Vettel’s claim 95% of drivers support Halo is “a lie” – Palmer

2016 German Grand Prix

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Jolyon Palmer has strongly rejected claims the vast majority of drivers want to see the Halo head protection system introduced.

Yesterday Sebastian Vettel said “90 to 95% voted for” the Halo device, which the Strategy Group has decided not to introduce next year.

However Palmer, who is against the device and said he was “not disappointed” by the Strategy Group’s decision, strongly denied the claim it has the backing of most drivers.

Vettel claimed strong support for Halo from drivers
“95% were never in favour, so that’s a lie,” he told the BBC during the first practice session at the Hockenheimring. “I don’t know where it’s come from.”

“The thing is we’ve never had a proper vote in it, so no one can ever know.”

“In Austin last year when the idea was first discussed, sure, then most people were in favour of some head support. But we didn’t even know the Halo then, we didn’t know anything.”

“So pretty much a year down the line I think to go back to what we said 11 months ago, before we had any concept, I think is not right.”

“I can tell you for a fact 95% don’t support it. I can probably name nearly half the grid that are against it.”

“I think it’s personal preference. It is pretty well split. I think from my point of view the safety’s OK and I know in a lot of the drivers’ discussions a lot of the younger ones are in the same camp as me.”

Palmer questioned whether recent fatal accidents which have prompted the research into Halo were likely to happen in grand prix racing.

“I think that Formula One safety is very good at the moment,” he said. “We’ve got very big run-offs.”

“And the incidents that this is a result of, Henry Surtees and more recently Justin Wilson, those sort of incidents – we don’t run on ovals here, the run-offs are normally much bigger than at the Brands GP [circuit] so I think I’m pretty happy with the safety levels we’ve got.”

Palmer’s father, ex-F1 racer Jonathan Palmer, was Wilson’s manager and owns the Brands Hatch circuit where Surtees was killed in 2009.

2016 German Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    36 comments on “Vettel’s claim 95% of drivers support Halo is “a lie” – Palmer”

    1. Not the first time Seb has told a porky.

      1. Seb didn’t count Palmer as driver.
        He won’t be in F1 much longer so no one cares what he says.
        And no one would ask him anything.

        1. Arnoud van Houwelingen
          29th July 2016, 18:19

          Wel Prelvu he said that pretty much all the younger drivers were against the Halo and the older drivers are gone from F1 in a couple of years so in that sense you should care cause the opposition will only grow amongst the drivers.

      2. Shouldn’t we hear from Seb to know if he told a lie or not? By the way, there is no poll to know where the drivers personally stand on this issue. What we have heard is that drivers were presented with more information regarding the need for the device and at the end of the day, they basically withheld their reservations.
        So in a way Seb did not lie if he said 95 percent of drivers are in agreement.

    2. What a counter!

      I think the press is blowing it a bit out of proportion though. It’s not a clear yes or no issue. Vettel counterbalanced his argument yesterday by saying Halo is ugly, just that improved safety is always welcomed.

      I think everyone can agree with that… And the strategy groups decision to look at all potential options (while continuing to test the Halo) is the right one.

    3. Ben (@scuderia29)
      29th July 2016, 10:22

      I wish someone with less than half a season in Formula 1 (and a very disappointing one at that) someone that’s surely going to be replaced next season by Ocon would stop being so negative about a safety improvement that could save lives in a sport which he won’t much longer be competing in

      1. You can’t stop drivers talking just because it doesn’t fit your own opinion. I’m no Palmer fan (he’s been terrible this season), but he’s got every right to express and opinion. He currently drives in F1, and who’s to say he won’t be around next season either at Renault or at a different team however much we disagree with it. Drivers should keep voicing their opinion even if it is, in your opinion, negative.

        1. Arnoud van Houwelingen
          29th July 2016, 18:20

          +1 to John H

      2. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. And it’s not like Palmer would have gone “hey you! with the camera and the microphone, come here I have something to say!” Undoubtedly he would have been asked and thought it worth while to share his thoughts…

        (ps, didn’t know you could have name seperate from account name, hope this works!)

      3. @scuderia29 Hamilton and Hulkenberg are also against it, that we know of 100%. What excuse will you find to silence them cause they disagree with you? Moreover, 3/22 is already 14 percent which means Seb had lied. If he’d lied about this then probably there are many others who are against halo.

        Every current driver is entitled to his opinion irrespective of his job prospects. Heck, even you, an armchair expert, who is willing to overlook the obvious minuses in the halo proposal ,and that in its current form it might create more problems than it solves, only to be seen as a “safety supporter” and/or Vettel supporter, are entitled to your opinion

        If you want to hear only opinions that agree with yours, go to Turkey and support Erdogan

        1. @montreal95, how long ago was it that Hulkenberg spoke out against the Halo concept? Opinions on the Halo have shifted over the course of the season, and it does now seem to have more support from the drivers than when it was first proposed.

