Chief Technical Officer of Chassis at McLaren F1 Team, Tim Goss, explains the added requirements this season to deal with the introduction of the halo.
The rules have stayed largely the same from last season, but the introduction and incorporation of the halo has been difficult for the teams – as it requires additional support from the chassis and it can compromise airflow around the cockpit area.
According to Goss, creating a chassis that could accommodate the halo was the most challenging part of the design and creation process of the new car – and once built, it had to undergo a series of extreme and comprehensive crash tests that proved it could bear up to 150kN.
“The biggest challenge from the design side was to create the chassis structure to accommodate it – it has to undergo some static [crash] tests when fitted to the chassis,” he said.
“There’s a front test, and a lateral, oblique test. In that lateral test, the halo and mountings have to be designed to withstand 150kN – and you test to 100kN in the lab, and then prove that it will take more.”
Whilst the aesthetics of the halo may be highly divisive, it’s introduction marks a move to improve the safety of ‘open-cockpit’ racing. It’s implementation is designed to deflect objects flying to the previously exposed head’s of the drivers.
“So you’ve got to design your chassis to take these loads” Goss continued.
“And they’re nothing trivial: you’re talking about a London bus sitting on the side of the halo.“