Ever since announcing that “halo” cockpit protection would be mandated for the 2018 season, Formula One and the FIA haven’t taken a break from bragging about how useful it’ll be on F1’s historically open cockpits. What they can’t brag about is how ugly the thing currently is, which the FIA said it plans to fix.
But the FIA, F1’s governing body, isn’t going to cover these things in glitter or polka dots. Making this wishbone-looking thing more attractive will be up to the teams, since Motorsport.com reports that F1 and the FIA will allow them to add fairings to the halo in order to combat whatever aerodynamic challenges a giant, hard flip-flop strap on top of a race car presents.
That means the halo, though it’ll come from one supplier, will be a lot like the rest of an F1 car—up to the teams to design, aerodynamically and otherwise. Here’s what FIA race director Charlie Whiting, personal hero and dear friend of F1’s own Sebastian Vettel, told Motorsport.com about it:
“All the Halos that we’ve seen bar one, as I recall anyway, have been just raw,” said Whiting. “I think we should just wait and see what the teams come up with, because for sure they will all exploit the extra freedom that they have got, even if it is just for aero reasons.
“I’m sure that they will look more pleasing to the eyes. They have to use the standard Halo, that will be from a single supplier. We will allow them to use non-structural fairings around the upper part, which can be no more than 20mm from the main structure.
“I think there’s an overall width restriction, and I think there’s a restriction on how far they can encroach on the cockpit opening. But 20mm is quite lot all the way around, and they can do what they like with that. ...”
Whiting also said he thinks fans will get used to the halo pretty quickly, and that the windshield concept tested by F1 isn’t totally ruled out—it just hadn’t passed all of the necessary tests in time to be the winner.
There is hope yet for a less ugly future.