New FIA video shows why it chose Halo for 2018

2018 F1 season

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The FIA has published a 30-minute video presentation of the research which led to it chose Halo as its preferred system of driver head protection.

The Halo will be mandatory on all cars from the 2018 F1 season.

Safety director Laurent Mekies said the FIA judged how great a safety improvement Halo would be for drivers by examining real-world scenarios.

Mercedes are testing the Halo again today
“How do you evaluate what is a net benefit? How much does it bring against how much does it take? We didn’t find a magic formula for that,” said Mekies.

“There is no magic way to say it’s better in 100% of cases or 99% of cases or whatever. “So we have tried to analyse real-life accidents. We analysed as many real-life accidents as possible thanks to everybody’s input: The drivers, the teams, [the media]. Every time somebody was mentioning an accident we put it in a risk assessment study.”

These accidents were divided into three categories: car-to-car contact, car-to-environment contact and external objects.

According to the FIA, their simulations indicated Halo would have had a positive effect in the majority of scenarios. These included the fatal accidents which befell Justin Wilson in IndyCar in 2015, Henry Surtees in Formula Two in 2009 and Marco Campos in Formula 3000 in 1995.

Mekies said the FIA’s research indicated Halo would not have had a beneficial effect in Jules Bianchi’s fatal 2014 crash at Suzuka. He added further research was necessary to understand how it would have performed in the fatal IndyCar crashes of Dan Whelson (2011) and Greg Moore (1999).

“The Halo has been specifically designed to deflect large objects away from the cockpit environment,” the FIA presentation noted. “It has been designed to present the injuries sustained to Henry Surtees and Justin Wilson.

“An extensive mathematical study has demonstrated that the Halo significantly increases the net level of protection against small debris.”

Following real-world tests of the Halo on F1 cars last year driver feedback indicated visibility was “substantially unaffected” by the Halo, according to the FIA.

It also noted that only one driver though Halo would present a “critical” problem to climbing out of a car. As the Halos tested last year were only dummies, drivers were unable to use the Halo to help them out of the car, which will not be the case when the final versions are implemented.

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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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66 comments on “New FIA video shows why it chose Halo for 2018”

  1. Even if it’s proved to be an unpopular introduction in the world of Formula 1, the FIA’s justification of the device is rather impressive.

    1. No it really isn’t. It’s just very wordy, tedious and long winded.

      The FIA themselves have said that safety is increased by 17% in cases the head area of the driver is involved. That’s abismal if you ask me.

      Let’s face it (pun intended) the only way to fully protect the drivers is a jetfighter-style canopy that fully encloses the cockpit. The Halo is a sad compromise by the FIA between fully closed and open cockpits. They didn’t have the balls to do it right the first time.

      1. @jeffreyj

        The FIA themselves have said that safety is increased by 17% in cases the head area of the driver is involved.

        This is a widespread misunderstanding. The “17%” figure has been referred to incorrectly in a lot of reportage on the Halo (including by Lewis Hamilton and some journalists).

        The FIA said the Halo would prevent 17% of small pieces of debris from hitting the driver. But as you can see from the presentation above (and was mentioned in this article) Halo wasn’t primarily designed to stop small pieces of debris, it was designed for bigger accidents such as those involving other cars, walls or flying wheels.

        1. @jeffreyj @keithcollantine

          Halo wasn’t primarily designed to stop small pieces of debris

          Nor should it. Small pieces of debris can be stopped by the helmet, since the neck and the brain can cope with these impacts with relatively low energy. The improved helmets and visors since Massa’s incident should do the task.

          The presentation shows a wide variety of cases where the halo is effective. One may (rightfully so) argue about the aestetics of the car or the DNA and the attractiveness of the sport, but the discussion about safety seem to be tackled by this presentation.

          1. Apart from maybe the extration part. That leaves a few question marks.

          2. really? massa 2008?

          3. @kpcart, Matthijs said “The improved helmets and visors since Massa’s incident should do the task.”

        2. But the halo is only able to sustain 15 times the total weight of the car. i.e: In fact it is only safe for a 15G crash.
          Most crashes are a lot heavier.. sometimes more than 40G during the crash. A Halo will loose it’s function at 15G.

          1. As opposed to the current protection of 0G?

            Helmets only work up to a certain point also; should we not bother with them either because they’re not 100% effective? What about seat harnesses? They make extraction harder too.

      2. @jeffreyj Agreed. Every single “F1 car of the future” concept we’ve seen from teams, even concepts from nearly a decade ago, feature a canopy – that’s the direction F1 should be going for additional head protection, and the task should be handed to the teams to develop it.

