And, of course, there would be a ton of contracts that were breached with consequent legal penalties that might apply, but I will ignore those.
              The Silverstone race track appears to be half in Wellingborough County and half in Kettering County, so either Wellingborough County Council by-laws or Kettering Country Council by-laws could be relevant depending on whereabouts on the track the accident happened. These county councils are within Northhamptonshire, so there may be Northhamptonshire County Council by-laws that apply, and it is within the East-Midlands region of the UK, so there could be East-Midlands by-laws that were breached. East-Midlands is part of Olde England, and I’m not sure if English law is the same as British law, but one can be certain there is a set of national laws (or maybe two sets) that would apply. Britain might still part of the EU if a driver died, so EU laws could apply as well. In addition, I think F1 has some sort of clause in their contract with the teams which states that in certain circumstances another particular set of national laws apply, it might be French law, but I’m not sure if it is French law or that of some other country that could apply as well.
              The case of the Silverstone track being covered by two sets of county council by-laws could mean that a driver died as the result of a collision that happened in one county but the car stopped and the driver died in the other county. Also, we have the potential for 4 sets of national laws that apply: Britain, England (if English laws differ from British law), EU (if Britain hadn’t withdrawn at the time a driver was killed, or Britain had rejoined the EU), and France (or whatever that other country is).

    2. “visibility was substantially unaffected”

      I didn’t know Ron Dennis found new work as FiA’s spokesperson.

    3. I fear the use of the Halo at the 2018 Australian Grand Prix will result in at least one driver blame it for an unrelated error they make.

      1. Agreed mate, “…aye well it looks like the top of a pair of bikini bottoms from underneath, and the gird girl that was there before the race had a similar pair on…” 😁😁😁

      2. I fear that in certain scenarios it can pose a risk.

        FIA claims that they simulated small objects coming at the driver from over a million angles and Halo was able to deflect 17% of those, but I fear they didn’t simulate scenarios in which a small object which would otherwise miss the driver hits the Halo. I can imagine a situation where a piece of debris can be deflected into the driver.

        I fear that sooner or later we will have an inverted car, or a car on fire, and the driver won’t be able to escape in a hurry. I fear that in one of these cases marshals might be too slow to turn it back over.

        Moreover I can imagine a serious crash where a big piece of debris, or a part of another car gets stuck between Halo and the cockpit. Imagine front wing or a nose of another car, instead of bouncing off, trapped in this space.

        So turning Halo into an excuse for unrelated errors is the least of my worries.

        Is it ugly? Yes, but we’ve had ugly F1 cars in the past, so I can live with ugly cars in 2018.

    4. If the Halo is coming, I hope they put in some camera’s.
      One pointing at the drivers head and one to the front.
      Might be some cool angles!

      1. I was thinking the halo is at the perfect height for some rearview cameras that could then help to get rid of the side mirrors. That would streamline the horizontal surfaces and open up that game.

      2. @solidg @faulty As I understand it no additional objects (Cameras etc..) will be allowed to be attached to the halo as they don’t want the risk of anything becoming detached & falling into the cockpit where it could strike the driver, Cause a distraction as it flails around or fall into the pedal area where it could cause problems.

        There is already an FIA safety camera on the top of the chassis looking back at the drivers but its not linked into the broadcast system so not available to FOM.

        There is still the option of mounting cameras in the mirrors (It’s still listed in the regulations), Something that is already possible & FOM have done many times over the years. However the teams have begun mounting there own sensors & other things in the mirrors over the past few years which has prevented FOM from using that angle due to there been no room for cameras & whatever the teams have in there.

    5. Sisqo loves the FIA right about now…

      1. Racerdude7730
        23rd July 2017, 3:09

        Brilliant lol people have forgotten about him

    6. Still no link to Will Buxton’s brilliant opinion piece on the halo? He brings up a few very good points, and doesn’t once use looks as an argument. There are plenty of reasons to be against the introduction of the halo besides aesthetics. It’s fairly obvious the halo is a primarily political move with safety being a secondary factor.

      1. The link didn’t work for some reason, so here it is: http://www.racer.com/more/viewpoints/item/142478-buxton-halo-goodbye

        1. @aarror, Keith is already aware of the existence of that article – the reason it has not been linked to is because, as @faulty rightly mentions, Keith has some concerns about the accuracy of part of that article and has requested further information from Buxton.

          To be honest, I don’t think that the article is quite as good as you think, because I do find some of the claims or examples that are given in the article questionable. Some of the historical examples that Buxton brings up are questionable – he cites Marko’s eye injury as something the halo wouldn’t have stopped, but IIRC the main reason for his injury was because Marko had chosen to wear an open faced helmet for that race.

