Lando Norris, Carlin, Paul Ricard, 2018

Use Halo to help fans identify drivers, Alonso and Todt say

2018 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso and FIA president Jean Todt have supported the idea of using Formula One’s Halo to help fans identify who is driving each car.

Todt, who last year suggested using Halo to indicate which driver is the championship leader, has now proposed using it to help identify all drivers.

“I read sometime that we don’t see who is driving,” he said at a media briefing yesterday. “We are complaining since years that we don’t see who is driving the car. We don’t see the name, you need to be a big expert. I guess all of you know who is driving each single car the way it is now.”

“So I mean the Halo for me could be a facilitator to know better who is driving the car.”

Last week Alonso said the suggestion of using drivers’ helmet colours to the Halo to help fans identify them was “a good question.” Formula Two driver Lando Norris has his own logo on the front of his car’s Halo (pictured).

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“I think the fans maybe can help in that aspect and make some suggestions, or F1 could have research on what the fans would like,” said Alonso. “Obviously on our side it would not make any difference but if that can help the fans it’s OK.”

However, Alonso added: “I don’t know if that would change much in terms of identification.”

Formula One could eventually replace the Halo with a different solution if the controversial design can be improved, said Todt.

“If we are able to find something which is better, I’m sure over the years we will be able [to],” he said.

“[In] Formula E, everybody said it was the nicest car they’ve ever seen with the Halo. I did not see in real life the Formula One [cars], I saw some photos, honestly I’m not at all disturbed with what I see.”

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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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  • 24 comments on “Use Halo to help fans identify drivers, Alonso and Todt say”

    1. You could put a number or driver name on the car. Crazy idea

      1. you know what, people don’t look for the number, the best giveaway is the helmet these days, but on tv it is easier still because of overlays with names on the screen and commentators talking about the driver on screen.

        with the helmet less visible, using the halo to help identify drivers is a perfect idea.

        1. Yes, i agree, good idea…if the driver use the same halo’s colour for all the year…
          once upon a time the helmet with the same colour for all the career: in that way i recognized easily the drivers from the stand in the Hockenheim’s motodrome when they appear from the last chicane in the wood…..
          The first that changed helmet i think was Niki Lauda when he came back in 1982, changing from red to white with red stripes…

      2. If you went to circuit to watch a F1 race, you would find the difference of the color on the helmet or the national flag pattern on the shark fin like MGP added last year is much more recognizable than that number itself.

        1. @peking901
          I’ve found in some shots that the glare from the sun (or even lights at night) can sometimes make it hard to pick out the color of the helmet at a glance. I like having the numbers visible from different angles for those occasions. Not a big deal, but it’s helped me a few times and I believe that the numbers will become a marketing win for the drivers eventually.

    2. Using the helmet liveries actually looks really good. Afterall, the halo is ‘head protection’, just like the helmet!

      1. @ecwdanselby – re. your latter point of the halo being similar to the helmet… I came here to make that point only to see you beat me to it :-)

    3. I really like the idea, from a viewer’s standpoint. One criticism of the halo (maybe not the primary one) has been that it hides the driver even more than before, so bringing the helmet colours onto it would neatly solve that problem in a fell swoop.

      However, it probably depends on how sponsorship contracts are written. Teams get sponsors by giving them space on their car (among other things like team/driver overalls), while drivers also have their personal sponsors often on their helmets. Unless it is mandated that the only thing allowed on the halo are the driver’s helmet colours, and no sponsorships, I can see some manner of contractual conflict.

      1. I think drivers number should be on halo as we all know their numbers and would know who is in each car .

    4. For once, this IS a good idea. Just not sure if designs identical to driver’s helmet would be clear enough. Helmets have become just a blur of colors over the past 20 years…nothing like Andretti’s distinct ‘Viceroy’ stripe, for example. Maybe Vettel’s current helmet is an exception. But one way or the other, a good idea.

    5. To me, it makes more sense to be considered an extension of the helmet than an extension of the chassis.

    6. How about reallllly transparent.

      Halo sucks.

    7. Great idea. Paint it the colour of the helmet, but choose only 1 or two main colours that make up the design.

      It will help the viewers identify the drivers much quicker than the other subtle identifiers such as the nose/sidepod/fin number or even the florescent T.

