Halo forces significant redesign for F1 teams

Lewis Hamilton runs the halo at Spa

The late addition of the controversial halo into Formula 1 this year has forced teams to heavily modify their chassis to accommodate the device.

Fitted to a number of cars during practice sessions last year, the halo has become compulsory for the 2018 season as a standardised component for all teams.

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

“This is not a light piece of work, it’s several kilograms of titanium that need to be put on the car, and all the changes that we needed to do to accommodate it so that the overall car would still stay below the weight limit.

“We had to strengthen the design of the chassis so that it would be 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 they are designed to protect the driver’s head against.”

However the sheer weight and chassis implications of the device have not been the only concerns, with the airflow interruption having an impact on engine cooling and the aerodynamic efficiency of the rear wing.

“This unadorned round tube is quite bad aerodynamically,” Allison explained.

“We’re all permitted to modify the halo in a way that will be individual for each team, because we’re permitted to fit an aerodynamic faring around it, which gives us a certain amount of scope to mitigate the affect that it has on the aerodynamics of the car.

“And what we’re aiming to do there is ensure that the wake of this halo does not effect the smooth running and powerful performance of the engine, so we make sure the wake of the halo does not get ingested by the engine, and we also make sure that its designed such that it doesn’t damage the behavior of the rear wing.”

Similar devices are set to be introduced in a number of other categories, with IndyCar investigating an aeroshield style design.

The opening round of the 2018 Formula 1 season takes place in Melbourne on March 22-25.

VIDEO: James Allison explains the technical challenges the halo presents

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