According to Mercedes technical director James Allison, the F1 halo cockpit protection device needs to be strong. Exactly how strong, you ask? theoretically, it should be able to withstand the weight of a London double decker bus. He admitted that adapting the chassis to integrate the device has proven to be a challenge.
He said, “This is not a light piece of work, it is several kilograms of titanium that needs to be put in the car. There are changes that we needed to do to accommodate it to ensure the overall car would still stay below the weight limit. It’s also not light because it takes really high loads. We had to strengthen the design of the chassis so it would be able to take roughly the weight of a London double decker bus sitting on top of the halo. “We needed to make sure it would be strong enough to withstand the type of event it was designed to protect the driver against.”
The Briton said that he expected the halo to evolve in the coming years. He believes that the teams have the capability to minimise the aerodynamic impact and improving the aesthetics. He continued, “This round tube is quite bad aerodynamically so we’re all permitted to modify the halo in a way which will be individual for each team because we’re permitted to fit an aerodynamic fairing around it, which gives us a certain amount of scope to mitigate the effect it has on the aerodynamics of the car. What we’re aiming to do is ensure the wake of the halo does not affect the smooth running and performance of the engine.”
Allison said that the aim was to make sure that the device does not damage the behaviour of the rear wing. The F1 HALO device is the first generation head protection gear that goes up, over and around the driver’s head. The Mercedes technical director is fairly sure that it won’t be the last. He said that the teams will always try to improve it and improve safety in the process. At the same time, they wish to preserve the aesthetics.