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A Look at the Humble Halo

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[Deputy Editor’s Note: Good morning and welcome to Opening Day for MLB! Today we have an article from our own Jamie Rathjen, who takes a deep dive into a subject I’ll fully admit to almost no knowledge of — and that’s what makes UW so great — as we explore the niche-iest of topics in great detail. It’s a really fun piece. Enjoy!– PH]

A Look at the Humble Halo
by Jamie Rathjen

The halo, a new-ish safety device for open-wheel race cars, was introduced in 2018. Its use is required in all relevant series run by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, which includes Formula One, Formula E, and all of F1’s support series. Other series that use halos include most notably the IndyCar Series and its support series Indy NXT.

The halo takes the basic form of a head-level bar that encircles the cockpit, connected to the car at the back of the cockpit. It has a third support directly in front of the steering wheel. Notably, the IndyCar Series halo developed into a full windscreen instead of just a bar, but the Indy NXT series uses a normal halo.

At first, there were definitely complaints about the halo potentially blocking the driver’s vision or making it more difficult to get out of the car, as well as the probably to-be-expected take that it looked dumb. If you want to know what the halo looks like from behind the wheel, Formula E’s in-helmet cameras have you covered.

But all of those quieted down after the halo quickly proved its worth as a safety device starting from the first season it was used. I won’t recap those here, but the halo’s Wikipedia page has an overview.

Since 2018, the halo has become an established part of a car’s aesthetic design. Teams use the extra space for a variety of different and pretty creative purposes especially because of the halo’s visibility from the in-car camera, which is mounted above the back of the cockpit. Let’s look at some of them here.

A series-wide use is that Formula E cars have blue lights down the front of the halo to go along with others further behind on the car. When a car uses “attack mode,” where twice during the race the driver goes through a specific area on the track usually on the outside of a corner, the other lights — but not the ones on the halo! — begin blinking. In exchange for going off-line two different times, the car gets a power boost each time that adds up to eight minutes: either two-six, six-two, or four-four.

Embed from Getty Images

Of course the most basic use of that space by individual teams, as you might imagine, is ads. Not every team puts ads on the whole halo or we wouldn’t really be here with this piece. It is most common in IndyCar, where halos seem to be either covered in ads or leave some space for the driver’s name.

But in an extremely meta example, last year McLaren’s Formula One team found a company named Halo to advertise on the halo.

Haas is the only American F1 team and puts an American flag in the center, right in front of the driver’s face.

The all-woman F1 Academy series suffers from mostly pretty plain liveries, with a few interesting ones, despite support from F1 teams. The halos are the same way: largely adless with the driver’s name, affiliated F1 team, and F1 Academy logo.

Other teams use the halo to plug team or individual social media accounts, such as Nissan’s Formula E team. This is also another example of something that’s not as common as you might think: identification of the driver you’re looking at! It can be hard to tell sometimes in F1 and FE, where a team’s two cars pretty much look the same.

In 2022, then-Jaguar Formula E driver Sam Bird had a helmet design that started an infinite regression/Droste effect based on the in-car camera view, because on the top of the helmet it showed the car from above with the halo and the driver’s helmet inside of it. Unfortunately, he hasn’t kept it up since then.

Porsche’s Formula E team uses the halo as a space for punny messages based on wherever the current race is. For example, this is from the last race in Brazil:

There have also definitely been times when the halo is used for commemorations, memorials, or similar things, but not recently with the motorsports season just properly starting for this year. One example is that in 2019, Mercedes’ F1 team turned its halos red as a memorial to team executive and former F1 driver Niki Lauda.

Embed from Getty Images

Last year, Jaguar’s Formula E team (which, with apologies to everyone else, has featured heavily in this piece) marked King Charles III and Queen Camilla’s coronation through their halos. Interestingly, it was on the side of the halo, not the front.



MLB Season Preview Reminder

Aloha! Paul here, checking in from Hawaii to remind you that the annual Uni Watch MLB Season Preview, currently in its 26th annual edition, is now available for your enjoyment (and has also been updated with new developments from yesterday!). As usual, it’s your go-to resource for everything you need to know about this season’s new uniforms, logos, patches, throwbacks, and sleeve ads, plus stadium updates, deep-cut player-specific info, and a lot more. The MLB Preview is always my biggest and most popular piece of the year, and I can say with some confidence that it’s the most comprehensive guide of its type that you’re going to find!

You can read the first part of the MLB Preview here. In order to read the entire thing, you’ll need to become a paid subscriber to my Substack (which will also give you access to my full Substack archives). Thanks!

That’s it for me today. Now back to Phil!



Jacksonville Bulls Helmet Treatment - REDUX!

You’ll recall a wonderful “What if…” piece from Chris Diamond which ran this past Monday, in which Chris decided to give the Jacksonville Bulls ‘Treatment” to six NFL teams whose logos are animals with hooves.

In the comments, several readers were hoping to see the “full back” of the helmets Chris created, and he has now done just that.

Here is his look at the backs of the six NFL teams, plus the Bulls, with the full Jax treatment (click to enlarge):

Thanks Chris!



Uniform Concepts and Tweaks

Time for more Uni Tweaks from the UW readership.

I hope you guys like this feature and will want to continue to submit your concepts and tweaks to me. If you do, Shoot me an E-mail (Phil (dot) Hecken (at) gmail (dot) com).

• • • • •
Today’s concepts come from Ian Lee.

Hi Phil!

I saw your tweet yesterday about how the Lions are getting new uniforms–not a moment too soon, in my humble opinion! (despite the fact that the new ones are almost inevitably going to look worse than the ones that will be replaced, especially now that the ones being replaced are up there with the most successful uniforms in Lions history)–and I wanted to make a concept of what I think they should look like.

Logo: I created a mesh of the 1961-1969 logo and the 2017-present logo, and put it on the helmets.


• I made the striping classic–grey, white, blue, white, grey–to match the striping from the logo.

• I also added a WCF patch similar to that worn during Barry Sanders’ Lions era because I thought that looked better than putting it in the striping like the Lions do currently a la the Bears.

• I made the NOB and numbers a simple block font because I thought that worked well for a team as classic as the Lions.

• There is a grey alternate, but it isn’t unitard grey. There are blue pants.

• I added the “saloon wordmark” from 1970-2008 to the uniform. It just fit the vibes better, especially now that saloon inspired marks are now making a comeback (see SF for confirmation).


Ian Lee

• • • • •
OK readers (and concepters). If you have some tweaks or concepts, shoot ’em my way with a brief description of your creation and I’ll run ’em here.



Guess the Game from the Uniform

Based on the suggestion of long-time reader/contributor Jimmy Corcoran, we’ve introduced a new “game” on Uni Watch, which is similar to the popular “Guess the Game from the Scoreboard” (GTGFTS), only this one asked readers to identify the game based on the uniforms worn by teams.

Like GTGFTS, readers will be asked to guess the date, location and final score of the game from the clues provided in the photo. Sometimes the game should be somewhat easy to ascertain, while in other instances, it might be quite difficult. There will usually be a visual clue (something odd or unique to one or both of the uniforms) that will make a positive identification of one and only one game possible. Other times, there may be something significant about the game in question, like the last time a particular uniform was ever worn (one of Jimmy’s original suggestions). It’s up to YOU to figure out the game and date.

Today’s GTGFTU comes from the pseudonymous “Jimmy Corcoran Fan” (and specifically said Jimmy is prohibited from playing).

Good luck and please post your guess/answer in the comments below.



Uni Tweet of the Day

Wonder just how close this is…

And finally...

…that’s it for the early post today. Big thanks to Jamie for that really fun look at the halo!

As I’ve mentioned, unfortunately Paul’s vacation has coincided with some family matters that require a lot of my time, so I appreciate everyone’s patience and apologize if I can’t get to breaking uni news in a timely fashion. There will be at least one additional article today (and hopefully if there’s any uni news that breaks, I can get to that).

But today is Opening Day — the holiest of holy days on my sports calendar — and even though my Mets (and their opponents, the Brewers) have already had their opener rained out, we’ve still got a full slate of games. Everyone is undefeated, and hopes for all fans, including the wayward Oakland A’s, are still high. And with MLB’s expanded playoffs, as we saw last year, you just have to qualify for the post-season and you can win it all (just ask the Rangers). So here’s to a great MLB season! And after a full day of baseball, March Madness returns with four games tonight in the Round of 16.

Everyone have a great Thursday Opening Day, and I’ll back with our own Anthony Emerson tomorrow with a run-down of today’s MLB uni-action!



Comments (18)

    Doubt those Texans unis are close, it sounds like from all the available information that the template will be different for each set (which is a shame), so I’m skeptical the horns on the collars will be on more than one jersey.

    We shall see!

    Sorry, Chris, but the backs of those helmets are horrible. YUCK!

    On an unrelated note, brilliant marketing move by MLB/Oakland A’s to schedule Opening Day for 10 o’clock on a school night back in Cleveland. Yeah, some savvy thinking went into that. Red Sox fans have the same gripe.

    Great article Jamie! Very informative and interesting!

    I also created the Lions concept today, and I’d love to hear what people think of it—especially fellow Lions fans.

    Not a Lions fan, but I think the concept is pretty good. My one issue is it feels like the helmet stripe has too much grey. The stripe seems to work with everything but the helmet.

    Not to be unhopeful, but I have a feeling that your concept is going to be better than whatever Nike produces

    I like the Lions concept, but the GFGS is still trash even with blue pants.

    I also like most of the wraparound logos on the Bulls-style helmets, particularly Bills, Colts, and most of all the Chargers.

    I do think the striped logo looks better in the current iteration. If you can’t use a skinny lion, then maybe make the stripes skinnier. As shown it’s a little too busy for my liking.

    Inconsistency spotted: for the Bulls helmet redux of the Texans, the originalpost had the word “Texans” in blue (black?) on the helmet, but in white on the helmet worn buly the player template.

    One thing I didn’t mention but found a little fascinating is how often it seems halos actually are a contrasting color to the rest of the car. For example, I’m pretty sure in F1 Ferrari’s halos have always been black on a red car.

    I know it can’t be a vision problem or why use it, but it just bothers me to see this bar right in the front of the drivers vision.

    Roman Grosjean was one of the halo’s biggest critics but I probably saved him from a decapitation in 2020. And the way our eyes work, the line in the middle almost completely disappears after a few seconds.

    Happy opening day everyone, time to break out the hot dogs and Cracker Jack…
    Love those Lions concepts there, Ian, very clean design, great job and very un-Nike like…
    Never thought I’d see an article on the Halo but that was awesome, Jamie. I’ve been fascinated with F1 steering wheels for years because of how complex and crazy expensive they are…

Comments are closed.