‘Rushed’ halo affecting 2018 deadlines at Force India

Force India’s Otmar Szafnauer has warned that the FIA’s decision to introduce the ‘halo’ next season will likely seriously delay the team’s 2018 car.

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F1 teams which enjoyed an early start to the design process of their 2018 car are now forced to integrate the halo following its mandatory presence next year.

The cockpit protection device will be an integral part of a chassis’ structure in the future, hence the necessity to include it in a design from the outset, and get it right.

“It may delay next year’s car,” Szafnauer told

“There is a finite amount of time that it takes to design and make a monocoque, and if we don’t get definition in that timeframe, all it does is it delays when it’s produced.

“Right now, it looks like we may not be able to produce it in time for testing.”

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Depending on FIA crash tests criteria, a weak integration of the halo could wreak havoc at the last minute on a design. 

“The rollhoop, when we changed when Alex Wurz rolled and broke the rollhoop [in the 1998 Canadian GP], the rollhoop test criteria went up by an order of magnitude,” said Szafnauer.

“I remember designing and trying to make a rollhoop that actually passed the test criteria. It took forever. We eventually did it, but the amount of times we failed and redesigned.

“The nice thing with the rollhoop was you could just cut it off and put another one on that, so the whole monocoque wouldn’t have to be redesigned.

“If this test criteria is so high that the Halo fails, and it fails the monocoque, we’re screwed.”

Like every team, Force India will compose with the mandatory requirement, but there’s no doubt in Szafnauer’s mind that the FIA’s decision was rushed.

“It would have been nice to have had another year to do it properly. It is what it is.

“The only way to stop it is if the FIA stops it and says we’re going to do it in a year’s time. It’s safer to do it properly than to rush it, that’s the only way I can see stopping it.”

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