The FIA World Endurance Championship will adopt Formula 1’s Halo driver protection device at the onset of the 2019 season.
RACER has learned the WEC’s LMP1 and LMP2 prototype teams, and its factory-supported GTE-Pro entries will be required to submit Halo designs to the FIA safety commission for approval by the end of the calendar year. GTE-Am teams, for reasons that remain unclear, have been exempted from the Halo mandate by the French organization.
The timing for the Halo introduction could be problematic for some constructors during the FIA WEC’s “Super Season” that starts at the Belgian Spa circuit in May and runs through June 2019 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
According to annotations on the FIA document being circulated throughout the WEC paddock, drawings of every prototype and GT Halo concept must be received no later than December 31, 2018. And with an apparent grace period of three months to complete the review process, the first physical example of each Halo must be presented to the FIA for crash testing on April 1, 2019.
It’s believed the approved Halos would be introduced at the season finale in Le Mans.
Reached for a reaction to the sports car Halo, the concept struck a nerve with the series’ highest profile driver.
“I am disappointed to read this news,” said McLaren F1 star Fernando Alonso, who will join Toyota’s LMP1 program for the full 2018-2019 FIA WEC championship calendar.
“The decision to race [in the] LMP1 category was, for me, a chance to get the hell away from the Halo. Now, I feel very much like the damn thing is following me wherever I will go.”
The perturbed Spaniard also spoke to the obvious question left unaddressed by the FIA WEC.
“Did anyone tell them the cars have windshields already?” he asked. “A Halo in front of the windshield … it’s ridiculous, no?”