Alonso, Hamilton to sample Halo at Singapore

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Multiple Formula One world champions Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton are set to become the latest drivers to try the Halo cockpit protection device when they run the system at next weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

While F1’s Strategy Group voted against its introduction in 2017, the FIA is keen for every driver to have a session with the Halo by the end of the current campaign.

Across the last two race weekends in Belgium and Italy, Mercedes, Force India, Toro Rosso and McLaren-Honda have joined Ferrari and Red Bull in the list of teams having run the system.

After Jenson Button trialled the Halo at Monza, McLaren technical director Tim Goss confirms that team-mate Alonso will have his first taste of it at the next championship round.

“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,” he said. “His thoughts will be fed back into the working group as the teams progress with the ongoing development of head protection alternatives.”

“Testing the device through the year with all the teams has already been very instructive. For McLaren, running with Jenson at Monza has allowed us to gain insight into its performance in both tight chicanes and high-speed corners.”

Speaking about the challenges the Halo presents, Goss added: “Clearly, one of the biggest issues for the driver is visibility. There are lots of fairly minor things to consider: can he view the starting lights? Can he see clearly at circuits like Spa and Austin, where there’s some fairly significant gradient?

“But they’re not insurmountable issues – you can always find a solution if you’re open-minded enough. Teams could look at installing start lights in the cockpit, for instance.”

The Halo has been dividing opinions in the F1 paddock from the moment it was introduced in pre-season testing by Ferrari. While some drivers, like Nico Rosberg, are in favour, others, such as Kevin Magnussen, doubts it will ever be raced.

F1 chiefs have not actually committed to the introduction of Halo for 2018, but of some form of “frontal cockpit protection” instead.

At any rate, it will be interesting to hear Alonso and Hamilton's feedback on the device. Having described the Halo as “the worst-looking mod in F1 history” during winter testing, Hamilton has admitted his stance changed following an FIA presentation on the system in Hungary last July.

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