IndyCar won’t use Halo but could introduce screen in 2018

2018 F1 season

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The Halo head protection system devised in Formula One which is already spreading to other championships will not be used in IndyCar.

However the series chief executive Mark Miles said the series plans to test a windscreen and could introduce one on its redesigned chassis during the 2018 season.

In August the FIA said its simulations showed the Halo would have had a beneficial effect in crashes such as that which claimed the life of IndyCar driver Justin Wilson at Pocono in 2015. However Miles said there practice reasons why Halo would not work in IndyCar.

“Forget what each of us may think about it aesthetically or otherwise,” he told the New York Times, “it’s pretty clear that since we’re on ovals and they’re banked, the driver couldn’t see up through it. You’ve got to be able to see up.”

“We think greater head protection is important,” Miles added. “We’re working on it. It won’t be a halo, it will be some form of a windscreen.”

Formula One has evaluated two different kinds of screen, including Red Bull’s ‘Aeroscreen’ and the ‘Shield’ which was evaluated by Sebastian Vettel at this year’s British Grand Prix. Both were rejected in favour of the Halo. The Aeroscreen did not perform as well as Halo in tests and Vettel said the Shield caused problems with his vision:

Daniel Ricciardo tests the Aeroscreen, Red Bull, Sochi Autodrom, 2016
Sebastian Vettel tests the shield, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2017

Miles is open to introducing additional head protection at some point during IndyCar’s 2018 season, which begins in March and runs until September. “It’s not going to be in March but it could be during the season,” he said.

IndyCar is already introducing a new shape chassis for its 2018 season, based on the same Dallara the series introduced in 2012.

Other championships have followed F1’s lead in introducing the Halo, which will appear on cars in 2018. Formula Two’s new car for 2018 uses the Halo and so does the Americas F3 championship car, which was launched at the United States Grand Prix weekend.

2018 Formula Two car launch, Monza, 2017
F3 Americas Championship car launch, Circuit of the Americas, 2017

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Author information

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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29 comments on “IndyCar won’t use Halo but could introduce screen in 2018”

  1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    25th October 2017, 11:43

    I’m surprised they look up that much to be honest, even on banking. The POV shots I’ve seen show the line of the halo really high and just in the peripheral vision. Which begs the question will some unfortunate F1 drivers not be able to see the lights go out at the start of the race?

    I’m glad the halo won’t be ruining the lines of the new Indy Cars though, can’t wait to see these beauties race.

    1. You need to be able to see really far ahead on corners on oval because the speeds are so high. That is probably enough for the halo to get in the way. One way I’d imagine it could be fixed is by making the halo asymmetric so the inside corner side is higher but it would probably look even worse. That being said those aeroscreen shots don’t that much either. It is like granny’s glasses bolted on top of the monococque. Indy I think needs cockpit head protection more than f1.

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        25th October 2017, 13:03

        True. I just can’t believe Ferrari’s flawed attempt at an aeroscreen meant the whole idea was binned with no proper research.

        1. @rdotquestionmark, Ferrari are not the only team to have attempted to produce a screen and failed to produce a workable design.

          Before their attempt, there was a similar concept by Red Bull (as shown in the pictures that Keith has linked to) – they attempted to use thinner screens in an attempt to reduce the distortion effects, but their design kept failing the crash tests when they submitted them for independent testing. I might be mistaken, but I believe that, prior to proposing the halo device, Mercedes also investigated the possibility of an aeroscreen type device (though, unlike the Ferrari and Red Bull devices, I believe that they dismissed the concept relatively early on).

          We know at least two, and possible three, teams have investigated that particular option, so Ferrari are by no means the only team to have tried and failed with such a concept.

          1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
            25th October 2017, 19:22

            Fair point. I was actually just referring to the distortion issues Vettel described but yes the Red Bull design did fail the structural tests.

        2. Indy also doesn’t need to worry about rain which would have been big issue for f1 screens.

          1. Indycars DO race in the rain on road and street courses….just not on ovals.

          2. Two thirds of the IndyCar schedule is on road and street courses. They run in the rain on them, not ovals 1/3 of schedule.

    2. @rdotquestionmark

      Which begs the question will some unfortunate F1 drivers not be able to see the lights go out at the start of the race?

      If that’s a problem they can just move the lights.

  2. I dont get why the shield distorted vision, since it was suppose to be the same technology that’s used in fighter jets, wasnt it? Why would they use anything worse anyway.
    The canopies in F-16’s and those kind of jets distort nothing, and such have been in use since the 1960s or so.

    I’m glad IndyCar will go their own way.

    1. @damon I think the distortion is part of the design philosophy Ferrari used. You see Red Bull’s Aeroscreen is perfectly round, while Ferrari’s Shield has some ‘fold’ in it. And I cannot help thinking that Vettel never gave the shield a proper chance to begin with.

    2. @damon, are you sure about the not-distorting of F-16 and similar jets? As far as I know, they do distort at short distances, but that’s not a big problem for a plane going very fast, bc. it does not need to see the apex of a corner a few meters away, it needs a pilot to be able to see in the distance and get rid of any threat ahead of it getting close.

      1. @bosyber, you are correct about the canopies of jet fighters still causing significant vision distortion.

