Formula 1 2018
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Formula 1 2018

Heavier F1 drivers to be penalised by Halo in 2018

Taller and heavier Formula 1 drivers could be at a disadvantage once again in 2018 as the Halo pushes up the overall weights of the cars.

Heavier F1 drivers to be penalised by Halo in 2018
Antonio Giovinazzi, Haas F1 Team VF-17, with halo
Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team and cap for the fans
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C36 and halo
Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team
Antonio Giovinazzi, Haas F1 Team VF-17 and halo
Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
Antonio Giovinazzi, Haas F1 Team VF-17 with halo

The FIA has raised the minimum weight limit by 6kgs in 2018 to take the Halo into account, having already added some leeway for 2017 before plans to introduce it were postponed.

However, teams have found that the Halo mountings and the work necessary to beef up their new chassis to pass the associated load tests has added extra weight, with a figure of up to 14kgs mentioned by Force India.

For some teams this will remove any scope for using ballast and mean that any extra kilos carried by the drivers themselves push the overall weight over the minimum.

Inevitably that will mean that they will be encouraged by their teams to pay even greater attention to their body weight.

Similar situations have occurred in the past, leading some drivers to question the health issues associated with trying to keep their weight in check, although it has been less of an issue in recent seasons as the FIA limit has crept up.

"We are aware of it, there is talk about it," said Nico Hulkenberg, one of the taller drivers on the current grid.

"It's a political matter and the teams need to agree to change the weight, but some teams don't want to, so it's a bit of a situation.

"For me as a taller and heavier driver it's definitely going to be a bit of a penalty. The team have already told me there might be some overweight issues for me, and asked me if I could go on a diet. The answer was no!"

Romain Grosjean agreed that he too could face problems, but hinted that there could be a solution in the future.

"My car is already very much on the limit if not overweight this year," said the Haas driver. "If the Halo is really that heavy, it's going to be a problem.

"I'll have to lose a bone! Honestly, I'm underweight, and I would be heavier if I had the choice. There are proposals in the pipeline in the future to solve the problem."

Hulkenberg also hinted that he expects the Halo to eventually be abandoned: "I don't think the Halo will survive very long in F1, to be honest. I think people will realise it's not that necessary."

Force India technical director Andy Green said incorporating the Halo was proving a "massive" undertaking for his team.

"It's a huge challenge. It's massive. It's a big headache at the moment, trying to design a car that hits the weight limit and weight distribution target," he said.

He fears the load tests will "almost destroy" the Halo and admitted it was a concern for all teams.

"It's a proof loading, it's a slow application of the load. It will almost destroy the halo while it's doing it. Is it a worry? Absolutely. It's a worry for all the teams when they first do it. It's a huge load. Huge."

Additional reporting by Lawrence Barretto

 

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