Kimi Raikkonen Tests HALO System for F1
After the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi in 2015 as a result of blunt force head trauma, there has been a renewed call to action to do something about the dangers that are involved in open cockpit racing. While most of the racing world applauded in 2013 when a prototype closed cockpit design was unveiled, concerns about being able to exit the vehicle quickly in case of a fire have eliminated this concept from being implemented in motor sports. Racing engineers have spent the last three years scrambling to create a more viable solution.
The front runner appears to be the HALO safety system. This is a carbon structure that is mounted over the cockpit; it is essentially a roll bar in front of your face. Scuderia Ferrari driver and 2007 F1 World Champion, Kimi Raikkonen tested this prototype safety device this week during Formula One open testing in Barcelona, Spain. Unfortunately, not much information was gained from the test since the HALO was removed at the end of the first lap. It turns out that the main purpose for the testing in Barcelona was to evaluate tire degradation in the soft tire options to include the Medium, Soft, Super Soft, and Ultra Soft compounds.
Ferrari has been working to reduce the weight of the HALO and see what can be done to create a version of the HALO that could be raised up to allow for easy entry and exit of the vehicle. All current versions of the HALO are a fixed design that requires the driver to maneuver around the HALO to enter or exit the cockpit.
While there are several drivers at the Prancing Horse who have plenty of experience in Formula One and would be able to provide input on the HALO, the decision was made to go with Kimi Raikkonen since he would be able to offer a far more impartial view on the impact that this device would have on drivers’ visibility.