Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Drivers can ‘see what they need to’ with Halo – Vettel

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel says Halo does not present a significant problem for drivers’ visibility.

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Is Ecclestone doing good for F1 – and what would the sport be like without him?

I guess the owners of F1 still keep Ecclestone because he has more experience and knowledge than anyone else so he can still negotiate better contracts with circuits or F1 broadcasters. In other words, he brings them more money in the short term. However, I highly doubt if he is good for F1 if one cares about the sport’s future.

Then again, look at what ideas other, Ecclestone-free racing series come up with. Formula E had a blank sheet of paper yet they somehow managed to invent Fanboost. NASCAR has been turned into a season-long ‘elimination qualifying’. IndyCar happily uses double points and reverse grids and success ballasts were also not invented by F1.

So while I completely agree that Ecclestone must go, I am worried about the future of F1 with or without him.

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  • 65 comments on “Drivers can ‘see what they need to’ with Halo – Vettel”

    1. For what it’s worth, Indycar does not do reverse grids or success ballast (unless I’ve missed a change). Double points, yes the double points at the final race are silly but they also offer double points for the Indy 500, which I think is justified given that they basically dedicate a month to the race.

      1. pastaman (@)
        6th March 2016, 0:28

        I don’t think COTD intended to say Indycar uses reverse grids or success ballast, it was just improper sentence structure. But hey, this is the internet.

        What they were probably trying to say:
        “IndyCar happily uses double points. Reverse grids and success ballasts were also not invented by F1.”

        1. Sorry, I think you’re right. My bad.

        2. @pastaman @vmaxmuffin You are right, this is what I meant: “IndyCar happily uses double points. Reverse grids and success ballasts were also not invented by F1.”

          The original sentence structure was indeed confusing. Sorry about that!

          1. pastaman (@)
            6th March 2016, 13:01

            @girts no worries, you made some good points!

    2. RIP Alan Henry. Just last night I was wondering why he stopped writing articles on McLaren’s website. Kinda scary.

    3. I know that it’s been expressed a lot on Twitter but I want to say here that I am deeply saddened by Alan Henry’s death. He was a massive influence on me when I was growing up learning about all things F1 and I have a number of his books which I enjoy greatly. He will be missed in the paddock and his contribution to F1 rivals Murray Walker in introducing new fans to the sport. I particularly enjoy his book Remembering Ayrton Senna and that was a go-to book for me for many years before I read Christopher Hilton, also sadly now with us. I also used to look forward to reading his F1Racing column which had insider info and some great forgotten stories. Most of all I am happy to remember that journalists can also prove to be legends of the sport and I hope his legacy is that he inspires writers of the future.

    4. re: COTD, the situation can pretty much be summarised by “it’s better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” I remember reading a couple years back that is how the paddock sees the situation with Ecclestone.

      Just wanted to say that some of the criticisms there are a bit unfair though. Formula E hardly had a blank piece of paper to develop from, it’s a testing bed for modern technology, implementing fan race interaction through social media is certainly testing out those modern technologies. Reverse grids and success ballasts aren’t entirely terrible ideas either, if implemented correctly, which is the bit F1 just can’t seem to get right. One lap qualifying for example is a great idea that F1 implemented absolutely atrociously.

      Some of the suggested implementations of reverse grids (only the top 10’s qualifying results being reversed?!) or success ballasts (a time based ballast applied at the end of the race?!) are completely whacked, where as a 10 lap reversed grid sprint after the main event for 1/2 points or a small weight ballast to overly successful teams to close the gaps a bit (but not completely nullify the advantage) aren’t entirely terrible ideas at all – certainly better than DRS anyway.

      1. Thank you for reading my comment and responding to it!

        Social media is a great tool to interact with fans and several F1 teams use it wisely. Chats with fans or competitions are good examples of that. But I think that Fanboost crosses a very obvious red line.

        When the most popular guy, not the best car and driver combination, starts to win, then I switch the channel to Nickelodeon because I do not see the point of watching an expensive TV show that the organisers sell as a sport. As a spectator, I feel like I am cheated twice.

        Firstly, the series pretend to interact with me even though it does not. Replying to my comment would take their time and effort, while counting my vote is as much “interaction” as Windows Welcome screen. Secondly, if this is called a sport and Lord Voldemort is the best at it, then he should win, no matter how evil and unpopular he is. Otherwise it becomes a show, a popularity contest, a fiction. I know that Fanboost usually does not decide the outcome of Formula E races but it is a matter of principle and it would be very sad to see something similar in F1.

        1. Gerulf Dösinger (@)
          6th March 2016, 11:23

          Make this tomorrow’s COTD! ;)

        2. pastaman (@)
          6th March 2016, 13:20

          Agreed. Fan interaction should never influence the results of a race. Nothing more to be said there.