        The FIA chose the Halo because it was “their” idea for head protection – the teams are far better placed to trial and develop a proper solution. I can’t see the Halo being around for more than a few years before a much more intelligent solution is pioneered by one or more of the teams, and the FIA will have no choice but to admit it’s superior to their idea.

        1. @celicadion23
          I’m quite sure those concepts feature a canopy for aerodynamical reasons, not safety by any means.

        2. Maybe in the future they will @celicadion23, but not before we solve the issue with material thickness vs. distortion with a structure strong enough (and offering enough room around the head, something none of those futuristic designs do) AND have solved the issues of dirt/tyre marbles/oil buildup and rain+fogging up, AND have solved how to ventilate enough / put an AC into a car with as little room as an F1 car offers.

          None of those are close enough to a solution to make a closed cockpit viable. And then we still need to have the discussion about whether we actually WANT a closed cockpit

        3. The FIA chose the Halo because it was “their” idea for head protection

          @celicadion23 The Halo concept was actually an idea put forward by Mercedes.


    2. Shame they put this out so late, normally this should have come BEFORE they announced it or at least at the same time!

  2. This is fantastic that they have released this presentation. Nice to show they have been through many incidents and outlined the benefits and disadvantages of the Halo. I have but two questions:

    * The extraction test at 20:21 in the video is not a sufficient test, where is the front suspension?
    * In my opinion, not enough Halo-like options have been explored. Sure we get the 3 short-listed options and I’m sold on the one front bar, but where are the multitude of possible halo options – perhaps ones that better fit with the lines of the cars in some way? Ok they are not the main priority, but completely ignoring aesthetics does not seem like a good strategy for a large part of the F1 fan base.

    That said I am completely aware that I am an armchair keyboard typing critic, and I am grateful they have chosen to share this video with us.

    1. I am all for safety over cosmetics…sure the halo only provides a small amount of safety improvement to some people’s mind, but that is enough of an improvement to me – it probably would have saved Wilsons life in the indycar race.. I would not care if f1 went full canopy in the future, like fighter jets, (and not have vibration issues like vettel experienced with the windshield design that made his head spin). I did not mind windshields when I used to ride road bikes (but that was 100kmh and not 300kmh). saying all this… lets look at MOTO GP. you wont ever see motogp going for a head safety device, even though they are always exposed… something about 4 wheel series though… more debris on race tracks.

    2. The Halos we’ve seen so far may not be the Halo we actually get, as the FIA and teams agreed to develop Halo further before implementation. Some of those many possible variations will likely get attention in that process.

    3. RaikkonenF12008
      3rd August 2017, 5:00


      referring to such an accident brings me back to kubica’s accident in canada. i think that this is the worst possible scenario (such as that accident) where the front suspension has already been dislodged from the car as a result of the impact.

    4. They can (and will) iterate and improve as we learn more. Otherwise all the drivers would still be wearing leather helmets.

  3. Better a physical halo then a metaphorical halo for F1. I just hope one does not lead to the other.. lets enjoy this last season of halo-less cars.

    (also i wonder what was cut out of this video, there are some clear edits in there).

  4. I didn’t have time to watch this video yet @damon, so don’t know whether they mention it here, but I did read on both this site and on most sites reporting about f1 that the halo can actually withstand 15 times the weight of a car – that seems like a very large pileup, and thus not a very realistic problem, right?

    1. That’s the static load. This become less when the object hitting you is moving. (Or actually, the energy of the car hitting you is much higher than when it is static).


      1. True @mike-dee, I did forget about that, so that means a car that has less than 15G acceleration would still be held – now, in a lot of accidents we see higher G’s than that, but that’s when a car hits a wall etc, not when a car flies on top of another. A valid point, but not an automatic fail for the halo as @damon seemed to think.

  5. The halo would be squeezed flat if that was a complete car – with the engine, rear and front axels/wheels.

    They said the Halo could withstand 15x the weight of an F1 car so no, it wouldn’t!

    1. So that’s only a 15G crash!
      Most crashes are way above that!

  6. @xiasitlo

    I understand, so I think we should just remove the drivers completely & replace it with sim racing via engineers in the garages, no pit stops because that can also be dangerous & everybody goes home safe.

    Unfortunately like in real-life the next group of people in charge keep making more rules & regulations. Trying to make everything & everybody safer & pandering to lowest common demoninator & the small minority of people. I can only imagine in 40-50 years, I don’t think children will even be allowed to play outside & everything will be deemed un safe.

