The FIA has confirmed the Halo cockpit protection device will be introduced in Formula 1 next year.

The announcement comes after the sport’s governing body met with F1’s Strategy Group on Wednesday. Despite claims the majority of teams voted against the Halo, the FIA pushed ahead with the decision.

The official FIA statement read: “Following the unanimous agreement of the Strategy Group, in July 2016, to introduce additional frontal protection for Formula 1 and the repeated support from the drivers, the FIA confirms the introduction of the Halo for 2018.

“With the support of the teams, certain features of its design will be further enhanced.

“Having developed and evaluated a large number of devices over the past five years, it had become clear that the Halo presents the best overall safety performance.”

The Halo device was trialled during Grand Prix practice sessions last year and is designed to reduce the risk of injury to a driver’s head from flying debris.

It has drawn mixed reviews from drivers, teams and fans with the main concern being that it’s not aesthetically pleasing; there is also the fear that changes like this are further sanitising the sport and taking away from F1’s rawness and edge.

An alternative concept, dubbed the ‘Shield’, was tested by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel during the opening practice session of last weekend’s British Grand Prix. The German quickly had it removed, claiming that the device made him dizzy.

Other topics discussed at the meeting included 2021 power units, cost control and the continuing debate of improving the F1 spectacle for the fans.

The Strategy Group consists of five permanent members – Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, Williams and McLaren – and the next best-placed from the previous season’s Championship, which in 2016 was Force India.

However, representatives from all teams were present at this meeting for the first time with the other four outfits allowed to attend as “observers”. The smaller teams have long vented their frustration and concern at being excluded.

The group will meet again in September.

Image via XPB Images

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Elle Haus

Journalist at MotorsportM8
Seasoned media and communications professional. Tropical traveller. Cocktail connoisseur.