Formula One testing is underway ahead of the upcoming 2018 season. One of the biggest changes for this year’s cars is how teams and drivers respond to that new batch of bodywork sitting in front of the cockpit. Last year, the FIA decided that a halo would be used to protect drivers from debris and now we’re finally able to see what that means for forward visibility. Williams Martini and Mercedes-AMG Petronas have released point-of-view videos of their drivers testing out the 2018 race cars.
For Williams, it’s Robert Kubica sampling the FW41 at Aragon in Spain. A sunny, cloudless day affords dry conditions and a clean view. Still, that halo is very much in the driver’s face. However, it’s thin in the middle and the driver is constantly focusing on the upcoming turns, which means looking out the open sides of the halo.
The picture is a bit different for Petronas driver Valtteri Bottas. With nothing but dark clouds overhead, the 2018 Mercedes F1 car is wearing its wet-weather tires. The camera seems closer to the halo in this shot, and it fills more of the frame. This view makes it seem more distracting. The darker car coupled with the darker sky doesn’t help matters.
Regardless, the halo is a great move forward in the direction of improved safety. It’s not perfect, but it’s primed to evolve with driver and team feedback. And it will certainly be a major talking point for the season ahead.