As of 2018, Formula 1 teams will be required to run the ‘Halo’ on their cars. The device, which has received limited testing, will be introduced by the FIA in an effort to prevent avoidable accident, injury and fatality.
Despite concerns about the aesthetics of the car, the Halo will be in action from the beginning of the 2018 season. Both Ferrari & Red Bull have attempted alternative cockpit protection devices, running the ‘Shield’ & ‘Aeroscreen’ respectively, but it is the Halo device which the FIA have decided to progress with.
It is unlikely that such a device would have saved Jules Bianchi. Similarly, smaller pieces of debris will remain a threat, meaning that accidents such as the one Felipe Massa suffered in 2009 in Hungary could still potentially occur. However, the Halo is designed to prevent large pieces of debris, such as a loose wheel, from hitting the driver. Henry Surtees, son of John Surtees, was tragically killed in 2009 by a loose wheel and on this basis the introduction of cockpit safety is completely justified.
However, the contraption has received largely negative feedback from the fans of the sport and is seen as a major step away from open-wheel racing. There are also concerns about whether a driver could successfully remove themselves from the cockpit in the event of an emergency with the Halo in place, but these safety concerns are likely to be addressed prior to its inception.