Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2016

‘95% of F1 drivers’ support introduction of Halo

2017 F1 season

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The vast majority of Formula One drivers are in favour of introducing the Halo head protection system, according to Sebastian Vettel.

Speaking in today’s FIA press conference Vettel rejected the claim of Jolyon Palmer that most drivers oppose the introduction of Halo but are afraid to say so.

Pierre Gasly, Red Bull, Silverstone test, 2016
Halo has been in development all year
“I’m a bit surprised about these comments because we had a vote among the drivers and I think 90 to 95% voted for it so I don’t know why all of a sudden it comes up the way it does.”

“I think it’s the wrong impression as I think the majority in here as well said. We don’t like the looks of it but I don’t think there’s anything really that justifies death.”

“We’ve always learned from what happens, incidents that happen on track and we’ve tried to improve. That would be the first time in human history that we’ve learn a lesson and we don’t change.”

“So I think it’s up to us to make sure it does happen otherwise I think we’d be quite stupid.”

Vettel expects the FIA to force the introduction of the Halo on safety grounds even if it does not gain sufficient support from teams in today’s Strategy Group meeting.

“I think ultimately the FIA can do what, because based on safety grounds they can do what they want,” he said. “The message from the drivers is clear, the feedback from the drivers so far apart from the odd one or two here and there has been clear so I think it’s fairly clear.”

2016 German Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 44 comments on “‘95% of F1 drivers’ support introduction of Halo”

    1. Well then 95% of F1 drivers should not be in Formula 1.

      1. @ultimateuzair Why?

        Surely drivers are better placed than anyone to judge whether this is actually necessary or not. It’s not realistic to argue they have to expose themselves to a level of risk which they believe is excessive.

        1. In my opinion, if a person wants to become a Formula 1 driver, then they should be prepared to accept the risks that come with the sport. I’m all for driver’s safety, but I think that this is going too far. The halo not only looks ugly, but also goes against the tradition in F1, as F1 has always been open-wheel and open-cockpit. Also the halo affects driver visibility, and could potentially make getting out of a car harder after a big crash. If the car was upside down and on fire, how long would it take the driver to get out of the car? The halo to me just looks like the FIA panicked after the unfortunate passing of Jules and came up with a mediocre effort in 2 minutes. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I personally just can’t stand the halo.

          1. The halo ugly and useless. It arguably may have saved Tom Pryce’s life, but would have been useless in the cases of Alan Stacey, Helmut Marko, Ayrton Senna, and Felipe Massa, and additionally may have been an obstacle in escaping a car for many other drivers. I am a fierce advocate of F1 safety; however, I see no point in the halo. A covered cockpit could be a solution, but then it would change the DNA of F1.

          2. @ultimateuzair You have the right for your opinion, but that doesn’t mean drivers who agree for Halo shouldn’t be in F1. Also what with this “tradition” of open wheel and open cockpit? Does people cry a lot about tradition too when F1 switched from front engine to rear engine? From tube chassis to aerodynamic chassis? From gate shifters to seamless shift transmissions?

            While I also don’t like Halo (if it’s up to me, then no Halo for F1) and I think it’s rushed but if the drivers and FIA accept it, then I’m okay with it. Until there’s a proven study of why Halo is not suitable for F1 then I won’t mind, but please throw away all those so called “tradition” in your line of reasoning.

            1. ColdFly F1 (@)
              28th July 2016, 16:58

              wholeheartedly agree @sonicslv.
              And before kicking 95% of drivers out of F1, it might be wiser to simply accept that a few fans will become ex-fans.

          3. Michael Brown (@)
            28th July 2016, 16:20

            Give me a break with this tradition nonsense. “F1 did it this way, so let’s not bother changing anything.”
            Open wheels are slower than closed wheels, but the tradition argument trumps all, apparently.

          4. There were cars in the first F1 GP that had windscreens. Maybe having a safety device like Halo or a transparent fairing isn’t normal in F1, but I don’t see it as going against tradition. Why not complain about the aerodynamic shielding in front of the wheels? I think that is far more “going against tradition” than something to protect a driver.

          5. To be pedantic, F1 has not always been open-wheel.

        2. “It’s not realistic to argue they have to expose themselves to a level of risk which they believe is excessive.”

          If F1 doesn’t introduce Halo’s, will the drivers stop racing? Of course not…

          It’s not that they believe the risk of driving without a halo is excessive, their argument just seems to be that they’re always happy for the risks to be reduced. Which is fair. Whether that opinion is right for F1 as a whole? Right for the looks, right for the sponsors, right for the fans, that is the question.