        2. The article isn’t good at all. One paragraph that lists what drivers might’ve been saved or not by Halo, one sentence doubting if Vettel really got dizzy testing the Shield and the rest is just an attack on FIA and it’s bureaucracy. Even if that’s on point, it’s not relevant when debating the positives and negatives of Halo.He says he has 3 major issues whit Halo, but that’s the only one that is listed and it’s irrelevant to the actual purpose of the device itself.
          Btw, I also hate the Halo because there is no need for it in F1, Indycar yes. F1 is safer than your morning daily commute to work.

      2. @aarror

        the halo is a primarily political move with safety being a secondary factor

        This is very well put, and it’s a seemingly desperate political move at that.

        1. I don’t get the desperate concept that people are putting out there. And even if it’s political and safety is secondary so be it, safety still gets it’s say. I suppose all measures throughout the years could have been labelled as political…people just wanting to look like they’re doing the right thing. They should still be in aluminum tin cans in a perfect world where safety gains are shunned due to their political nature.

          Seriously though, we have seen many political moves in F1 that have actually shaped and affected F1…actually decided Champions and Championships. The halo will not be one of those.

          1. Wow it’s the blind following the blind. Yes it’s more political than the actual safety/functuality of the device. This is a solution to an issue no one has and the limp-wristed nannies need to get over the ‘safety’ aspect. It’s not F1. Also, it’ll be blamed for something come Australia – you can be certain.

      3. It has been discussed in the other roundup. The article and its author have been questioned.

      4. @aarror There are a lot of problems with that article.

        For example the suggestion that nothing else has been trailed is incorrect. Both the FIA & teams have been coming up with & putting different concept’s through crash/impact test’s including more than 1 canopy type solution.

        Additionally the reason it was just Ferrari/Vettel tested the shield at Silverstone & nobody else was because the shield is a Ferrari designed concept. And the reason Vettel only did 1 lap was because the problems he encountered matched the problems they had seen beforehand in test’s done at the factory & on the simulator. They gave it a real world test to rule out those issues been created by the simulator, When they found they were having the same problems with visibility distortion as they had suffered in the factor/simulator they felt there was no point continuing with it.

        It was the same with the aeroscreen Red Bull tested last season. They were the only team that ran with it because it was there concept. And it contrary to what Will says in the article it wasn’t simply shelved for aero reasons, It was shelved because it failed the FIA impact test’s & also had some of the same visibility concerns as the Ferrari shield.

        Will points a lot of blame on the FIA for not coming up with additional solutions after delaying the Halo’s introduction to 2018 yet ignores the fact that the FIA have been very open in asking the teams to put forward additional designs & that they have also failed to come up with a workable alternative to the halo. This isn’t just down to the FIA, Everyone involved in F1 has had the opportunity to put forward concepts which the FIA have tested & none have worked as well as the Halo without creating additional compromise in terms of things like visibility.

        Over here in the US Indycar have also been trailing things behind closed door’s & interestingly have faced many of the same problems with a screen/canopy type concepts as F1 has. They planned to have something on the car by now & had intended to reveal something towards the end of last year yet delayed it because nothing they were testing was seen as viable & as I understand it that is where they still are. Some working on projects say there close to having something to show, Yet they have been saying this for well over a year & others involved are quite open in saying they still have nothing new.

        1. @gt-racer I submit to most of the points you’ve made, so if I don’t address them here it means I agreed with you.

          yet ignores the fact that the FIA have been very open in asking the teams to put forward additional designs & that they have also failed to come up with a workable alternative to the halo. This isn’t just down to the FIA, Everyone involved in F1 has had the opportunity to put forward concepts which the FIA have tested

          This would be the ideal situation, but there would need to be some sort of compensation to make it work. The teams are more than capable of coming up with a preliminary concept like the aeroscreen or shield, but you can’t expect them to take resources away from their championship challenge to work on developing said concept into a viable solution. As we saw with the aeroscreen once Red Bull reached the first hurdle it was discarded, they had no interest in spending their own time and money fixing the issues. As a result it never got a second chance.

          The lack of development on the halo is a big concern of mine as well: we’ve seen very few changes from it’s introduction until now, when I would have liked to have seen a few more trial designs. It’s all very well to say that it’s the best current solution, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to just sit back and be content with that.

          From an outsider’s perspective I still see this as a primarily political move. The FIA haven’t put nearly enough work in to make me believe that this change is anything more than an attempt to appear to be doing something to improve safety.