        As an example of this, here is an article from just a few years ago talking about how Lockheed Martin have developed specialist optical tools designed to map exactly how much distortion is produced by the canopies of jets like the F-16, F-22 and F-35.

        @damon, the teams have been engaging aviation companies to produce the canopies, but it proved to be quite a challenge for them. They did try testing a jet canopy some years ago, but found that it flexed too much when struck by a heavier object – they also couldn’t find a solution to the vision distortion issue either.

    3. I still cannot believe the shield was given 1 practice session and then canned.

      It least should have been trialled on a few others cars to see if all drivers reached consensus. Madness.

      1. @offdutyrockstar They had been running trials on various concepts of shield behind the scenes for a while before they actually tried it & the results of that 1 practice run mirrored the results from the prior simulator runs.

        The reason the shield only got 1 practice run on 1 car is because that run confirmed all the prior data, Ferrari & other teams (As well as other categories) had run it on there simulators & all said the same things that Vettel did. Based off that it was felt that the shield in its current form wasn’t worth testing further.

        That been said the FIA also haven’t totally given up on it, They will continue to look into different concepts & will be open to suggestion from teams & elsewhere with regards to new materials & will continue to test those behind the scenes before putting them on a car for evaluation if & when they feel they have something new worth testing.

        1. @gt-racer informative as always! Where do you get your information? And thanks for the clarification, makes a fair bit more sense than the headlines have conveyed.

  3. The biggest threat to drivers are debris /parts /pieces flying at them. The Halo does nothing for that, unless the item is quite large.

    A windscreen is the way to go, and it won’t harm the aesthetics of the next seasons IndyCars which are the best looking open wheel cars on earth.

    1. Thats the point. Anything small enough to fit underneath the halo will be stopped by the helmet of the driver. The concern has been large objects with significant mass hitting a driver’s head.

      1. Like the spring hitting Massa?

        1. Yes, like the spring that hit Massa. Because he survived that, and because helmets were subsequently made even stronger.

          But realistically no helmet is going to protect a driver in the kind of accidents which befell Justin Wilson or Henry Surtees, which is what Halo has been designed for.

  4. I doubt we will see a screen on an Indycar next year because from all the discussions I have heard through this year have said that all of the viable screen solutions Dallara & Indycar have looked at all suffered from the same sort of distortion that the one the FIA/Ferrari trials suffered from.

    They have been testing different concepts on simulators among other things for a number of years now & that effort was ramped up in the immediate aftermath of Justin Wilson’s death.

    The issue they are finding is that the cockpit of a single seater/open wheel car is a lot narrower than an LMP car or even something like a jet fighter & because of that the screen/canopies have to have more of a curvature than is the case on those & it is that which is creating the issues with distortion.

    1. I call for ejection 💺 seats. They are headed for another car and BOOM! Lol but for real someone will find a solution but Indycar isn’t willing to put a device on their car that has more check marks in the negative effects then positive effects

  5. I’m just happy Indycar is doing this the more sensible and not jumping at something like the FIA. I feel the screen was never even given a chance to be honest. A little work and they can fix that distortion. Also Indycar will be the best looking open wheel cars in the world
    Keith you should put a pool up to vote on the best looking open wheel cars for 2018. We have images of them all already so it would be cool. MY vote is Indycar. If the Halo was not there I might go F1

    1. @racerdude7730 I wouldn’t say the FIA jumped at anything, They did a lot of work behind the scenes for several years before they decided to go with the Halo & the Halo itself has been going through various test’s & alterations for several years now.

      And they also did a lot of work with various screen concept’s to fix the various issues that were been flagged up. The shield for instance was developed in part with feedback from the aeroscreen that was tested last year. And even though they have gone with the Halo for 2018 they are still doing research & running various trials of alternative concept’s behind the scenes & should one of those concept’s reach a stage where its felt it’s viable it will be track tested & should it pass that test as well as all the crash/impact test’s it will be introduced in place of the Halo.

      The reason the Halo is on the cars for 2018 is because it was agreed by the FIA as well as the teams (And some of the drivers) that something needed to be on the cars by 2018 & at the moment the Halo is the only viable option that meet’s all of the FIA’s requirements while not creating any additional significant issues. It’s been tested for several years, They have a ton of data on it & they know it works.

      It’s not been rushed through, It’s been a well considered multi-year project that has seen the Halo & a dozen other concepts all put through a lot of test’s.

    2. Even without the Halo, IndyCar’s are a million times better looking than F1 cars.

  6. Why does this debate go on and on??? Few want the halo and that includes many drivers. Fans say thumbs down to the idea and those who do support it only speak privately about it.

    What will be said of the halo when in a moment of close racing and resultant crashing it is sheared off the chassis.??

    Is there access to seeing its merits or its failings through any known testing video?

    Id like to see the halo under stress so l can be sure itll do what its intended to do.

    1. Is there access to seeing its merits or its failings through any known testing video?

      Here you go. Look out for the video of it being hit by a wheel and tyre:

  7. Shark Fins Rule
    26th October 2017, 0:39

    I’m not impressed with the halo, I think the shield would be better.

  8. Solution: max speed is set to 20 miles/hour – or the drivers could stay home and meet in cyberspace on a xbox instead…the flying round the world could be dangerous as well…

    Sissy sport/drivers…

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