        3. Evil Homer (@)
          5th August 2016, 17:17

          @keithcollantine
          Come on Keith – 95% are in favour?? That stat doesn’t actually work but it means 1 in 22 don’t like it!
          Comments so far show many more in support of it, and that are not (pushed to say so)- even Lewis who is so outspoken has now said its ok- drivers are now being told what to say what they like!!

          Its the Godfather all over again- who is pulling the strings?!

    2. I’m confused now, wasn’t Vettel not happy with the Halo at Silverstone

      1. @bezza695 he’s probably balancing it out with the improvement on safety.

    3. there`s 22 drivers, 95% will be 20.9, so 2.1 drivers are against?

    4. I’d be very surprised if the FIA doesn’t force the Halo through regardless of what the teams say to be honest. As it’s on safety grounds especially, should the unthinkable happen early in 2017 and Halo would have prevented it, then the FIA would be in deep, deep trouble for not implementing it when they had the chance. I doubt they would take that risk simply because it isn’t aesthetically pleasing (because apparently that matters when it comes to safety) or because some believe that it would supposedly ‘be the end of F1’ or something like that.

      1. I agree however what happens when someone lifts slightly whilst passing double yellows and hits a marshal? What happens when someone goes off the track, hits a sausage kerb, has a suspension failure and gets hurt? What happens when a joke tyre explodes and debris flies into the crowd? What happens when someone makes a mistake at Baku and hits a wall at top speed?

        There are lots of dangerous things in F1 that are known about but F1 has decided to ignore. How many times did Martin Brundle say “one of these days, someone is going to hit a tractor?”

        1. @petebaldwin Oh I fully agree that the safety debate goes beyond just this. There are lots of areas of safety F1 still needs to have a serious think about, however this is an area where there have simply been far too many near-misses and a few affected who were not so fortunate in the past, and that includes more than just F1. Regardless of whether it was the Halo or my preferred choice the Aeroscreen, at least it has finally been looked into.

        2. @petebaldwin Well to be fair, the chance of those “one of these days…” is really slim and could be categorized as freak accident. It’s just like when your parents said “don’t play with matches, you could burn the house down”, or “don’t climb the tree, you will fall down”. Probably what we going to hear in the future is “One of these days, someone will die in the car because he trapped in the car by Halo and can’t get medical aid fast enough…”. Doesn’t mean I want or it will happen though.

    5. For me the halo is the stupidest thing of F1 history . It is unsightly , it can be worse in accidents like Massa and prevents the driver to escape in case of fire.

      1. They have performed extraction tests, you know. We’re not going to Australia 2017 with the halos not properly tested and trialled.

        1. @chrischrill They did do an extraction test in Austria & it took safety workers 12 minutes to extract a Ferrari mechanic from the car which fall’s well short of current expected standards.
          They have also done a mock-up behind closed doors to see what happens when a car gets upside down & found that it was impossible for the person taking part to extract himself.

          This & some other things that have come up during the past few months is a big part of why the teams have suddenly started going cold on it & have been asking for more testing & work to be done in order to find the best solution.

      2. William Jones
        28th July 2016, 17:17

        Nosewings? Dumbo ears? Stepped Dildo Noses? X-Wings?

        1. They were bad, but nothing beats the halo, not even double points.

      3. Tigerskin, worse than the decision in the 1970’s to use catch fences with heavy wooden posts, which ended up causing fatal accidents (Mark Donohue is thought to have been killed after his head was struck by a wooden catch post fence)? Worse than teams fighting back against the FIA’s plans to push the pedal box behind the front axle line in the 1970’s and 1980’s, which lead to multiple drivers suffering from severe leg injuries (such as Brundle or Laffite)? I’d say that it is far from the worst idea in the history of the sport.

    6. This is like a batsmen who doesn’t like any bowls to him over the speed of 85mph because they feel it’s dangerous, so they try to lobby an implementation of technology and regulation to limit the speed of a cricket ball. Why not just deal with your own fear, and if that proves impossible, ply your trade in a sport more suited to your temperament?
      There are plenty of excellent closed cockpit motorsport out there, why not try your hand in DTM, Endurance racing, or V8 Supercars?
      There was a quote a while back saying F1 needs it’s ‘heroes’ back – drivers who go out there every other week knowing the majority of the human population can’t do what they do. All that’s happening is taking the final wow factor out of the sport, and yes however reckless and stupid it may sound, that final wow factor is the risk a driver faces when they turn up to a racetrack. This is surely why they are paid so much?

      1. “drivers who go out there every other week knowing the majority of the human population can’t do what they do.”

        It wasn’t Senna ability to die in a crash that made him a hero…

        Anybody can die in a carcrash, it is F1 heroes ability to drive and race that makes them heroes, not their lack of safety equipment.

      2. You’re trying to make it sound as if drivers don’t get injured in sportscars or in touring cars. That could not be more further from the truth.