          1. @aarror

            The lack of development on the halo is a big concern of mine as well: we’ve seen very few changes from it’s introduction until now

            Just because things haven’t been seen publicly doesn’t mean that there has been no development, changes or improvement done behind the scenes.
            It may not have been totally apparent from the outside but the Halo that was been tested on the cars towards the end of last year was different to the one 1st seen on Vettetl’s Ferrari during the pre-season Barcelona test. The bar’s were slightly thinner & the whole thing was lighter due to additional development done behind the scenes.

            The Halo seen to date is nothing more than a mock-up done to test the concept in terms of visibility with the central strut & top bar through corners like Eau Rouge. The ‘final’ design will be more refined than the stick on test piece we have all seen so far.

            As to the Red Bull Aeroscreen, It was pushed aside at the 1st hurdle because neither the FIA nor Red Bull were able to find solutions to the issues they encountered with it. After it failed the initial impact test’s they did do more research on it to try & find fixes but ultimately created more problems as the ‘fix’ to it failing the impact test was to use thicker material which ultimately created more visibility issues, The same type of distortion that Ferrari’s shield encountered.

            Outside of that another issue that both the aeroscreen & shield concept’s had which the various FIA canopy concept’s which have been tested also had is keeping the screen clear. Due to the narrowness of an F1 cockpit the curvature of a screen means wipers are less effective which is obviously an issue in the wet. Something like RainX is fine most of the time but has been known to not work which 100% of the time so they don’t want to rely on that rather than wipers.
            And then there is the issue of oil & tyre debris putting dirt & grime on the screen. Yes fine they could use tear-off’s but that solution only works of a driver has to make another pit stop, They don’t want to create a situation where a drivers race in ruined by having to make a stop just to rip a tear-off off the screen just because a car ahead sprayed oil out the back or whatever.

            As to your final paragraph, There is some truth in it with regards to the FIA pushing this through now to be seen to be doing something. They don’t want to run the risk of something happening when they have a solution ready & available that could prevent it.
            If they back down from the Halo now & something happens in 2018 which the Halo would have prevented there’s going to be a significant backlash considering that the Halo has now been seen on the cars & is known to work to some degree.

            Imagine been the family of a driver who may well have been in favor of the Halo getting killed by debris which the Halo would have prevented. Would you stay quiet & say ‘Of its just racing which is dangerous’ knowing that there was something that could have been done to prevent that death, Something the driver in question was in support/pushing for?

            1. @gt-racer
              Do you have any links articles detailing the development “behind the scenes”? I’m curious to see what they’ve done. Because with 8 months until preseason testing (and far less than that before the teams need the final design in order to commence work on their 2018 cars) the FIA should have already determined the optimal design, and their press release makes it clear they’ve barely started. They made their promise of head protection in 2018 years ago, they have no excuse for leaving things to the last minute.

              Yes there are many hurdles to overcome if canopy style cockpits are to be introduced in F1, which seems to be where things are headed. But with how easily the FIA have given up on every attempt so far I’m dubious as to whether they’re actually committed to improving safety. My worry is that they’ll call the halo “good enough” and leave it at that.

              As for your last paragraph, I’ll borrow your own words to counter it: Imagine the family of a driver who was against added cockpit protection because it made driver extraction difficult was killed because the halo (or any other cockpit protection) trapped them in the car and they couldn’t escape? Would you stay quiet & say ‘Oh it’s just racing which is dangerous’ knowing that something you implemented caused that death? Something the driver in question was against? I’m not a fan of using hypothetical situations like this in a conversation, there’s simply too many arguments and counter-arguments you can make without getting anywhere.

              In summary, while I’m not against cockpit protection it has it’s own set of risks attached to it. While it helps in some situations it’s a hindrance in others. Going this route is a monumental undertaking, and I don’t think the FIA are taking it seriously enough. Safety is not something to be used as a tool for political gain.

            2. I think you seriously underestimate both the effort put into this by the FIA as well as the teams already @aarror.

              All solutions we got to see (Halo, RB aero screen, Shield) came after studies taking years and pretty extensive testing od concepts. Each one of them had been simulated, adjusted, simulated and tested before we got to see them on the cars. And after their first public outings the Halo and the Aero screen got reworked and were tested again.

              The Screen was a promising idea, but if the simulations were already pointing towards distortion, then it makes huge sense that as soon as Vettel noticed the same issues with the real thing they had to cancell the test because they proved it was not viable. They did give it the chance because they thought that if it would work it would be a great solution. Regardless, Ferrari did put quite a lot of effort and money (and even FP1 session time during a close title battle with Mercedes) into building the Shield to test it and get that confirmed. In science, proving something NOT to work is sometimes as valuable as finding a solution.