          Honestly, it’s really quite easy to engage your fans over social media. You can spend over 100mn dollars per season, but can’t hire two people to run your team’s social media campaign? Hell, you could probably do it with ONE person. It’s not hard to find someone these days who will spend all day on Facebook and Twitter for you! Some teams already have done a good job here in the past (notably Lotus).

          Of course, the big one is YouTube (or similar). C’mon FOM you have a bajillion hours of footage spanning over 60 years. Damn near every other racing league on the planet releases their videos for free, a lot of them barely a week after the race took place! It is simply mind boggling how dated Bernie’s stance on this is. The thing is, he could probably make MORE money by releasing these videos and it wouldn’t cost him jack squat to do it. So frustrating!

          1. The archives you speak of can already be accessed if you know the right places to look. I have every race from 1980 to present day on about 15 TB of hard drive space

            1. Hey i ‘d like some access to that, can you help me?

            2. It’s a member invite system only. No public access. Members are also penalized heavily if one of their invites abuses said system. Very hard to get into and a +500 GB upload ratio must be maintained.

        3. A good compromise would be to let social media decide who has their on-board laps shown. Zero impact on the race, maximum impact on the fans.

          Of course the better solution would be what the NFL does, one price for a whole season of coverage wherever you chose to watch (TV, computer, Xbox, mobile). In addition you get the “all 22” coverage, footage they never show on TV to be viewed after the game for people who really care about what their favorite player did on each play, or how the coaches lined their whole team up (etc.)

          One day I hope F1 joins the modern era of broadcasting. I love the sport for the technology and innovation. Selling exclusive rights to the highest bidder is hardly innovative, and one you-tube channel isn’t proving any technological superiority. Mercedes are talking about dumping GBs of data over a wireless connection as the car pulls into or passes the pits that makes me excited. It also makes me sad the only way to see F1 online is to steal Sky or BBC coverage from a torrent.

      1. Here’s a fact, majority of the recent fatalities in open-wheel racing happened due to various form of head/spinal-chord injuries.

      2. Thank you for making me aware of the site. Let’s hope Ernie will not find their piece on elimination qualifying.

      3. RaceProUK (@)
        7th March 2016, 14:32

        As much as I love that site, it would be a little out of place to have a parody site in a news round-up :P

    5. Ok, perhaps this is inappropriate, so please delete it if it is. But the “halo” it does appear to closely resemble the bottom half of a bikini set. #justsaying

      1. And bottom half of bikini is usually quite sexy… Depending on car its on.

      2. sadly the first thing that came to mind for me after reading your comment was that horrible Briatore in string tanga picture @hare.

        I guess its much the same as in real life (as @jureo mentions) – it rather depends on the person wearing it wheather it looks good or not!

        1. :) Time will tell. Let’s hope it doesn’t become meme. @bascb @jureo

        2. I bet I’m glad I didn’t click the pictures link :)

      3. pastaman (@)
        6th March 2016, 13:21

        It’s already been noticed, apparently you haven’t seen/heard the “thong” jokes yet :)

    6. Ive been thinking about the halo and unforseen possibilities that may occur.

      The now infamous accident at corner 1 in spa (2012 I think) when grosjean went over the top of alonso may have been worse if the halos were in place. Grosjean car coming from the side as it did could have caught on the halo and possibly even deflected into Alonsos face. Certainly high impacts from the side could now have something to snag on which would distribute the forces in unexpected ways…

      1. pastaman (@)
        6th March 2016, 13:23

        I would take my chances of a car hitting the halo rather than my head

      2. Fudge Ahmed (@)
        6th March 2016, 18:29

        This version of the halo is a half measure, looking forward to seeing Red Bull’s windscreen halo which sounds like it will make much more sense.

      3. I was worried about that as well, but in reality, Grosjean’s car pivoted (not slid) across the front of Alonso’s car, at least a foot or two in front of where the halo would be.

        On the other hand, I’m worried that the spring that hit Massa could have ricocheted off the underside of the halo.

        The halo was designed for one scenario– a medium-to-large piece of debris approaching the car from the front. Any other scenario, it’s not going to help, and could potentially make worse.

      4. RaceProUK (@)
        7th March 2016, 14:35

        Grosjean car coming from the side as it did could have caught on the halo and possibly even deflected into Alonsos face.

        I see a number of people claiming this, but not one explaining how they think it would actually happen. The gap between the halo and the cockpit side is about a third of the diameter of a wheel; how could a car submarine through a gap that small?

    7. as for the COTD, the question is what kind of championship do you want. All things like fanboost, weights, reverse grid are not bad in itself, they are just means to achieve something. A motor sport championship will always be mix of entertainment and a danger of domination of the best technology. The thing about f1 is that a lot of fans don’t want the best to be punished. They feel freedom is important to create new technology and the reward of being the best is justified and that the other teams should be doing better. But they also see that f1 is making it very hard to catch up and now instead of addressing that problem, they are (or were) talking about shifting to the entertainment side and imposing artificial obstacles, while the real problems are left untouched.

