The introduction for the halo head protection device was delayed by a year due to the FIA feeling there had not been enough sufficient testing to implement the system for 2017.
Coming to the Belgian Grand Prix, four drivers were selected to run the device for the first time, as visibility was the primary concern for many throughout the paddock, especially through elevated areas.
Nico Rosberg was one of the drivers to run the halo during yesterday’s FP1 session and was satisfied the device didn’t impair vision.
“It was good to try it and they’ve done a great job with it because it doesn’t disturb me at all when I’m driving and increases the safety a lot,” Rosberg said on Friday.
“I know it’s not nice looking from the outside, of course, it doesn’t make the cars prettier but if it’s such a big step in safety then I think it’s a good thing.”
Spa was a fitting choice for the device to be tested, as there are plenty of elevation changes around the seven-kilometre circuit including the famous Eau Rouge corner.
Rosberg had no troubles with visibility through Eau Rouge, saying there was “no problem at all, you don’t even notice the top part.”
“I think they can even come down with that because LMP1 is lower anyways. So for sure they could go lower”
Carlos Sainz echoed Rosberg’s comments about visibility through Eau Rouge, as the Toro Rosso driver was another to have run the halo in FP1.
“My biggest concern was visibility, and visibility is not a problem,” Sainz said.
“Through Eau Rouge, you don’t have to go like this to see, you can see perfectly how the corner goes. Obviously when you leave the box, you have this thing in the middle which disturbs you a bit, but at the end of the lap you don’t even notice it’s there anymore.
“Your eyes get used to it, they get used to looking across it, that’s why we have two eyes! That’s it really. Probably the biggest concern and the biggest margin of improvement is getting in and out of the car is quite tricky at the moment. So this is the biggest thing where probably it needs investigation.”
While Rosberg and Sainz both agree that the halo doesn’t affect a driver’s visibility, it seems Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg still needs more convincing having only done the one lap around the circuit with the device attached.
Hulkenberg has been very vocal of the halo system in recent months, but conceded that he found the visibility wasn’t much of a factor.
“It felt weird,” he said. “To have something there which limits you, it was a new experience.
“The visibility was not too bad. But also I only did an installation lap.”
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