F1's cockpit halo on course for 2017 introduction says FIA

The halo cockpit protection device is on course to be introduced for the 2017 Formula 1 season, the FIA has confirmed

F1's cockpit halo on course for 2017 introduction says FIA

Ferrari trialled the system during the second pre-season test in early March.

A thorough risk assessment is to be conducted, and to that end a working group has been formed, headed by Mercedes and Ferrari.

Although Red Bull has developed its own canopy device, FIA race director Charlie Whiting feels the halo will almost certainly be on all 22 cars next year.

"We've extensively tested the so-called halo," said Whiting, speaking at a media briefing at Melbourne's Albert Park.

"It will offer very good protection from a flying wheel, for example. That's the main way in which it has been tested so far.

"We need to look at other related things like extrication, to talk to medical crews about it, but I think it's going quite well.

"As for Red Bull['s device], it is considerably further behind in development. It's never been tested.

"Although it could offer additional protection, I've my doubts it could be implemented for 2017, whereas I think the halo could."

The current rule covering extrication is that a driver should be able to remove themselves from their car following an incident in five seconds or less.

While the halo would appear to present a restriction to this, Whiting feels it is more of a help than a hindrance.

"The benefits of the halo are far greater than the slightly worse situation of the driver taking a bit longer to get out," he said.

"One team did put a halo on their car and did get a driver to see how quickly he could get out, and it looked perfectly simple.

"Arguably it was easier because the driver can get hold of the thing and lift himself out much easier."

Whiting does not feel there will be any delay to the introduction of the halo even if another system emerges in the short term.

"We are on a course for the halo because that has been tested thoroughly, and we feel it offers the best all-round protection," added Whiting.

"We do have a thorough risk assessment to do on a number of different accident scenarios because we want to ensure we don't make things worse in certain circumstances.

"But I don't think we will delay it if we felt there was a better one coming."

That assessment will also include crowd safety should an object deflect off the halo.

A standardised design will be used, with the working group to finalise this by the end of May.

Whiting dismissed Lewis Hamilton's hopes the halo would be optional given his dislike of the device.

"We didn't make the HANS optional, we don't make crash helmets optional, so I suspect that [not being optional] will be the case with the halo," insisted Whiting.

Whiting has also confirmed wheel tethers, which he claims "can't prevent every scenario, they ultimately can fail", are to also be strengthened for 2017.

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