The F1 Strategy Group has today voted to not introduce the Halo in 2017, despite a strong case for it from the FIA, and the majority support of the drivers.
The Strategy Group, which is compromised of Bernie Ecclestone, Jean Todt, Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Williams and Force India, decided that the device needs more work.
It remains to be seen whether the FIA decides to try and force it through on safety grounds, which is technically possible, although sources have suggested that Todt will not do that.
An FIA statement said: “The Strategy Group agreed unanimously that the 2018 season will see the introduction of frontal cockpit protection for Formula One cars in order to significantly enhance the safety of drivers.
“It was decided that owing to the relatively short timeframe until the commencement of the 2017 Formula One season it would be prudent to use the remainder of this year and early next year to further evaluate the full potential of all options before final confirmation.
“This will include undertaking multiple on-track tests of the ‘Halo’ system in practice sessions during the rest of this season and during the first part of the 2017 season.
“While the Halo is currently the preferred option, as it provides the broadest solution to date, the consensus among the Strategy Group was that another year of development could result in an even more complete solution. Halo remains a strong option for introduction in 2018.”
Red Bull’s Christian Horner, who had backed the Aeroscreen alternative that has been tested and rejected by the FIA, said last weekend that it was too early.
“We’re really waiting to hear from the FIA and at the next Strategy Group there will be some discussion,” he told this writer. “As a team we’re not fans of the Halo system. I think it’s an inelegant solution, and I’m not so sure it is a complete solution. Rather than do half a job it’s better to take a bit more time and do it properly.
“I think something has to be done, but rushing it through isn’t the right thing. You look at a MotoGP rider, they are far more exposed than an F1 driver, and you look at the steps that have been made in F1, it’s been astronomic over the last couple of decades. I think we’re on the right trajectory.
“I just think this concept needs further investigation and research and development. For us for ‘17 it’s already last minute, because it obviously has an impact on aerodynamic performance etc. We also don’t know what effect it’s going to have at tracks with big undulations.”
The issue that the technology exists and the sport may now face is that if there is a serious accident in 2017 where the Halo could have protected a driver legal repercussions may follow.