      1. pastaman (@)
        6th March 2016, 13:24

        Agreed with everything except Fanboost. That is inherently bad. Racing is not a popularity contest.

    8. If I were racing I wouldn’t want the Halo. If my son were racing I would want the Halo.

      1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
        6th March 2016, 10:17

        Well put.

    9. I think a lot of bedroom engineers are looking at the halo and thinking that they can get a better idea of the physics from their own guesses than the collision tests it will be put through.

      It’s early days yet and they’re still really testing the concept to see how it impacts visibility and a driver getting in and out of the car because if it makes that dangerous no amount of collision protection will make up for it.

      But if that get’s the all clear which it seems from the test it did, then begins the crash testing to make sure it’s up to snuff. And honestly I’m so amazed by the collision protection the cars currently provide in what looks like a bath tub that I have more faith in the engineering ability of the people behind it than my own hunch from looking at it.

      1. “I have more faith in the engineering ability of the people behind it than my own hunch from looking at it.”

        That is particularly wise and unusual thinking.

        To me it’s an awful eyesore, but I think if it’s something that can improve safety, there is no good reason to ignore it. The unprotected head are is a huge concern as far as F1 safety goes.

      2. I’d still like to see more of a canopy style design, I know that’d create a problem if the car over turned but surely they could implement a ‘kill switch’ that would shatter the glass in that situation, much like how an aircraft canopy works?

        1. The FIA have tested canopies and found a number of problems (not just extricating the driver), they have focused on the halo because their tests showed it was the best compromise of increased safety with the least side-effects.

          1. RaceProUK (@)
            7th March 2016, 14:36

            A fact a lot of armchair engineers conveniently ignore.

    10. Thanks very much for the COTD. Finding out that your comment is “the chosen one” is always the best way to start a new day! :)

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        6th March 2016, 11:32

        Congratulations @girts
        Good comment although I don’t fully agree. A new series (FE) can afford a stupid idea (FanBoost). It’s actually a strike of genius. It attracts all the attention to the new series, and it’s easy to drop afterwards.
        For me I’m an eternal optimist, and do believe that the ‘devil we don’t know’ can turn out to be Azazel.

        PS just read that ‘the chosen one’ did not have a good day yesterday; unlikely to go to the Reds.

    11. Few people in F1 especially a certain guy and the media especially the BBCs F1 writer who hyped up Mercedes after just the first test could be eating humble pie come Abu Dhabi.

    12. Halo…. Agree or disagree?

      From my point of view, F1 has a risk component that makes it a romantic sport, like the first airplanes pilots, or the first astronauts. This risk, by definition, means there is always a chance for accidents…

      Let aside the amount of cash and fame all the drivers earn during their careers. Part of this income relies in the assumption of this default risk the series have.

      But, yeah, agreeing the safety shoud be improved as possible, please, let’s give it more thoughts. The Halo system could not have avoided any of the fatal accidents in the last years in F1. Instead of installing a bizarre add-on, why not improve safety in private tests? Why not implement a forced speed limit in weather extreme conditions, or double yellow flags? Why not implement a crane protocol, so no heavy vehicles are in the same space as the race cars?

      1. RaceProUK (@)
        7th March 2016, 14:38

        It’s not an either/or situation; you can put all those procedures in place and fit halos or whatever is ultimately chosen.

    13. Saurabh (@sksahukanker62)
      6th March 2016, 13:23

      i’d love to view a first person view of that…

    14. Gerulf Dösinger (@)
      6th March 2016, 13:46

      Vettel. This guy is strongly growing on me. He seems to really have matured as a person and race-driver and honestly I think he is currently one of the best ambassadors for Formula 1.

      He has a real no-nonsense attitude, gives safety the highest priority and speaks what is on his mind and does not give in too much to the corporate hype/behaviour other drivers showcase that makes them seem like management-puppets.

      And I got to say I felt – and still feel – his behaviour in his RedBull years was at times utterly disrespectful towards Webber and sometimes his own team. But he seems to have grown, and his switch to Ferrari and the current success of Mercedes proved many people wrong on the “4xWDC just because of a dominant car” thing. I thought the same, I stand corrected.

      Respect to this guy, he should be regarded as one of the all-time greats Formula 1 has brought to the forefront of the sport.

      1. He ‘is’ regarded as one of the all time greats. Welcome to the club.

      2. Fudge Ahmed (@)
        6th March 2016, 18:34

        Very well put, I was never a fan but I am becoming one now.

      3. @wildrover84

        But he seems to have grown, and his switch to Ferrari and the current success of Mercedes proved many people wrong on the “4xWDC just because of a dominant car” thing.

