The FIA has recently announced the details of the crash tests required for the halo head protection system, allowing Formula One teams to begin finalising their 2018 chassis designs. At Thursday’s World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris, the FIA announced the new additions to the chassis homologation process, with the halo crash test processes defined in the new regulations.
Although various details such as the halo geometry and loads expected on the chassis were supplied to teams, the FIA has been holding out in releasing details of the halo’s load test, developed in consultation with the current teams on the Formula One grid. Now comprising Article 17.2 in the most up-to-date set of FIA technical regulations, the rules confirm that a “dummy” structure must be used during the load tests in place of the actual halo design. Loads must be applied through either the application of a 150mm pad, or a spherical joint appended to the “dummy” halo geometry, where the regulations define the magnitude of forces which must be used during the test.
Peak loads must be applied within three minutes of the test process and are maintained for five seconds, after which there must be no failure in the survival cell, or in the attachment between the “dummy” structure and the survival cell. The FIA also ratified further changes to the 2018 rules at the WMSC, confirming a reduction in allowable power unit components and a revised set of wheel retention and chassis strength regulations.
The FIA will also introduce penalties for illegal race starts in 2018 after reviewing the Sporting Regulations – for both jumping the lights and not lining up on the grid correctly. Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was accused of jumping the start at the 2017 Austrian Grand Prix by Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, yet his data revealed he had moved within 0.201s of the lights going out. However, that race incident has prompted the FIA to review the regulations.
The amended version of Article 36.13 of the Sporting Regulations is as follows:
Either of the penalties under Articles 38.3c) or d) [a drive through penalty or 10-second stop-and-go penalty] will be imposed on any driver who is judged to have:
a) Moved before the start signal is given, such judgement being made by an FIA approved and supplied transponder fitted to each car, or:
b) Positioned his car on the starting grid in such a way that the transponder is unable to detect the moment at which the car first moved from its grid position after the start signal is given.