Formula1, Motorsport

Ferrari’s Kimi Rakkonen approves of new ‘halo’ feature

Formula One is said to be a dangerous sport in the eyes of many and hence safety precautions are taking a massive leap every year. This year, the newest addition to the safety measures would be the ‘halo’.

Following the death of Marussia’s pride and joy Jules Bianchi and British IndyCar driver Justin Wilson last year, a string of suggestions were taken to ensure the level of safety of the drivers in terms of improvising the cockpit to prevent any head injuries.

Bianchi met an accident in the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka and his car slid off the track and collided with the crane that picked up Sauber’s Adrian Sutil, whom crashed in the same spot one lap earlier. Wilson passed away on August after being hit in the helmit by debris from another car during the race in Pennsylvania.

The ‘halo’ design is a semi-circular barrier around the driver’s head and is the concept most favored by all parties as it also protects the racers from flying debris without completely closing the cockpit.

Photo credits: Formula One
Photo credits: Formula One

The FIA still needs to complete more tests and run through the designs alongside meeting the approval of the World Motor Sport Council by April 30 before the 2017 season. The main issue is to prevent any vision imparity as the eye-line is below the main body of the structure and also there is some concern that some angles might affect the view of the starting lights.

However, prior to that, the ‘halo’ has already met the approval of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. The Finnish was the first F1 driver to have tested the latest design for two laps during the pre-season test in Barcelona yesterday.

“First impression on the visibility test is positive,” Raikkonen said. “The structure does not hamper (visibility),” said the 2007 world champion as quoted from USA Today.

“Obviously it’s a slightly different view, we’re a bit limited in the front, but I don’t think it’s the final version – so surprisingly little difference,”

“Vision is a bit limited in the front, but I’m not sure if it’s the final version either, so it can change.”

Joining the bandwagon on thumbs-ups is Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg. “My opinion is it really is a massive step in safety,” he said.

“This would have saved those people, so it’s a huge step, definitely needed.”

Despite that, racers such as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Hulkenberg strongly opposed to such modification. Red Bull are also edging for a better solution but all practical decisions are yet to be made.

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