  7. Looking at this has actually changed my mind on Halo. I forget just how often in recent years I said to myself “wow, that was lucky”. I’d forgotten about the times a car floor was that close to a drivers head and focused only on loose wheels and debris. This really is needed.

    The looks are even growing on me a bit too.

    1. I stopped breathing for a moment when Alonso landed on top of Raikkonen. Also when Webber backflipped onto his roof. Now both these accidents got away with it; but it could have quite easily gone the other way.

      Alonso’s wheel could’ve landed into Raikkonen’s cockpit (still attached to his car). Webber’s head could’ve hit a kerb as he slid over it.

      There are so many more examples, not worth mentioning them all. But I’m with you on this one Timmy. It’s needed.

      Once the designers and engineers get into it, I think it will look alright too once it’s properly integrated into the car and not just glued on.

  8. Safety in motor sports is a progression that I am in favor of. People raced in the 1950’s without helmets, seat belts, fire suits, roll bars etc… I am sure nobody is against helmets, firesuits and harnesses. So why not the Halo?

    1. This.

      Probably had their opponents to each too.

  9. Fascinating stuff. Like the Halo or not, it’s impressive to see the amount of research done to it. I watched the whole presentation, and was thoroughly impressed with it. From an engineering point of view, all things considered, it’s the best solution right now and the most effective one until more research is done. That’s sufficient enough to be applied next year, and I’m starting to feel okay about it.

    Sure I hate it, sure it takes away something from our sport…. but from almost every angle, it’s good they are imposing it. Hopefully they come up with something more aesthetically pleasing, but it’s hard to ignore everything that was said during the presentation. Hats off to the FIA.

    1. I’m fascinated that people still seem to think this is a knee-jerk reaction. It’s been on the cards for nearly as long as I’ve been an F1 fan (not all that long, but I do remember reading about it almost a decade ago)!

  10. Gavin Campbell
    2nd August 2017, 17:49

    The whole issue with this for me is we know open cockpit is inherintly more dangerous than closed cockpit. We have known this for decades this is in no way recent news.

    But F1 (and 2,3,4) are open cockpit, open wheel championships. Now we have improved side protection etc. but the driver is still visible wearing only a helmet for protection from the elements. The Halo (And shield and aeroscreen) fundamentally changes the nature of the formula.

    By the same token Moto GP and superbikes are dangerous but it you suddenly mandated a third wheel at the rear of the bike (as the main danger to bike riders is loosing the bike from beneith them or the back end coming round and throwing them off the bike – that is that cause of a vast majority of accidents both benign and fatal). However in doing so it is no longer a two wheeled championship – it is not the same sport.

    If the system allowed us to return to gravel traps to punish errors in a sporting sense (I don’t want to see people hurt but I want to see mistakes punished – ideally with a bit of a bang against a wall (see wall of champions) or marooned in the gravel!) I can see people getting on board with it. But over the last 15 years we have gone from competitive tracks in a open cockpit formula to car park run offs and a semi-closed cockpit. At the very least this new rule set sorts the men from the boys a little more than the running round at 80% of max on pirelli’s era being extra careful not to drive out of the white line onto the extra track more than 3 times in 10 laps – yawn. At least Moto GP is doing it right.

    The Halo is safer, but so are enclosed cockpits, not having huge downforce, not having 1000+ BHP, etc. etc.

    (Also in the video its interesting that the gave all the Car on Car contact – positive on balance – when the current design of the car stops the other car from hitting the driver.)

    1. Agree, agree, agree.

    2. I disagree that the halo fundamentally changes the nature of the formula like a third wheel on a Moto GP bike would. The halo will not change the competition one bit. A third wheel would certainly redefine the sport.

  11. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    2nd August 2017, 20:01

    Well now the dust has settled and we’ve heard all the sides to the story, I’m willing to admit I was wrong, this is the right way forward. It’s a shame it’s so ugly but Formula One is function over form and as a piece of engineering this is very impressive. Even though Formula One is very safe this is a substantial safety improvement and that can’t really be disputed anymore. I think if the halo was only slightly ugly there would be no argument but because it’s SO ugly this will always divide opinion. But to my mind it’s the ‘right’ thing to do. Paint them up in driver’s helmet colours and that helps identify drivers better for those trackside.

  12. Since it’s inception in 1950, Formula One has always been open wheel and open cockpit. How far and we willing to deviate from this formula in the name of safety? Is a car with an enclosed cockpit and wheels still an F1 car? Other catergories of racing, such as motorcycling or rallying are far more dangerous than Formula One, yet nobody wants to add extra wheels to a motorcycle or force rallying to take place on a road course. It might be an irrational opinion, but F1 will always mean open cockpit to me.

