Modern cars are much safer thanare their counterparts from years gone by; of that, there is no doubt.
That extra safety, however, required a compromise. Crash survival was emphasised over crash avoidance. The consequence is that visibility is reduced, visibility that many times would come in handy with regard to seeing threats before they could turn into collisions.
F1 drivers must be experiencing a similar effect with the introduction of a new safety device called the Halo, which is designed to protect drivers of the open cockpit F1 cars from flying debris.
As the name implies, the Halo sits above the head of the driver and will probably supply some additional protection in the event a car goes rubber side up. The problem is that the Halo attaches to the chassis of the car right in the driver’s line of sight.
This has got to be distracting to the driver’s vision and we find ourselves wondering, now that they have a partial canopy over the driver, how long will it be until there is a complete roof above and around them, eliminating the open cockpit altogether?
American F1 constructors Haas Racing has had their car revealed online in the form of computer generated images that appear completely realistic.
Drivers are universally opposed to the device.
Haas Racing team boss Guenther Steiner, commented on Sky Sports, “The biggest part of the car’s evolution was the addition of the halo. It took quite a bit of study by the aerodynamicists, but the designers had to work hard to modify the chassis so the halo could survive the mandated loads.The total minimum weight of the car increased because of the halo, and there’s a higher centre of gravity simply because of the halo’s position. But, everyone is in the same boat.”
Everyone’s in the same car, Mr. Steiner, but we understand the analogy.
To get some idea of the effect of the Halo, the next time you are motoring down the M1, turn your hand sideways and hold it up between your eyes.
Actually, do not do that.