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Force India would prefer Halo to be deferred

NEWS STORY
19/08/2017

Force India's chief operating officer, Otmar Szafnauer, has admitted that he would have preferred the introduction of Halo device to be deferred until 2019.

With the teams expecting the FIA to opt for The Shield as its cockpit safety device of choice for 2018, the late U-turn which will see the Halo introduced instead has already had an effect on the teams' preparations for their cars for next year.

None more so than Force India, where Szafnauer admits the move to the Halo device has opened up a range of issues.

"It may delay next year's car," he told Motorsport.com. "There is a finite amount of time that it takes to design and make a monocoque, and if we don't get definition in that timeframe, all it does is it delays when it's produced. Right now, it looks like we may not be able to produce it in time for testing."

The FIA's U-turn came despite the fact that all the teams, bar Ferrari, were against the Halo, understandable really when Szafnauer reveals that the way in which the device is integrated with the chassis could leave a number of teams "screwed" in terms of the mandatory crash tests.

"The roll-hoop, when we changed when Alex Wurz rolled and broke the roll-hoop, the test criteria went up by an order of magnitude," he said, referring to the Austrian's crash during the 1998 Canadian Grand Prix. "I remember designing and trying to make a roll-hoop that actually passed the test criteria. It took forever. We eventually did it, but the amount of times we failed and redesigned...

"The nice thing with the roll-hoop was you could just cut it off and put another one on, so the whole monocoque wouldn't have to be redesigned," he continued. "If this test criteria is so high that the Halo fails, and it fails the monocoque, we're screwed.

"It's rushed," he claimed. "It would have been nice to have had another year to do it properly. It is what it is.

"The only way to stop it is if the FIA stops it and says we're going to do it in a year's time. It's safer to do it properly than to rush it, that's the only way I can see stopping it."

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