The Formula 1 strategy group have rejected the introduction of the controversial ‘halo’ cockpit safety design for the 2017 racing season.
The prospect of the halo was proposed following the deaths of F1 driver Jules Bianchi and IndyCar driver Justin Wilson, both due to sustained head injuries, which caused the FIA to prioritise cockpit safety features in order to minimise injuries to drivers.
The halo was first trailed in the Barcelona pre-season testing back in March of this year, against the proposed ‘areoscreen’, as an alternative solution that could also be introduced.
The halo received mixed reactions, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel keen for it to be introduced, telling critics that “nothing justifies death”, whereas Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton stated that he would remove the device from his car if it was to be introduced.
The drivers were given a briefing about the halo during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend last week, before a vote was drawn by the F1 Strategy Group about its introduction for next year’s racing season.
The bosses at the meeting voted unanimously to postpone the introduction of the halo to a later date, until the 2018 season, perhaps at the earliest.
“The Strategy Group agreed unanimously that the 2018 season will see the introduction of frontal cockpit protection for Formula One cars in order to significantly enhance the safety of drivers,” an FIA statement says.
“It was decided that owing to the relatively short timeframe until the commencement of the 2017 Formula One season it would be prudent to use the remainder of this year and early next year to further evaluate the full potential of all options before final conformation. This will include undertaking multiple on-track tests of the ‘Halo’ system in practice sessions during the rest of this season and during the first part of the 2017 season.
“While the Halo is currently the preferred option, as it provides the broadest solution to date, the consensus among the Strategy Group was that another year of development could result in an even more complete solution. The Halo remains a strong option for introduction in 2018.”
The F1 Strategy Group is made up from bosses from six of the racing teams, including FIA president Jean Todt and F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone.