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Halo integration proving 'quite difficult' for F1 teams' 2018 designs

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Is Halo right for Formula One? (2:16)

Jennie Gow and Sam Collins talk at Force India's factory about how Halo will affect the cars in the 2018 season. (2:16)

Integrating the controversial Halo device onto next year's cars is proving to be a big challenge for F1 teams, despite the fact it is likely to have a "minor aerodynamic effect" on performance.

Earlier this year the FIA confirmed the cockpit protection device will be introduced for 2018, one of the most significant changes to the overall look of a Formula One car in the sport's history. The Halo is designed to reduce the risk of serious head injuries by offering drivers extra frontal protection against flying debris.

The Halo has been tested by various teams at the races since the announcement was made in July but continues to divide opinion among drivers and fans. Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe says teams are still working on the best way to integrate the device.

"It's a big project to put that in the car," he said. "We're still working on it, and the integration is quite difficult. There are very high loads to accommodate, so I think the bigger impact is structural rather than aerodynamic."

While acknowledging the scale of the job, Haas boss Guenther Steiner pointed out it is a much smaller challenge than 2017, with new regulations leading to radically revamped cars for the current campaign.

"If you ask our aerodynamicists they'll say it's impossible to do, but if we do it [they will say] 'we are so great we got it done'!" Steiner said. "In general, we claim we are the best, the fastest cars in motorsport, so I think we can handle it. It's then who does the better job, we'll only see that next year, who is getting the best out of it.

"It's doable. We designed a completely new car in a year and now we have two relatively small influencers, a Halo and the [shark-]fin, yes or no, so I think we can cope with it... or do better!"

During the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend the FIA released more details about how the Halo will be implemented. Though the structural part of the device will be made by a single supplier and provided to everyone, the carbon fibre fairing that goes around it will be designed by the teams, something the FIA hopes will lead to the final designs looking better than the prototyes seen so far.

Though teams having scope to influence part of the design themselves would suggest there are performance gains to be found, Lowe says the benefits are likely to be minimal.

"There is some performance [in Halo designs] I guess," he said. "Probably the major area is how efficiently you can provide the mounting requirements to meet the loads -- how much weight do you have to throw at that problem? Because it's all weight.

"There are some minor aerodynamic effects. We haven't seen it as a huge project - the detriment is not particularly large. There is some room for manoeuvre there, but not a lot."