              That we do not get to see everything doesn’t mean that nothing is going on. There were probably thousands of ideas that got to some stage of refinement before they got anywhere near a working prototype status, or even simulation.
              I agree that it is a shame we did not get more of that inside story. Personally, I would be pretty interested in seeing, even following a team of engineers working on such solutions, but I doubt they would want the world to see exactly what tools they have at their disposal at the factories. I am glad if @gt-racer can give us some of what was going on behind the scenes though.

              What I don’t see is a lack of effort, rather, it is a very tough challenge (also because of the premises). The FIA institute has been working on this since 8 years. I see the Halo as a solution that can be integrated into the car design and will certainly help prevent risks.
              And maybe it can be made cheap enough that it can be applied to lower tier series as well, once F1 engineering finetunes the design. In the mean time, I am certain that there will be more ideas coming up, being tried, maybe even tested.

    7. Apart from a enclosed cock pit not sure what else they do with a safe design

      1. Drive under 60 for starters…

        1. I would just love if someone were to give that suggestion to either senna or Schumacher in their day lol

        2. Racerdude7730
          23rd July 2017, 3:10

          Are you nuts? Anything over 40 I refuse to watch and would never let my son watch

          1. Then you’ll love Formula E.

      2. Driveing all the cars remotley from the pitlane is the best way of totally eleiminateing any risk from the driver. Common FIA up your game hahaha. Where will is persute of safety end?

        1. That wouldn’t work either, they’d get carpal tunnel syndrome.

    8. The new owners of F1 need to get control of the sport they own and not let the FIA run it for them.

      1. The FIA is the governing body of F1, and almost all Motorsport. Liberty just bought the license and managing company. They don’t have control of the rules (least not with regards to safety), just the money making aspects.

      2. They have “one third control” in the voting

    9. The only visibility affected was that if the spectators…

      1. That of the spectators – damn no edit button!

    10. I recommended that FIA should run additional F1 car (can be used an 1 year older car) with test drive in practice in a year. It’s used to test and develop FIA policy such as Halo, tyre, engine, ECU, new improvement on sound, body part, etc. I just affraid Halo also can cause more injury due debries from Halo its self or part that have contact with Halo at crash.

      1. Just look back at the claims of things being unfair when “only” Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes got to test the Pirelli tyres. If the FIA were to buy / lease a car from an existing team, what do you think the other teams would find of that? And where would they run this car, and with what driver(s)?

        It would be one team learning more, better understanding what the FIA were doing (because the team would also have to run it for them) not to mention a sizeable financial imput from the regulating body.

        This is a complete no go.

    11. Funny how all the cry babies complaining about Vettel on Lewis and using a car as a “weapon” now seem to think safety is irrelevant when something as irrelevant as a halo feature is added.

      Typical F1 fans, spineless, memory of a goldfish, and clueless when it comes to anything actually technical.

      1. This lol, one week to much dangerous driving, second week to much car safety… Next week there will be something else.

        I’ll be suprised if by Race 3 2018 anyone mentions Halo.

      2. Typical straw man argument.

      3. I presume you’re referring to yourself?

    12. Following several incidents, the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association also expressed to FIA President Jean Todt in July 2016 a request that some form of frontal cockpit protection be “implemented as swiftly as possible”.

      Well, if that’s the case then any member, let alone director, should be all for it. Not creating controversy such as Grosjean is doing. They made the bed, they knew the Halo was the leading solution at that time, now they have to lie in it.

      1. Sundar Srinivas Harish
        23rd July 2017, 7:08

        Looks like they haven’t been keeping track of the minutes of meetings.

        1. Sundar Srinivas Harish, in addition to that, this is what Wurz – the head of the GPDA at the time – said back in 2016 when discussing the “Halo” option:
          “Obviously structural changes are required to the chassis but, with almost a one-year lead time, I don’t see any technical person speaking against such substantial safety improvements, especially given the last big accidents in open-wheel racing involved head injuries. So all the drivers, and I, hope that passing the additional head protection will be a formality.”

      2. Sometimes I love that in English the verb “to lie” has that other meaning as well (especially in a political context and, let’s face it, F1 definitely qualifies as one).

    13. Yeaaah the visiability is no problem – think Im going to mount one of these beauties on my own street car… think my wife would love it – and I will feel so much safer driving round .. as a matter of fact why not mount a 2 inch steel plate in the front screen as well. I can still look out of the sidewindows and the I would really feel safe!

      1. I’m sure by “street car” you mean video games I ask you to take a piece of 1 inch tape and place it down the center of your tv.

        If you’re not good enough to lap around in video games then you’re not good enough to drive in F1. I suppose we already knew that though.

