Following the deaths of F1 driver Jules Bianchi and Indycar Driver Justin Wilson last year, who were both killed in open-cockpit cars, there's been a push in motorsports to ensure a greater level of safety in open-cockpit racing. The halo cockpit tested by Ferrari earlier this month has emerged as the preferred choice.
FIA president Jean Todt told Autoweek that there is "a very real possibility" a halo cockpit will be installed in all F1 cars in 2017, but not everyone is sold on the idea. Lewis Hamilton told Sky Sports that he was very much in opposition to both the idea and the execution of the halo cockpit.
"[I]f it does come in then l hope that we will be given the option of not using it because l will not be using it on my car," said Hamilton to Sky Sports. Hamilton also described the Halo as "the worst looking mod in Formula 1 history."
Sebastian Vettel conceded that the halo in its current state is ugly and impedes visibility but he sees the improvement of safety as a much, arguing that Bianchi and Henry Surtees, who was killed in a open-cockpit Formula 2 car in 2009, would still be alive with this sort of protection in place. Bianchi's father Philipe told the Guardian the halo isn't enough and that it wouldn't likely have saved his son.
Kimi Raikkonen, man of few words, said the cockpit was "okay" after testing. Interpret that however you'd like.
The need for increased safety is unquestionable, but implementing the Halos next year will prove to be a big challenge. The halo itself will have to be perfected and its design agreed upon by all involved parties within the next few months, and cars will need to be modified commensurately.
We'll have to wait and see if the FIA and F1 constructors are up for the challenge.
An earlier version of this post stated Jules Bianchi was struck by debris when he actually spun into a trackside safety vehicle. That has been updated.