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  • Giuliano Di Saulo

The Halo: Should it return to F1 racing next year?

For those who aren't familiar with Formula 1 racing, the “Halo” system is a device that the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) voted to officially have installed on top of every current F1 car's cockpit (where the pi- lot of an open-wheel car sits). This decision was made in order to improve the drivers' safety. The aesthetic appeal of an F1 vehicle, without the Halo device is what the majority of F1 racing fans have been detesting for years. Simply put: It's ugly. Also, it ruins the classic (we can now officially call it “vintage”) F1 look. However, the “look” was not my major concern, rather, how unnecessary the device is. However, yes, I would agree that it also ruined the look, so I wasn't too fond of it.

The alternative option that the FIA was considering was a screen shield, which, if you were to ask me, is even one thousand times more ugly and completely ruins one of the largest components of the sport: Visual appeal. Also, it should be mentioned that the Halo, could be a major concern as it could decrease the drivers' visibility, which is a topic that many fans of the sport voiced their opinions on.

The concept of the Halo system was born on August 26, 2012, in Belgium. On a notorious turn frequently titled “La Source” in the Spa-Francorchamps circuit track, French driver Romain Grosjean's illegally drove into another driver, causing a multi-vehicle pile-up at the start of the 2012 Grand Prix, resulting in a rare “one-race” ban. At the start of the 2018 Grand Prix, German F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg's brakes locked-up springing him for- ward into the rear of Spaniard legend Fernando Alonso's car, which then sent him flying on top of Monégasque driver Charles Leclerc. It was reported that Nico Hulkenberg admitted to be- ing at fault for the crash. Leclerc then posted to Instagram stating that he “never was a fan of the Halo, but was happy to have it over him that day.”

One of the largest incidents that caused the safety demand for the Halo system was an incident in 2014 involving F1 driver Jules Bianchi. Bianchi collided with the rear of a tractor crane upon losing control of his vehicles. However, it is theorized that the Halo system would not have saved his life. Belgian-Dutch star-driver Max Verstappen disagreed with the FIA's decision for the Halo saying that it would be extremely rare for a vehicle to hit or fall on the driver's head, if a car would ever land on top of another. Recently, during the first lap of the final Grand Prix 2018 in Abu Dhabi, there was a major incident, caused a second time by Nico Hulkenberg, that shocked viewers. Hulkenberg turned too fast knocking into Romain Grosjean, causing his vehicle to flip over once twice, eventually landing into a barrier. What would have happened without the Halo system? The car would have to rely on the top portion of its frame if ever it landed upside down. Thankfully, the seat and seat belts in an F1 vehicle are designed to secure the driver in an event where the car would be upside down.

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