    14. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      23rd July 2017, 7:48

      I wonder what kind of effect this will have on viewing figures/track attendances? Sound and looks are two very important factors F1 have effectively thrown in the bin (for the majority). For example if you look at the BBC comments section, which you’d imagine is your average armchair fan, the anti halo opinions are upvoted at a ratio of around 6 to every 1 down vote. It’s far from scientific but I think it’s safe to say the strong majority of fans are dead against the halo. A little like the hybrid engines this detracts a lot more fans than it brings in to the sport. All weekend at Silverstone all I heard was fans complaining about the sound (it didn’t help the v10s were out frequently showing us what we could of had) but then again it was a sellout. So we shall see but let’s face it when the cars get launched next year it’s all anyone will be talking about ‘Stunning car, ruined by halo.’

      1. @rdotquestionmark, I’m curious as to your claim that a majority dislike the nose, because previous polls on this site about the sound of the engines have shown that just over two thirds of fans were satisfied with the current engine tone – so despite the prevalence of the moaning, it seems to be a minority position, not a majority one.

        I’ve also seen no real evidence that the new engines have resulted in fewer fans watching the sport, despite how many fans moan. When you look at the global viewing figures in depth, what you see is that what matters most is the availability of a free to air service – every single large drop in viewing figures in recent years has coincided with a major market switching from free to air to a subscription based service, and that factor accounted for about 96% of the drop in recent years. Despite the number of fans complaining about the noise after the recent change in engine regulations, in reality it seems that the effect of that change on viewing and attendance figures was negligible.

        It is also worth noting that F1 is hardly unique in seeing a drop off in viewing figures – we know that NASCAR has seen both attendances and viewing figures drop in recent years, and they’ve now moved to removing large chunks of the seating at some venues to avoid the sight of empty grandstands.

        Even outside of F1, other sports are seeing viewing figures drop as well – the English Premier League has begun reporting falling viewing figures over the past few years (Sky alone has reported a 14% fall in average viewing figures over the last year), as subscription costs now seem to have become too much for many to accept.

        With all that in mind, I suspect what will actually happen is that a lot of people will do the usual thing of moaning heavily and threatening to stop watching, but in reality will probably just settle for moaning heavily.

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          23rd July 2017, 10:35

          Exactly, so roughly a third of F1 fans are unsatisfied with the sound of the cars. That’s a huge number of people to be unsatisfied and I suspect the halo will be the same again, possibly worse. Also you have to remember the fans on this page are much more technical and knowledgeable than what I would call your average fan who just wants loud attractive cars. I agree with what you’re saying overall though but my point is these things even if the effect is minimal are losing fans without bringing in new ones. No one will start watching F1 because they’ve introduced the halo but some people will stop watching. These things do compound along with the hybrid engines and free to air coverage as you say. Liberty will have their work cut out now. The Seb Lewis battle couldn’t have come at a better time.

          1. @rdotquestionmark, in terms of being strongly dissatisfied, the figure was closer to about 12%, so we’re talking about a figure of closer to 1 in 8 who are that strongly against it.

            You also seem to be keen to portray the changes as having a purely negative effect, but I would say that the picture seems to be more mixed overall – if you look at a number of markets, declines in viewing figures started in the V8 era, and sometimes even in the V10 era.

            In Italy, for example, viewing figures peaked in about 2000, but the sharpest falls in viewing figures generally came in years where Ferrari performed especially badly – 2005 and 2009 saw especially sharp falls. By contrast, years that saw Ferrari in stronger form saw viewing figures hold or even increase – 2006 saw figures increase, as did 2010 and 2012, and Ferrari’s stronger form in the first half of this season means that, this year, viewing figures in Italy have actually been increasing and are better now than in the latter part of the V8 era.

            In Germany, meanwhile, viewing figures there were strongly associated with Michael Schumacher’s form – they peaked in around 2004, when Schumacher was at his most dominant, and started falling when he announced his retirement in 2006. They then increased in 2010 to 2012 when Schumacher returned – and the circuit owners reported a similar trend in ticket sales, with older Schumacher fans returning to the sport – but then began to drop away after he retired permanently.

            Right now, it seems that Vettel is not hugely popular within Germany and has failed to make the impact that Schumacher did with the average working man, although this year there was some evidence that his upturn in form at Ferrari has lead to a rise in viewing figures again (perhaps in part because, in following in Schumacher’s footsteps, he has drawn back some of those older fans once more). As for Rosberg, anecdotally it seems that he wasn’t that popular in Germany either – in part because most people didn’t really bond with a half Finnish guy who’d initially raced under a Finnish licence and spent most of his life in Monaco, whereas Michael came from a background that was much closer to the average man in Germany.