        1. That’s certainly not what I was getting at, in fact quite the opposite. Motorsport is inherently dangerous. It always has been and it always will be. The thing with introducing the halo, is where do we draw the line afterwards? At the halo? Complete closed cockpits? Why not make it 100% safe and let the drivers control the car by remote control on the safety of their garages? Risk and Motorsport (including F1) are synonymous, and should be treated as such.

    7. I dislike the halo on aesthetic grounds however I accept that if it’s going to save lives, it’s worth implementing. The problem is that it seems to be a very heavy handed solution to a minor problem whilst major problems are left untouched.

      How can we make the cars look awful in the name of safety when we don’t ensure drivers slow down for double yellows and allow them to drive off the track (so much so that dangerous kerbs have to be installed)?

      1. Exactly! I bet there will be many many years before we see an accident where the halo will actually be of any help but we have double yellow flags pretty much every weekend… VSC has helped somewhat but it isn’t always used as we saw on Hungary.

    8. my bus drive to school is more dangerous than f1 and they stick a toilet seat on the top of the car -_-

    9. I can think of 3 drivers who don’t want it. I am sure all would agree to use it if FORCED to do so.

      What is 3 out of 24ish ?

      Funny how people confuse accepting something because you would be out of a job if you didn’t as being in favor of something. Just like the modern V6 formula. Lolz.

      1. I’m sure most of the paddock is not in favour but the power that Todt has tends to change minds. Kind of like a God.

    10. Everyone has an opinion and I respect both sides. Here is mine plain and simple. I will not tune in to an F1 with a halo. I’m quite sure I’m not alone.

      1. Yes! This is the key argument I think. F1 is free to do what they want, if they want to implement halo’s and later screens and then closed cockpits then that’s their prerogative. However as fans we can simply stop watching.

        It’s not as if there aren’t other open cockpit racing series out there (that don’t have all these stupid rules to boot)

      2. Despite my strong hatred of the halo, I still won’t switch off from F1 if they implement the ugly piece of junk. However, I will be watching the races with a look of extreme disgust on my face towards the people who thought that this was a good idea!

    11. On a lighter note…..

      I really wish they would introduce car horns on these cars. Some drivers obviously don’t see blue flags, don’t look in their mirrors, and don’t obey radio calls telling them to move. Maybe a ‘good old’ loud car honking behind them will achieve the desired effect.

      1. You just won the internet! :)

    12. The problem with opposing something like this is that safety is a topic that simply cannot be opposed. You think the halo looks ugly? That is suuuuuuch an ignorant opinion. You know Justin Wilson, that sweet man from England who everyone in the IndyCar paddock loved? Well, he was killed because there was no halo on his car. Henry Surtees? Yeah, guess what, also killed because F2 cars don’t have a halo. I’m telling you mate, the halo saves lives. Are you still opposed to it?

      The FIA is on a never-ending quest to make F1 ‘even more safe’. Is there a ceiling? I’m afraid that as long as their chairman is the UN Special Envoy for Road Safety, the answer is no. My concern with the halo is, if I say “OK fine let’s have the halo” then what’s next? At some point this doesn’t feel like Formula 1 to me anymore.

      So that’s why I’m opposed to the halo. It marginally enhances safety for a rare type of accident, but the drawback is that every one that looks at an F1 car in the future will say “lol that looks stupid af”. But it’s a bit like trying to stop the movement of a tectonic plate by shouting the word ‘STOP’. Can I tolerate the halo? I find it really difficult but I guess the answer is yes.

      1. Still opposed to it. Most people who don’t want skin cancer don’t go outside. Most kids who are scared of flipping a kart don’t start racing.

        1. My point being these drivers knew and still know and obviously accept the risks

      2. @andae23 With your examples, implementing Halo in F1 won’t change anything. You need to campaign for Halo in Indycar and F2 first. Also keep in mind, Indy front wing is much more heavier (and seems more rigid) than F1 that virtually make Wilson accident impossible to happen in F1. As for Surtees, I still don’t understand why the tethers doesn’t work because that what it designed for.

    13. I think it looks fine, teams will integrate into their cars and pretty soon it’ll be odd to see a car without it. These are engineering machines and the halo is just another bit of engineering that makes racing safer.

      Remember the outcry in 2009 when the high rear wnig and tea-tray front wing came in?

    14. Evil Homer (@)
      5th August 2016, 17:46

      A simple question (and please don’t blast me for it)
      Why now with a halo and why so urgent?

      All respect to the Surtees family (RIP) but I cant see any other incident this would have made a difference in the last 20 years.

      I take my lad to an F1 event and the Halo shunts a tyre into the crowd rather than the driver cope it?
      No the driver (on $5m) can take that risk rather than my 10 y.o. lad !! No halo!

    Comments are closed.