‘Double decker bus sitting on top of Halo’

Date published: February 8 2018 - Editor

Ahead of Halo’s first season, James Allison has spoken about the challenges it poses designers – especially as it needs to take the “weight of a London double decker bus sitting on top” of it.

This season all Formula 1 cars will be fitted with Halo after the FIA ruled it mandatory.

The controversial head protection device has proven to be a difficult one to incorporate for the F1 designers given the loads that it needs to withstand in order to effectively protect drivers.

“Adopting it has been a significant challenge,” Mercedes technical director James Allison admitted.

“This is not a light piece of work, it is several kilos of titanium that needs to be put in the car and all the changes that we needed to do to accommodate made so that the overall car would still stay below the weight limit.

“This is also not light because it takes really, 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 this Halo to make sure it would be strong enough to withstand the type of event it was designed to protect the driver’s head against.”

He also spoke of the “substantial aerodynamic challenge” that Halo represents given that it is a standard part.

He explained: “This unadorned 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.

“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.

“And what we’re aiming to do is ensure the wake of this Halo does not affect the smooth running and performance of the engine so we make sure the wake of the Halo does not get ingested by the engine.

“We also make sure it is designed so that it doesn’t damage the behaviour of the rear wing.”