    1. Its alwasy been open cockpit but not always open wheel. Closed wheel cars weren’t banned until 1959. Mercedes used a closed wheel stremliner version of their dominant W196 at high speed tracks. Fangio won three races with it. If there were forums in those days, there would have been outrage…

      1. @Michael, Fangio didn’t like the closed wheels so he asked Mercedes to remove the covers. The reason why he did that it was because he liked to see where the wheel was in order to calculate more acurately the line through the corners. At the Fangio museum in Balcarce, Argentina, there is a replica of the said Mercedes without the closed wheels.
        Sorry for my english as it isn’t my native language.

  13. Can another country not run by pussies head the FiA? How many times has a tire actually come off and hit a driver?

    1. In the single-seater series directly under FIA governance, assuming we’re restricting it to a tyre, once in the past 8 years. However, there have been some near misses, there have been times when tyres still connected to cars have had near-misses, and there have been times when objects other than tyres have either been near misses or hit the driver. Halo is meant to have some protective influence in all those scenarios.

    2. Watch the video! Henry Surtees was killed by a tyre. That crash was one of the instigators of the FIA’s desire for better driver protection. The FIA testing and crash analysis shows if Halo had been fitted to Surtee’s car then he’d have survived.

  14. The loose wheel isn’t very convincing indeed. But the many accidents we got lucky with in the past years are very convincing!

    I have seen Rosberg test his Halo in Spa last year and you quickly get used to it, it didn’t actually look that bad imo.

  15. Excellent piece of work, thorough and IMO the best solution. When the teams graphic designers get to work on the halo integration and colour schemes you’ll wonder why you ever complained. Every other add-on [bar the flappy T-wings] is fine by me, it’s all part of the sport

    1. It actually looks ok in that pic up top with on the Merc, at least from that angle and I think the T wings are ok too. I don’t think theres such a thing as a perfect looking F1 car either, we can’t live in the past.

  16. That was an excellent presentation from the FIA. I am still torn about the Halo being on the cars but I am happy the FIA released that info.

  17. I thought it was a good presentation and shows the FIA has put a lot of effort into deciding that Halo was the best current solution available. My only concern was the person used in the video showing an extrication from the car (at video time 19:23) seemed to be smaller than would have thought an F1 driver actually was, and that maybe they should have used a bigger person.

  18. In case you are wondering, I haven’t responded directly to the video because it’s taken me 2 hours to reach 6:07 in it. I’ll post my reaction to the video itself when I’ve finished watching it (at this rate everyone else will be talking about the Spa race by then!)

  19. Just doesn’t look like F1 to me, and the cars are getting way too heavy with all the soulless natural resource destroying little packets of battery death.
    The purity of the formula seems to be diminishing.
    But I did read they will allow it to be an aero device with scope for better sculptured design.
    Might be ok in the end, depends how gay the FIA want to be.

  20. An impressive and thorough demonstration.
    I find all the whining about looks quite ironic, given the ghastly T-wings and increasingly baroque front wing elements that already mar the lines of the cars.

  21. I dont get it. Nobody is disputing the fact that running with a halo is safer than without. So i dont understand the point of this video. We have been racing with open cockpits for decades knowing that a car with a roof and head protection is safer. People have been racing motorbikes for all these years, despite knowing that cars are safer. So what has changed that we need to get rid of open cockpits all of a sudden? Are you going to phase out all motorbikes to cars eventually as well to avoid people falling off?

    1. @vjanik Some people (including me) are disputing the notion that the Halo is the best option (in fact, my version of the argument isn’t really addressed here, as my hypothesis heading into this video is that no action at all would have been, in net terms, safer than Halo). Which is the one and only complaint that has a material effect on this, since it could be interpreted by a judge having a bad day as setting up liability if anything goes wrong with Halo.

      Now, the FIA usually does do some promotion of new safety concepts it’s introducing (HANS had a safety promotion video back in 2002, that might in another era been posted to social media this way). However, it’s the first time that the FIA has been so aggressive in pushing the concept. Also, it’s been trying to get rid of the current concept of open-plan cars since at least 2009, so not new.

      The FIA cannot phase out motorbikes as they are the purview of FIM, a completely different organisation.

  22. Just one little question. If a driver is injured as a result of this scaffolding, who will be held responsible?

    1. mrfill, little question, long answer!

      If it was a really terrible accident, nobody would be held liable – beyond a certain point, it would be possible to argue that the driver would have fared equally badly with or without a Halo failure. Responsible parties could, of course, be held liable to whatever caused the event that made Halo’s failure irrelevant, but that’s another story.

