The introduction of Halo, designed to protect the head of the driver in case of a collision, was postponed for an indefinite period of time. The reason is that it did not receive approval by the majority of Formula 1 drivers. The International Automobile Federation (FIA) intended to make its use mandatory in Grand Prix from 2018.
The system was created and tested following the incident with Jules Bianchi at the 2014 Grand Prix of Japan. The Manor driver crashed heavily and died almost ten months later from his injuries.
Halo was tested by the teams in Formula 1 during the second half of 2016 season. FIA asked the drivers to vote on whether it should be introduced. According to the information the German publication Auto Motor und Sport the federation received 16 answers (out of 22). 7 of them were against, 5 – for it and 4 abstained.
The Halo system was chosen instead of the Red Bull concept. According to experts the Milton Keynes system does not offer sufficient protection to the top of the head in case of flying debris or wheel. In such a incident in August 2015 the IndyCar driver Justin Wilson was killed.
Opinions on the Halo were divided even before the vote
“I think what people from the outside need to understand is that when we say it will make it safer, it will. But that doesn’t mean the risks we take our any less. It won’t change our approach to a corner. For me, as much as I understand it, it’s to help [prevent] the freak accident, or if something comes flying in the air to stop it hitting us in the head as happened last year with some incidents in Indycar. I would say it’s purely to get rid of that risk and I think it will do a good job”, Daniel Ricciardo said.
“There is no argument to say it’s not safer to have the Halo”, Kevin Magnussen commented. “After learning about it and seeing the presentation about it in Hungary, it’s clearly a step forward in terms of safety but we can continue to make it safer. We can make [the cars] a maximum of 100bhp and for sure that’ll be safer but that’s not really Formula 1. You can easily take out the DNA of the sport, that”s what I’m more worried about that safety.”
Romain Grosjean totally opposed it: “I don’t want to stop safety in Formula One and it’s great. But if we’re racing drivers then we make a choice to come into a dangerous sport. I’m not at all in favour of the Halo. I think it goes against the DNA in Formula One. Against what I’ve seen as a kid or since it started in 1950.”