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Start lights lowered to accommodate Halo

NEWS STORY
22/03/2018

Fears that the Halo will restrict drivers’ visibility at the start of Sunday's Australian Grand Prix have led to the FIA repositioning the lights.

The move, which will be reflected at all other circuits, will see both the main starting lights and those positioned midway down the grid lowered in order that no driver's view is obstructed by the Halo which makes its race debut this weekend.

"With the halo what we've asked every circuit to do is to make the lights at a standard height above the track," revealed Charlie Whiting.

"We've also put a repeat set of lights, in this case off to the left, over the verge," he added. "Those repeat lights were normally halfway up the grid, and they were fitted round about 2009, when the rear wings became higher on the cars. Some drivers complained about not being able to see the main start lights, so that is when we introduced an extra set. But now the wings have been lowered, there's no need for those halfway up the grid so I've decided to utilise them somewhere else.

"Pole position seems to be the worst case scenario with the halo there," he admitted, "maybe the driver can't quite see the lights, or see only half of them, and he might have to move his head too much. But then he's got a repeat set of lights which are five metres further down."

In order to provide drivers with an opportunity to see the relocated start lights, practice starts from the grid will be allowed at the end of FP1 and FP2.

"We haven't normally allowed practice starts on the grid here because it's quite a tight timetable and things like that," said Whiting. "What I thought would be a good idea was to give the driver sight of those lights rather than have them look at them for the first time on Sunday evening."

Of course, if they'd tried the Aeroscreen...

Check out our Thursday gallery from Melbourne, here.

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1. Posted by Your Mom's Best Friend, 24/03/2018 23:57

"For just a split-second, my brain went all pseudo-dyslexic and I thought the headliner read:

HALO REMOVED TO ACCOMMODATE DRIVERS

Damn my old age and wishful thinking !

Love that the article quotes Whiting, multiple times, using the first-person singular "I've decided...", "What I thought...", in addition to the indeterminate plural We, or We've. Charlie Whiting, THE VOICE OF THE F.i.A. !

After Jules Bianchi's, lets just be polite and call it an incident, at the Japanese Grand a few years ago - and subsequent death - Charlie Whiting should have been out of a job AT THE VERY LEAST.

"Safety Director" my ass !

HALO is not a driver protection device. It is a Charlie Whiting and Jean Todt protection device. Period.

You see, HALO IS indeed a solution to a problem that DOES exist. It's just that the "problem" is not the one that we are supposed to believe it is. Allow me to explain:

The F.i.A.'s own "official investigation" into Bianchi's crash (into and under a mobile crane which was incorrectly placed on the wrong side of track safety barriers) unambiguously concluded that a HALO would not have saved Bianchi's life.

Ok, Mom's Best Friend, so then why the HALO ?

Because Bianchi's family, rightly and understandably, found the notion of the F.i.A. essentially investigating themselves (and finding themselves completely blameless) objectionable, and then decided to sue F.i.A. in court. To this day I still get a huge laugh out of this: F.i.A. investigates itself, finds itself not at fault of anything at all in relation to Bianchi's injuries. This is like the American C.I.A. investigating itself and concluding that they didn't import metric tonnes of cocaine into The United States in the '80's. CASE CLOSED.

I always try to avoid making assumptions in lieu of facts and Your Mom's Best Friend is not a lawyer, thank God. But, if I were to assume anything about driver contracts prior to the introduction of HALO, I'm fairly certain that we would find plenty of legalese completely indemnifying the teams from any potential injury or death incurred by the driver. And rightly so. And, this is to say nothing about fat insurance policies covering same (see one R. Kubica). The drivers know, both literally and metaphorically, what they're getting into. The drivers have always known.

F.i.A. is supposed to look after safety. But the driver signs a contract with a team, not with the F.i.A. Hence, HALO.

HALO isn't there to deflect tyres from drivers heads, it's there to deflect any FUTURE (not present) lawsuits from F.i.A.'s heads. Amongst other things it's probably the worst, most backwards bit of public relations seen in F1 history. And it has huge competition for that dubious honor but still probably wins it.

In the meantime, what of the Bianchi family lawsuit ? Well it's certainly been a good long while since we've heard anything of substance, or anything at all about it, hasn't it ? Speaking from personal observation I can say that state's attorneys, "independent" lawyers, and judges usually all tend to be members of the same supper-clubs...

We could talk all day about whether that particular Jap GP should have been red flagged versus yellow, but that crane never should have been allowed where it was to clean up the prior accident. It should have remained behind a safety barrier. And all of that is on Whiting.

While I suppose it's debatable whether or not he deserves to be in a cell next to Flavio Briatore, what seems undebatable to me is that Charlie Whiting should have immediately resigned from his position following Bianchi's crash. If I had to guess, when someone told him that he wouldn't have to take any responsibility whatsoever for living up to his job title, he weighed that up versus being able to continue to attend post-race cocktail parties and chose the latter. Too bad that there's no more grid girls for him or anyone else to rub up on now though ! BOO HOO !!"

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2. Posted by Ro, 22/03/2018 16:04

"Just another "boob" by the FIA...Act in haste, repent in leisure.....Its an absolutely ugly bit of pointless kit....."

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3. Posted by vins0n, 22/03/2018 13:45

"Sights lowered to accommodate Liberty's plans"

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4. Posted by Cobra Racer, 22/03/2018 13:20

"First we find that the "halo" device will impede the driver's ability to see the top of aux Rouge and then the control lamps must be lowered so that the drivers know when to start. I have never used start lamps from a standing start, but I have raced a 289 Cobra at Spa and know that restricting visibility at the top is madness. Tough in a Cobra, impossible, and perhaps fatal in an F1 machine. Charlie, what is the objective here? How many times in the past few years has debris from the track entered the driver's area? Are you looking for an answer to a problem that really does not exist?
"

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