In Depth

Video: What does driving with the F1 halo look like?

New head protection draws criticism from fans and team members

One of the most significant changes to the Formula 1 regulations for the 2018 season is the introduction of the controversial halo safety device. 

Designed to deflect tyres and debris away from the driver’s head, the halo is a piece of carbon fibre-wrapped titanium that curves around the cockpit. It’s held in place by a single strut in front of the driver and two mounts bolted onto the chassis behind. 

With pre-season testing getting underway in Barcelona today, F1 teams Williams and Mercedes-AMG have posted footage from inside the cockpit of their 2018 challengers, giving fans a glimpse of the halo from the driver’s point of view.

The first video is of Williams’s reserve driver Robert Kubica testing the car around the Aragon circuit in Spain. The second is from the perspective of Valtteri Bottas as he drives around Silverstone in Northamptonshire.

Although F1’s governing body, the target="_blank">FIA, says the halo has a 17% chance of deflecting debris away from the driver’s head, the device hasn’t been well received by fans and teams.

Mercedes-AMG chief Toto Wolff said he was “not impressed” with the safety device and would remove it “with a chainsaw” if he could, the Daily Express reports. 

But not everyone agrees with him. McLaren driver Fernando Alonso told Sky F1 “there should not be any debate” over whether the halo is needed or not.

“It’s a device that protects the head of the driver”, he said, “so it’s very welcome”.

We’ll have to wait and see whether the halo affects drivers in racing conditions when the 2018 season gets underway at the Australian Grand Prix on 25 March.

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