            Elsewhere, we’ve anecdotally seen evidence that suggests viewership is increasing in some markets – viewing figures in the Netherlands and Belgium are both reported to be increasing on the back of Verstappen and Vandoorne joining the grid, and we know that the owners of Spa have cited Verstappen’s arrival in the sport as part of the reason why their ticket sales have improved.

            To me, the evidence suggests there is actually a fairly weak relationship between engine noise and the more casual fans. In most markets, the figures have tended to fluctuate much more strongly with the fortunes of the local hero and the ease with which the public can follow them (i.e. if coverage is via free to air or subscription services) – with the exception of Italy, where fans tend to follow Ferrari rather than a driver, it seems that the actual cars themselves are of fairly low importance to more casual fans (and even in the case of Italy, as the current improvement in viewing figures shows, it is the relative competitiveness of Ferrari that matters most, not how the cars look or sound).

            1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
              23rd July 2017, 12:19

              Very good info thanks. Ultimately though the reason we all spend talking about these issues is because they divide opinion so heavily. You only have to look at the comments under any YouTube videos or retweets of cars with the v10s v12s and I suspect that will be the same with the halo. It’s going to be the biggest talking point for a lot of years. People want spectacular. Doesn’t mean they won’t watch though you are completely right. We will see.

            2. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
              23rd July 2017, 12:27

              I would like to add although I didn’t mention them I 100% know of the positive aspects of these changes I just don’t feel they will draw in casual fans. I would never want to see the cars revert back to v8s for example because that is a step forward and F1 is about progress.

              Personally I try to be positive as the internet is a negative reactionary place but for me my gut feeling was sadness when I saw the news about the halo. Maybe that says something about me, I don’t know but F1 has lost a little appeal.

            3. As far as I can tell the sudden decline in interest in F1 happened in my country when F1 decided they wanted to punish people for watching their races by fining them. F1 did this by putting their races behind a paywall, and I guess they are overjoyed that there are only a few people around, like me, who haven’t quite got the message yet. F1 will be pleased to know they barely even get mentioned on our top radio station’s sports news.
              Claims of people being driven away from F1 by the lack of volume is for the most part ludicrous. The sound of the cars is adjusted to suit the broadcast medium, so the sound of a V10 at full throttle will be almost identical to the volume of a V6 hybrid at half throttle. I’m sure there are people who have given up watching F1 because they claim the sound drove them away, but it would be far less than those F1 drove off by introducing the Paywall. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a slight decline in viewing audience for F1 because of Halo, but I’m not expecting it to be a massive decline. All Halo will mean is the TV cameras will have to zoom in closer so we can see the driver’s helmet.

            4. I think it is important to stress, since aesthetics seems to be about the only, and an overwhelming, negative to the halo, that it may look far far better once teams tweet them and incorporate them into their 2018 designs. I think we may be surprised and I fully expect that once we see halos on 2018 cars testing in anger next February, they will be far more acceptable than the one iteration we have seen.

            5. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
              23rd July 2017, 13:52

              I think the sound only really matters if you’re trackside to be honest. I would like a nicer more aggressive tone however.

              I hope you’re right @robbie
              I will be the first to admit my only issue is the aesthetic one. I know that may seem petty to some but for me I love a good looking F1 car and I don’t think there will be any with that monstrosity. I’m not some evil person that d

            6. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
              23rd July 2017, 13:54

              -doesn’t care about the safety of the drivers (quite the opposite) but this is for me a step too far for me as I affects the appeal of the cars. One of those things I actually want to be wrong and change my mind over

          2. Think about the type of fan who stops watching F1 because of the Halo.

            Now imagine them gone. Do you miss them? No.

            Now imagine your favorite driver gone due to a preventable accident.

            Do you miss them?

      2. I’m curious if the halo will finally push the countless, weak, gold fish memory, Whiney, pram throwing, petulant, zero ownership, low funded, emotional based fans out the door.

        What F1 needs is a fan base who cares more about technical racing than they do about something as petty as the look of a halo.

        Generally speaking and accuracy maintained, fans speaking out against the halo are the same as American redneck hilly billy NASCAR fans who claimed the HANS device was for “pussies” as dale ernhardt sr was quoted as saying.

        He died.

        Thank god someone at the FIA has the balls to make this call. If it was left up to these pathetic fans these days they wouldn’t be happy until Lewis was taken off track on a stretcher with no vitals.

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          23rd July 2017, 20:11

          Are you okay?

    15. I disagree with COTD, Giovinazzi is a talent and it’s looking like Sauber will be Ferrari powered not Monisha has gone from the helm. I can easily see Pascal being moved to Force India as he and Ericsson are not getting along so well, which opens the door for Giovinazzi to step up. I think Le Clerc will be 3rd driver for Ferrari next year, with outings in FP1 for either Sauber or Hass or both.
      This would obviously require Ferrari to take Perez.