      For head-on shots of drivers battling into corners it’ll work really well where other identifiers aren’t visible.

      Ok it’s going to make the Halo stand out a bit more, but as a viewer engagement tool, spot on.

    8. Suggested before that emphasis of the Drivers Championship could use the Halo to indicate the top three by painting the Halo Gold Silver and Bronze. Universially known and accepted colors as the Olympic standards in competition. As the season progresses the driver leading the points has his Halo painted Gold. He would retain the gold Halo until losing the points lead. It would become a part the dialog of F1 from TV commentators to fans. All other Halos to be painted in team colors. As we know the Halo now is as prominant as the wings or the air box so looking for the Gold or Silver Halos would become a focus point for F1 to reach newer fans during Grand Prix weekends. Think about it. A new tool for Liberty. Could be cool.

    9. Neil (@neilosjames)
      14th March 2018, 18:50

      The obscuring of the helmet is one of the main reasons I doubt I’ll ever love halo, but doing this would go some of the way towards making driver identification easier again.

      If it has to be there, they might as well use it…

    10. All it needs is one driver to go ahead and do it, and the rest will want it too. I kinda like how the black halo’s “painted out” against the orange on the McLaren, but some Asturian blue could look good. Go on, show them how it’s done!

      I hope Lando’s got his eye on number 69 when he gets to F1. It’ll go great with his logo, and it’s always good for a snigger…

    11. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      14th March 2018, 20:51

      This link has been posted to this web site more than once before, but here it goes again:

      I guess there were more design by Sean Bull somewhere. The halo posts a great opportunity for drivers (or their management/marketing) to invite artists to express something. I feel this is the only suggestion thus far that made me feel halo’s can be kind of cool.

    12. what was wrong with the colours red and yellow ? as it used to be on the camera (or thereabouts)

    13. And they never thought about that before? Well done FIA

    14. Why not enhance the existing scheme … The camera pods on the air box “Must” be different in colour. I suggest the camera pod and halo colours …. for example Alonso -> all orange ; Vandoorne -> all black ……. Hamilton -> all silver ; Bottas -> all green , etc. The contrasting colour for font .

    15. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      15th March 2018, 12:23

      The Halo has exacerbated the issue even for us diehard F1 fans. Yes, we can eventually tell who’s driving the car the same way a commentator knows who’s playing the ball in football. Surprisingly, commentators make more mistakes than the folks on this forum probably would.

      It was hard enough to tell a driver in F1 without the Halo. We’d rely on helmets, numbers, and color of car cameras to determine the driver depending on the angle. It’s much harder to tell now because you can’t see the driver from many angles.

      The point is – it was already hard to tell who is in a car. Why make it even more difficult? Second, painting the car is not a solution because it’s going to look atrocious in most cases. Most teams are trying to make the Halo disappear visually – painting it like a helmet will absolutely destroy the car and its liver – I’m surprised Todt is saying that as he should have a little bit more common sense. We are not even going to talk about potential weight issues with painting the halo so many colors.

      But that’s not the only issue – the issue is that we can’t see the driver and that disconnects us from the driver and the experience. The reason that F1 has remained an open cockpit for so long is obviously not because cockpits haven’t yet been invented or it’s too expensive to add a cockpit to a race car. It’s because the sport is defined by the driver being in an open cockpit vehicle.

      It’s the risk of the driver being exposed out there and in control of the vehicle – his head bobbing from side to side as he takes the corners at incredible speeds, his arms holding onto the wheel for dear life. His hand coming up to gesture at another driver who has cost him a few milliseconds or looking a bit sideways to check the driver in his mirror. The Halo gets in the way of all of that.

      Look at WEC Racing with the LMP2 switching to a closed cockpit – it’s very hard to tell the LMP1 from LMP2 cars. For anyone who doesn’t follow WEC racing closely, the LMP2 cars are indistinguishable from LMP1 cars.

    16. What happened to the Red/Yellow car lift points? Aren’t those still painted? I agree Halo would be a great idea, it’d be nice not to have to remember which helmets who’s and who’s the number one/two driver, etc. Obviously not difficult to find out but to make it easier for the casual fan would be easier on us too.

    Comments are closed.