F1 Moves a Step Closer to Introduce Halo Device in 2017

Associated Press

First published: May 29, 2016, 1:50 PM IST | Updated: May 29, 2016
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F1 Moves a Step Closer to Introduce Halo Device in 2017
The halo device forms a protective structure around and above a driver's head. Testing will take place on June 26, FIA spokesman Matteo Bonciani said, adding that those tests will then be reviewed at the next technical regulation meeting on July 6. (Getty Images)

Monaco: Further tests on the protective halo device for drivers will take place in June with a view to implementing it in time for the 2017 Formula One season.

The device forms a protective structure around and above a driver's head.

Testing will take place on June 26, FIA spokesman Matteo Bonciani said, adding that those tests will then be reviewed at the next technical regulation meeting on July 6.

The location for the testing has not yet been decided.

Motor sport's governing body is looking at ways to improve driver safety through cockpit protection and thus limit the risk of head injuries, after French F1 driver Jules Bianchi and British IndyCar driver Justin Wilson died last year.

Bianchi died in July following a long battle to recover from major head injuries sustained in a collision with a crane after going off the track in rainy conditions at the Japanese GP in October 2014.

Wilson died on August 23, a day after being hit in the helmet by debris from another car at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania.

The halo device was first tried out by Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen during pre-season testing in Spain.

Red Bull have since proposed an alternative device — a protective screen — but the halo is the more widely preferred option.

Such protective devices have divided opinion in F1.

Back in March, F1 champion Lewis Hamilton criticised the way the halo looked and said that he would like the option to remove it, should it be used.

But his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg and Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel — a four-time F1 champion — have both said it is necessary.

During Monaco GP practice on Thursday, veteran British driver Jenson Button was angry when a loose drain cover flew up and hit his McLaren.

"We were lucky in a way that we just damaged the car," a relieved Button said after the incident.

Speaking after Saturday's qualifying, Rosberg was asked his opinion about the halo being used in 2017 and said "it is the right way to go," adding that "there was another incident here on Thursday with the drain (cover) wasn't there?"

Two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso — who rolled his car during the season-opening Australian GP — has also spoken in favor of a halo.

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