    16. So Alonso is moving to Renault, then? Sad story in the end

    17. When do the sponsors start getting upset and asking for a discount because the halo blocks the view of the top of the cockpit from the onboard camera? The Weichai logo is almost entirely blocked on the sf70h.

      1. They will just move it to the top edge of the halo so that it is visible from the in-car camera.

    18. After hearing all this talk about Halo i believe it would be really necessary in Indy car. What do you guys think?

    19. I find it annoying that seemingly everyone is talking about the halo in bad light and “explaining” why it is wrong to of the FIA to implement it. The people who say the halo restricts the driver’s sight or that it makes it more dangerous do not know what they are talking about because they cannot possibly know what it is like to drive a Formula 1 car, with or without the halo, so they need to stop giving their pointless views about this.

      1. Trouble is, a lot of the drivers also do not want halo.

        1. Trouble is none of themreported being unable to drive due to halo.

          So what’s your point?

          Dale ernhardt sr didnt want the HANS device. He died.

          Who was smarter him or the engineers?

          You’re saying RG is smarter than his engineers?

          Does Lewis know more about mechanical engineering and material science than Mercs staff?

          Go on, I’ll wait for your answer.

    20. I hate the halo, but I’m not ignorant to the fact that it is a significant safety improvement and that I only hate it for its looks. Let’s be honest here.
      Having said that, I need to stress the fact how important F1 looks are. Especially an aspect of looks that defines what Formula 1 is. Yet, it should be subject to evolution.

      I think we’ve come to a point where we need to address the whole paradigm of F1 somewhat from scratch. Because safety is sth we only go forward with, we never go back, we have to be willing to redefine what needs to be changed in order to make it best possible.

      Here’s my idea. I took this concept…:

      …opened the cockpit as much as possible, and protected it with two arching guards. I ended up with a solution that flows coherently with the line of the car, is not obstrusive and adds all the safety you can, making the car retain it’s open-cockpit character:

      What you think guys?

      1. I forgot to mention: the construction is so swift because there’s an actual door. And I think this is the game changer in the whole thing that enables a much better design than working around the driver’s capability to get out of the car through the safety structure.

        1. Interesting @damon, but I have to say, that door is precisely where an important part of the cockpit anti-intrusion panels are – sure, put it in the door, but the sides also provide structural integrity to the chassis. In a road car, that’s solved by making them smaller, and having thick bottom, roof beams – thus your solution would probably need a lot thicker bars above the cockpit. After that, I guess you’d have to check whether their shape isn’t too conductive to bending through under load (the halo shape helps the loads disperse).

        2. Pretty terrible overall. Shows zero knowledge of racing and/or medical needs of drivers post accident.

          1) terrible starting point, one of the worst f1 concepts
          2) your overhead supports forward point are exactly where F1 pilots need to see, you’ve created some of the most dangerous blind spots I’ve seen in any concept. – the halo forward centerspin is specifically centered because rarely do f1 drivers look forward and our Stereo eyes allow us to see “thru” central pillars with minimal impairment.

          3) your overhead bars rear mounting point is so high up and tapers so close together that they eliminate the ability to extract a driver straight up out of his seat – which is almost necessary when neck or back injuries are in the equation.

          4) furthermore your door is terrible shaped for ingress/egress of a concsious healthy driver. An unconscious or injured driver would only sustain or risk further trauma being forced to bend so far forward their helmet touches their knees. You could literally paralyze a driver upon extraction.

          5) the door is pathetically shaped and sized but also a massive weak point in the chassis not only for racing dynamics but also structural integrity during an accident.

          6). Your overheads would dramatically increase the COG.

    21. Motor racing is inherently dangerous. Crossing the street is inherently dangerous. Riding a bicycle is inherently dangerous. Driving an enclosed street car car with airbags, lap and shoulder belts is inherently dangerous. Death is inevitable and no one escapes it. The Halo wouldn’t have saved Senna, Clark, Peterson, Villenueve, or Lauda’s face. And by the way… Niki doesn’t like it either. Perhaps Formula One should change it name from “F1 to O1.” Orwellian One. Pointless rant I know.

      1. Halo aside, the drivers you cite would all likely have survived if they were in cars as strong and safe as they now are. Whether the gains in safety came directly after tragedies, or were from forward thinking, here we are left with what FIA thinks is still one too-vulnerable area, the drivers head, and there have been incidents in open wheel formats in recent years that have seen drivers killed, hit by large objects. Surely FIA shouldn’t be castigated for trying to prevent another death? Surely even if those that think this is pure politics were to end up being correct, with the secondary factor being safety, which is I’m sure debatable, the end result is that the odds of a driver being injured let alone killed by a large object is greatly diminished with the halo.

