It was announced yesterday afternoon that McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso will be among the drivers testing Halo during free practice for the Singapore Grand Prix.
Ahead of this year’s German Grand Prix, Formula One’s decision making bodies decided to postpone the introduction of cockpit protection devices until 2018 in order to conduct a series of on-track tests. At the last two rounds a selection of drivers have tested the latest Halo prototype during practice sessions, but Singapore will be the first time a Halo device has been tested under artificial lights.
In a statement to the media yesterday, McLaren technical director Tim Goss said the following about Alonso testing the device in Singapore next week as follows:-
‘The plan is for Fernando to try it in Singapore, which will offer up a number of different variables: the circuit is lit, with some very tight corners, and with plenty of Armco barriers. His thoughts will be fed back into the working group as the teams progress with the ongoing development of head protection alternatives.
‘For McLaren, running with Jenson [Button] at Monza has allowed us to gain insight into its performance in both tight chicanes and high-speed corners.’
Further on in his statement yesterday, Goss said there is still plenty to learn from the on-track tests and a lot to be considered ahead of its introduction. Goss added the following:-
‘Structurally, it’s not a big compromise to accommodate the F1 halo. But there are additional considerations on car performance — it’s a substantial structure, so it influences the car aerodynamically — both in terms of aero performance, but also engine-intake performance. But that’s been assessed by the TRM, with teams permitted to run fairings and aero devices to mitigate against any side-effects.
‘It also affects driver helmet buffeting and lift – but, again, the development programme will enable the FIA and the teams to iron out all those issues. And that’s why it was decided to delay its introduction until 2018 while the teams refined all solutions.’