Formula 1 Halo

Formula 1 is one of the most thrilling and dangerous sports in the world, where drivers race at speeds of over 300 km/h in open-cockpit cars. This is why the sport has no option but to spend to spend time and money developing safety devices such as the Formula 1 Halo.

While the sport has made great strides in improving safety over the years, there is always a risk of serious injury or death in the event of a crash. That is why, since 2018, Formula 1 has introduced a new safety device called the halo, which is designed to protect the driver’s head from flying debris or impacts with other cars or barriers.

But what is the halo, how does it work, and what are its benefits and drawbacks? In this article, we will answer these questions and more.

When Was the Halo Introduced to F1?

The halo was first trialed in F1 in 2016 after several fatal accidents involving head injuries in motorsport. These included the deaths of Jules Bianchi in 2015 and Justin Wilson in 2016.

The FIA, the governing body of F1, conducted extensive research and testing. The hope was that they would find the best solution to prevent such tragedies from happening again.

The FIA considered various options, such as a transparent shield or an aeroscreen. They finally decided that the halo was the most effective and reliable device.

It was capable of deflecting large objects and provide greater protection against smaller debris. The halo became mandatory in F1 in 2018. It was also applied to other FIA-sanctioned open-cockpit classes, such as Formula E, F2, F3 and F4.

Does The Formula 1 Halo Work?

The halo has proven to be a lifesaver on several occasions since its introduction. The most dramatic example was the crash of Romain Grosjean at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.

In the accident his car split in half and burst into flames after hitting a metal barrier at high speed. Grosjean miraculously escaped with minor burns, thanks to the halo. It prevented his head from being crushed by the barrier.

Another example was the collision between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix. Verstappen’s car landed on top of Hamilton’s car, with the rear wheel hitting Hamilton’s helmet.

Hamilton was unhurt, thanks to the halo that absorbed most of the impact. It also deflected the wheel away from his head.

A third example was the accident of Zhou Guanyu at the 2022 British Grand Prix. His car flipped over and flew over a tire barrier, ending up wedged between the tires and the fence.

Zhou credited the halo for saving his life, as it prevented his head from being exposed to any potential injuries.

What Is the Formula 1 Halo Made From?

Formula 1 halo

The F1 halo is made from strong, lightweight titanium tubing. This is attached to the car’s carbon fiber chassis at three points for maximum rigidity.

The system adds around 9 kg to the car’s weight. The halo is not developed by the teams but is manufactured by three approved external companies chosen by the FIA.

It is the same specification for all cars. The halo has to pass strict tests to ensure its strength and durability. This includes being able to withstand a load of 116 kN (equivalent to a weight of 12 tones) applied to its top.

Do All Formula Divisions Use the Halo?

The halo is used by all FIA-sanctioned open-cockpit classes, such as Formula E, F2, F3 and F4. Some other open-wheel racing series also use the halo, these include

  • IndyCar Series
  • Indy Lights
  • Super Formula
  • Super Formula Lights
  • Euroformula Open
  • Australian S5000.

The IndyCar halo is used as a structural frame for an additional aeroscreen, which is a transparent windscreen that covers the front of the cockpit.

Formula 1 Halo - IndyCar

What If the Formula 1 Halo Does Not Work?

The halo is not a foolproof system and does not guarantee complete safety for the drivers. There are still some scenarios where the halo may not be able to prevent injuries or fatalities.

These include if a small object penetrates through the gaps between the bars. Another scenario is if a large object hits the driver from below or behind.

There are also some potential risks associated with the halo itself. These may include impeding the driver’s extraction from the car in case of fire. Or if it causes injuries to bystanders or marshals in case of detachment.

The reality is that the risk of using a halo is substantially less than not using one.

How Does the Formula 1 Halo Work?

Formula 1 Halo

The halo works by creating a protective barrier around the driver’s head. It is intended to deflect large objects and debris away from the cockpit.

The shape and position of the halo minimize any interference with the driver’s vision or steering wheel. The halo also has an integrated LED strip. This indicates different information to the driver and spectators.

It includes advising when they are using DRS (Drag Reduction System) or when they have received a penalty.

Does The F1 Halo Hamper Driver Vision?

One of the main criticisms of the halo when it was first introduced was that it would obstruct the driver’s vision. However, most drivers have adapted to the halo and reported that it does not affect their vision.

The crossbar of the halo is at a height that is outside of the driver’s peripheral vision. The central pillar of the halo disappears into the background when the driver is looking ahead.

The drivers also have a clear view of the mirrors and the dashboard through the gaps between the bars.

Do F1 Teams Have to Use the Halo?

The halo is mandatory for all F1 teams and drivers, and they have no choice but to use it. The FIA has made it clear that the halo is a non-negotiable safety measure. Any team or driver who refuses to use it will face severe penalties or disqualification.

The teams and drivers have to comply with the FIA’s rules and regulations regarding the halo, such as its dimensions, weight, installation, testing and maintenance.

Who Develops the F1 Halo?

The F1 halo is not developed by the teams, but by three approved external manufacturers. These are chosen by the FIA.

The three porganizations are.

  • CP Tech
  • SST Technology
  • V System.

The teams buy the halo from these manufacturers and fit it to their cars. The teams are not allowed to modify or customize the halo in any way, other than adding their own livery or sponsors’ logos.

Did The F1 Halo Save Romain Grosjean’s Life?

The F1 halo is widely credited with saving Romain Grosjean’s life after his horrific crash at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Grosjean’s car hit a metal barrier at 221 km/h and split in half, causing a massive fireball. Grosjean managed to escape from the burning wreckage within 28 seconds.

He only suffered minor burns to his hands and feet. The halo prevented his head from being crushed by the barrier and also created a gap for him to get out of the car.

Grosjean later said that he was against the halo when it was first introduced. He changed his mind after his accident and thanked the FIA for implementing it.

Did The F1 Halo Save Zhou Guanyu’s Life?

The F1 halo also saved Zhou Guanyu’s life after his terrifying accident at the 2022 British Grand Prix.

Zhou’s car flipped over after contact with George Russel’s car and flew over a tire barrier, landing upside down between the tires and the fence.

Zhou was able to get out of the car unharmed, thanks to the halo that protected his head from any potential injuries. Zhou said that he felt lucky to be alive and praised the halo for saving his life.

What If a Driver Is Taller Than the Halo?

The FIA has set a maximum height limit for drivers in F1, which is 185 cm (6 ft 1 in). This ensures that all drivers can fit comfortably within the cockpit and under the halo.

If a driver is taller than this limit, they may have to adjust their seating position or helmet size to avoid any contact with the halo or any other parts of the car.


The halo is a revolutionary safety device that has been introduced to F1 and other open-cockpit racing series. It protects the driver’s head from flying debris or impacts with other cars or barriers.

It has proven to be effective and reliable in several incidents where it has saved lives or prevented serious injuries.

The halo has also been accepted by most drivers and fans as a necessary and beneficial measure for improving safety in motorsport. The halo is not without its flaws or challenges, but it is undoubtedly a remarkable innovation that has made F1 safer and more exciting than ever before.