        1. Robbie, I’m aware of your arguments. However, those drivers living or dead choose or or chose to race. I’m certain they were afraid of the consequences, but they chose to race anyway. I’m not again’s safety by any means, but what I am suggesting is that the FIA is afraid to cross the street. “We speak and all will follow.” By the way, I liked your reply. I just can’t agree with it. Safety has it’s limits. You can only do so much. Cheers, Alex.

          1. @alex-bkk That’s fair comment. Many people agree that the cars are safe enough. And that some level of danger or edge needs be maintained or otherwise it’s no longer enthralling to watch. There’s definitely something to that. Just look at all the extreme sports out there. People far less qualified than F1 drivers are at doing their thing, are doing far far more dangerous things, or even very normal things like downhill skiing, and vastly more are getting hurt or killed doing them, than F1 drivers in their cars as they now are.

          2. @alex-bkk, so the inevitable question then arises of what fatality and injury rate you think is acceptable within the sport.

            It is one thing to make comments like “safety has it’s limits” and patronise those who seek to improve safety measures, but rarely have I seen those who take the attitude that “safety has it’s limits” then state what injury and fatality threshold they would be prepared to accept if you were to place a limit on the safety measures that you want to introduce. I don’t mean to sound flippant, but if you say that “motor racing is inherently dangerous”, then what level of danger, and what level of severe consequences, are you prepared to accept?

            1. Duncan Snowden
              23rd July 2017, 18:35

              Let me put that back to you: what level aren’t you prepared to accept? Because it’s going to happen, with the halo or without it.

              And this is the point that bothers me about the debate over this: those of us who object are likened to the team and track owners of the ’60s who resisted the neccessary improvements of that era. But we’re not talking about the same thing any more. Those improvements were made, and we’re now in a situation of diminishing returns. Aside from Jules Bianchi, who the FIA accepts would not have been saved by any of the proposed measures, no driver has lost his life at a Grand Prix weekend for over 20 years.

              So by how much will the halo increase the safety of the drivers? We know that, in a certain situation, it will prevent serious injury, but how much less often is one likely with it than without? Will it prevent one every race? Unlikely, since we don’t see one every race. Every year? We don’t see that rate of serious head injury either. Every five years? Ten? Twenty?

              I’m not saying it’s definitely not worth it. Maybe reducing the injury rate by whatever-it-happens-to-be percent is worth sticking ugly protrusions on the cars. I don’t know. (I suspect, though, that if the FIA really thought this was an urgent problem, they’d have gone straight for fully enclosed cars rather than tinkering around with halos and aeroscreens. But that’s just a suspicion.)

              But the attitude that any safety measure is worth the cost, that the only acceptable level of injury is zero, leads us ultimately to drivers racing the simulators. Without hydraulics. Driving at 200mph is dangerous. Someone could be injured in a fully-enclosed car with a rollcage. Robert Kubica was.

              And if loose wheels are the concern, then perhaps the time and money spent on the halo would have been put to better use trying to improve the tethers. Perhaps. Again, I don’t know, but is it crazy, unfeeling, or anti-safety, to suggest it? After all, the halo doesn’t help marshalls or spectators at all.

              I know it sounds cold, but after a certain point – “Someone will die in that” – the benefits do have to be weighed against the costs.

            2. Duncan Snowden, I raised the question because @alex-bkk was saying that “safety has it’s limits”, and therefore I felt that the onus was on him to define what that limit was.

              Whilst you say that no driver has lost their life in the period between Bianchi’s accident and that of Senna and Ratzenberger, there were multiple drivers who did nevertheless suffer from serious injuries in that period. Wendlinger might have partially recovered from his head injuries, but the after effects of those injuries effectively ended his career in F1: Burti had a similar experience in 2001 after his crash.

              Similarly, in some ways I feel that Perez’s experience in 2011 shows that sometimes people tend to brush off cranial injuries. When he crashed in Monaco, quite a lot of reports thought that he was not seriously injured because he hadn’t broken any bones and was “just concussed” – the thing is, even though he made a full time return to the cockpit a month after his crash, he did later admit that the after effects of his concussion injuries affected him for the rest of the 2011 season (he didn’t really get back to full fitness until December, IIRC), and that is in comparatively recent times.

        2. F1 is safe enough. It doesn’t need anything like the Halo.
          Go closed cockpit or leave as it is until they find a reasonable solution.

    22. I have the rite idea for cockpit protection. So could Ross brawn or Adrian newy contact me please. Or any other designers.

    23. Can the drivers see the start lights and yellow flag lights etc? Bad idea

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