      If there were no damages arising from the failure (nobody got injured, nobody got wrongly fined for it, nobody’s ability to race was endangered, etc…) So if the failure happened in scruitineering, rather than the sort of accident where Halo failure would have consequences, nobody would be liable then either. Unless a driver wanted to sue a team for not producing a car fit to compete (thus causing losses due to missing a race), then it would be for the team to show it hadn’t messed up the implementation of Halo (and, in the most likely counter-case, the FIA to show it hadn’t done anything wrong in scrutineering).

      It’s the middle cases that are a problem.

      In the general case, teams are responsible for making sure their cars are fit to race, something enforced in Article 3 of the Sporting Regulations. This would cover the FIA’s back if, for example, someone did something ridiculous with an aero fairing that caused a failure in an otherwise valid concept. However, if Halo is inherently flawed, or the FIA allows a fairing type that it should reasonably have known would affect the Halo’s ability to do the job as advertised, that would likely throw the ball into the FIA’s court. Especially given that 9 out of 10 teams voted against the specific concept (driver votes are irrelevant in this context because they are not part of the regulatory power structure, and could in any case plead ignorance on the engineering elements of any aspect of Halo likely to induce an injurious failure).

      For all the FIA insists it had to do this, it’s only happening because the FIA forced it through. It is that, more than anything, that could prove the FIA’s undoing in court.

  23. Great stuff!

  24. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    3rd August 2017, 15:02

    Since 2001 more F1 track marshals have been killed than drivers………. plus countless near misses. I think it’s time for marshals to leave the sport replaced by robots or St Bernard’s. Also I saw a bumble bee yesterday so I’m never going outside again.

  25. Evil Homer (@)
    3rd August 2017, 15:12

    Ahh – Laurent Mekies – in a year or two (or maybe sooner) he will take over as Race Director from Charlie Whiting. I know many on this site, and others, are very vocal on the protest on Charlie (and Herbie Blash) and we need a fresh start- this guy has great credentials but will soon show how great the Charlie/Herbie combination was for so long as he wont perform to their level- mark my words here.

    F1 will be lessor when Charlie goes as it was when Herbie Blash left last year (but I hear his new Porsche is doing ok)

    Video looks fine but aren’t F1 tyres now structured that they rarely come apart from the suspension in a crash? Therefore making Halo less useful??

    Why are we protecting from flying tyres when by FIA ruling they shouldn’t leave the car in an accident?

    1. It’s not just about detached tyres. The of the 21 example crashes given in the presentation, only 1 (Surtees) involved a detached tyre.

    2. Herbie hasn’t “gone”. He moved positions and is now working on improving F1 marshal training. Expect to see better marshalling in the next 2-3 years as a result.

  26. Bravo for the FIA for putting the presentation on Youtube and making their reasoning accessible. The one fundamental thing that organisations should do in today’s world is to make their water-trough of information accessible to the horses. If some horses take a gulp and don’t like the flavour then that’s fine, but (as demonstrated by the sample of comments here so far) there are a significant number of horses who will not only ignore the water but insist on defocating around the other horses. As if that helps anything. Oh, how much better the world would be if we didn’t have crap horses.

  27. I don’t see where they come up with it would have saved Justin Wilson? The (unfortunate) video shows the piece of the nose coming down directly on the top of his helmet. A once in a million shot. It would have went through the top of the Halo.

    How often do we have a flying wheel? The most common danger is smaller part crash debris, which the Halo provides very little protection.

    1. The (unfortunate) video shows the piece of the nose coming down directly on the top of his helmet. . A once in a million shot. It would have went through the top of the Halo.

      If the car he was in was stationary, perhaps. But it wasn’t, it was travelling forwards at great speed, which is why it seems obvious to me the halo would have helped enormously in this situation.

      1. The debris came off a car and would logically also be moving at great speed. However, since debris and car will usually be travelling in different directions, angles and/or speeds, it should be a progressively smaller problem, the larger the piece of debris involved is.

  28. Formula Stupid

    Vote with your wallets and stop going to races. 9 of the 10 teams dont want it, most of the drivers dont want it, havent seen many of the fans asking for it either.

    1. Can’t say I’m a massive fan but we’ll get used to it, and in time it’ll probably look ok.

  29. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    4th August 2017, 22:34

    Overall, the comments here on F1 Fanatic are reasonably positive after viewing this video. But looking on Youtube itself, there are over 500 dislikes. And only just over 200 likes. I appreciate the amount of time the FIA have spent doing this as well as showing a video that explains so much about why their decisions were made.

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