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Di Grassi Calls for Bespoke Formula E HALO

Reigning Formula E champion Lucas Di Grassi believes that a distinct HALO device should be used for the all-electric championship in future seasons….

Photo: Audi

Reigning Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi believes that a distinct HALO device should be used for the all-electric championship in future seasons.

The hotly debated safety component is scheduled to be part of the new-generation car design for Season Five that will see one car per driver, rather than the current two.

Di Grassi has told e-racing365 that that because of Formula E car’s different top speeds and car weight, a different model should be explored.

The Season Five Formula E car will definitely include a HALO safety device after manufacturers were contacted recently by the FIA, which confirmed the addition to the original design.

“The HALO was not designed or tested for our speed, so our HALO could be developed and tested for a Formula E scenario,” di Grassi told e-racing365.

“It is a totally different energy, totally different car weight, and it has to withstand the required loads.”

Formula E cars don’t need an air-intake and it is understood that this area of the car could, in theory, support an alternative solution in order to fit in with more futuristic styling.

“It could be a kind of half canopy. We don’t have fuel, so no reason to not have a canopy style,” di Grassi said.

The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver made it clear that he thought protection for the drivers was only a positive addition to additional safety in single-seater cars.

However, the Brazilian strongly believes that Formula E cars should go through separate tests and have an alternative solution for future cars.

“In my opinion the HALO is a good thing, but in Formula E it should be designed with the mentality that this is inherently a different car to Formula One,” he said.

“An electric car generally can have a completely different way of designing and engineering, which does not have to emulate what motorsport has been [in the past].

“The FIA are very strict, and they are right because if they start to listen to everyone’s opinions it becomes impossible.

“So they have to follow a direction. I agree that let’s do the HALO in F1 and across the board in motorsport, but then after that let’s do a study and get a solution which fits for Formula E.”

Six-Week Delay for Season Five Car Delivery

The implementation of the HALO on the new FIA-managed and coordinated Season Five car will delay the delivery of the cars by approximately six weeks, meaning they will not receive the cars until late February.

The HALO-induced modifications to the monocoque and other chassis-based changes have seen a significant increase in the cost of the cars. The overall Euro spend on the car is believed to be close to seven figures.

One senior team figure described the additional financial outlay as “having almost doubled it in cost.”

Teams now have to modify its Season Five development and testing schedules due to the delay, but Renault Technical Chief Vincent Gaillardot thinks it will not have a significant impact.

“Initially the delivery was early January for the battery and the chassis but it will be delayed,” he said. “But is it really relevant to start actual testing this early when the first race is the following December? I’m not sure to be honest if it is a big deal really.

“But for sure the battery is the real important one [component] because you have to make sure the electrical system, motor and inverter is joined in so you don’t find any issues.”

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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