        I hate to point it out, but that’s still the case – he won his 4 titles in the class of the field and yes, he was the closest to the Merc drivers last year, but until he drags that Ferrari to a world title, he’s not emulating Schumacher or Hamilton.

        1. It remains a fact that almost always the WDC winner had the WCC winning car, and the odd time that didn’t happen the WDC’s car was a strong second in the WCC. It is simply the nature of the sport that you need the winning equipment to win with, and the task is to not squander it when you have it.

        2. @optimaximal
          Agree with @robbie . The occasions that Michael and Lewis won the title without the WCC winning car, they had very strong frontrunning cars and underperforming teammates who never fought for a title in their careers. Those cars weren’t “dragged” into title contention. It was expected.

        3. ???Not emulating Schumacher. Hamilton like Vettel only wins in the best car, he did very well with lesser cars just like Vettel did last year.

        4. RaceProUK (@)
          7th March 2016, 14:40

          but until he drags that Ferrari to a world title, he’s not emulating Schumacher or Hamilton

          Who both have won the majority of their championships in dominant cars.

    15. ell, I also agree that nowadays we have an acceptable risk concerning f1 safety standards.
      If it’s something that some drivers want and others don’t, it’s just need to not be mandatory. And to keep this more “fair”, the rules may state that if a halo device weights 5 kilos and a driver chooses not to use one, a ballast of the same weight will be added to the car.
      Another point that I would like to mention, is that it looks that there is no enough research about other safety problems the halo might cause. The halo is effective against tires, but if we take as example the horrid Kubica’s crash in Montreal, who can tell that if the halo was on Kubica’s car it couldn’t act as a spear and enter inside the driver’s helmet and kill him? For me it looks that the halo might decrease the risk of injury in some cases and increase in others. I think more research is needed, and not only use a cannon to throw tires against it and conclude that this is the best solution.

      1. If the halo is introduced it will be because research has shown it to have a positive affect on driver head protection, in which case it will be mandatory.

      2. RaceProUK (@)
        7th March 2016, 14:41

        I think more research is needed, and not only use a cannon to throw tires against it and conclude that this is the best solution.

        The ‘tyre cannon’ may be the test that’s been reported in the media, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only test performed.

    16. Of course they can see what they need to do, the F1 drivers probably can make laps with their eyes closed.
      I remember a one time, in the Spanish TV, they made Alonso make a lap in a videogame with his eyes closed. He was off less than one second from his usual times.

      But the thing is, when they are racing other people and not only making laps, not seeing properly in front of them could be unsafe?

      1. RaceProUK (@)
        7th March 2016, 14:42

        Without having sat in a car with a halo fitted, I cannot say for sure, but based on what drivers who have done so are saying, it doesn’t seem to be an issue. Anyway, the final design will almost certainly be slimmed down.

    17. I actually don’t find this halo a ugly as I was planning to. If they could make it more ‘part of the car’ , maybe it could even look er, nice. Also, you could put camara’s in/on it. Just a thought..

    18. If Ecclestone was to be removed/retired/exiled et al, those who overthrow him had better have a fully developed plan ready to execute immediately.

      If it was purely a sporting or a commerical role, it would be easy enough. But Bernie has his control/input into commerical matters of the sport AND the sport’s regulations AND the sport’s politics AND the interests of the competitors.

      Without him there will be one big power vacuum, the likes of which have never been seen in any sport before. It will be messy and chaotic. Unless someone is ready for the day.

      1. Sure without BE there would be a void, but I think there are very smart people in F1 that would manage, and let’s not forget F1 has evolved to the problematic entity it is under BE’s watch. Much of the politics is because of him. Some of the wrong regs, because of him. Pay TV…BE. Etc etc.

    19. Time will tell, in wheel to wheel racing whether the Halo will be ok. Can only go by what the drivers say i guess. Maybe once they’ve all tried it they will have better opinions about it

    20. The “halo” looks better than I imagined it would (it does on that Ferrari anyway) but I still think it is not necessary for F1. Yes for Indycars because of the high speeds and lack of run off areas, but F1 doesn’t have both of these aspects on any single circuit, only one at most. It is just going to be extra weight and a barrier into and out of the cockpit.

    21. Dear Seb,

      Yes, the “halo” may be “safer” from intrusive objects, but i’d like to see you escape the car when it’s flipped over with it in place. The damn thing is safer one way, and far unsafer in another. Back to the drawing board guys.

      Personally speaking, I like the McLaren car concept as posted a few days ago on here. I don’t see any alternatives from closed cockpits other than accepting the danger and getting on with it.

      1. I don’t think drivers are currently, without a halo, expected to escape the car on their own if the car is upside down. I think it is about the safety crew being able to access a driver and stabilize his head and neck, if necessary, before they move the car to get the driver out. They can still do that with a halo, but would not be able to with a closed cockpit.

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