          Whilst Hamilton, along with a number of other drivers, was initially against the proposal, I believe that the FIA gave a presentation to the drivers that gave them an explanation of the concept behind the Halo and the results of the tests that they’ve undertaken on the Halo.
          Since that meeting, which seems to have cleared up a number of the drivers objections to the design, it seems that a number of the drivers who were initially neutral on, or opposed to, the Halo are now more in favour of the idea – for example, Hamilton has recently stated that, having seen the results of the FIA’s test programme, he has since changed his mind and is now more in favour of the Halo.

          1. anon, sorry for the late reply, the feature of receiving e-mail when someone replied to your comment stopped working for me. I dont know how long it was that Hulkenberg was asked about the halo. He’s not speaking about it unless being asked by a journo. And the PC correct journos who want to be seen as “safety supporters”(in the rubbish world of political correctness perception always beats reality) conveniently stopped asking his opinion. Given that, how many drivers, whom the journos, being insiders, know as having negative opinions about the halo, aren’t being asked about it at all?

            Hamilton has said he’s more in favor of halo now yes. But being more in favor doesn’t mean he supports it to be installed on the car ASAP, without giving chance to alternative solutions

      4. @scuderia29 he’s a racing driver, how good he is is not relevant to a discussion like this. He has his arguments to back his opinion. Whether we share it or not it’s a different matter.

        I don’t see how winning world championships means you have a better understanding of safety and the risk involved. You don’t need to be Jackie Stewart to be an advocate of safety… sure, it helps if you’re sucessful, because you grab more headlines. But that’s about it…

    4. ColdFly F1 (@)
      29th July 2016, 10:45

      I don’t care if/how many/who.

      FIA has the data how effective it is; they know how drivers/fans/others feel.
      FIA just make a call!

      1. In addition drivers’ opinion is probably influenced by team’s position on the subject. Ferrari has been testing this particular design of halo device and all of a sudden Vettel claims that 95% of drivers want it… We can expect that Renault has invested massively from the start of the season towards next year’s car without a halo. In short, I am not sure it’s purely the drivers speaking their own mind on the subject.

        As @coldfly mentioned, it would be nice from the FIA to test it as best as it can, ponder advantages/inconveniences and give a final verdict. However it seems quite late for 2017 when most teams are already looking at developing next year’s car.

    5. Of course each can have their view, and have more right to it than those not risking their lives. But it’s somewhat disingenuous to suggest that “the incidents that this is a result of, Henry Surtees and more recently Justin Wilson, those sort of incidents…” don’t happen in F1. Are the “incidents that this is a result of” not just as much Massa, Bianchi, de Villota, Alonso’s multiple near-misses, Webber flipping at Valencis. All of the “freak incidents” perhaps, and not all perhaps mitigated by the Halo, but all in F1 and very relevant to the discussion.

      Other series do use the circuits Palmer mentions, which he implicitly suggests would merit use of the Halo. We should all want F1 to be seen as the exemplar, it’s the FIA’s flagship (for now) and if F1 doesn’t do the Halo other series won’t either. If it does adopt it then there’s a much greater chance that others will follow and the people racing at Brands, on ovals and all the rest will benefit. More kids living longer, what’s not to like? Coffins, even eye-patches, are uglier than halos.

      1. This is a great comment, don’t get me wrong, I love the spirit of it and raises a great argument.

        But just on this one point “even eye-patches, are uglier than halos.” Why not wait and see how practical the aero screen is which may actually prevent them (unlike the halo) and be a bit better looking too! No need to rush at the first solution.

      2. Coffins are uglier than halos.

        That should be a tag line. Excellent.

        1. Arnoud van Houwelingen
          29th July 2016, 18:28

          Well why won’t we race with self driving cars then? An engineer with a beer belly can hold up the trophy. F1 is really save and a halo wouldn’t have saved Jules life experts said. F1 should remain open cockpit but i am afraid we will lose that soon!

      3. It’s interesting to note that the last three fatal incidents to occur in F1 have all involved heavy trackside vehicles. Villota and Bianchi both hit trackside vehicles and a Marshall in Canada was also run down and killed by a tractor. Palmer has a point, it’s extremely rare for an F1 driver to hit by flying debris. Even in the case of Senna, the debris came from his own car, rather than off another competitors. For me, the halo seems to trying to solve a problem which has largely been mitigated by other means, such as wheel tethers and improvements to helmet design.

        1. At last someone who gets it.

          Just look at the cockpits and helmet design improvements since Senna. For goodness sake we can barely see the driver as it stands.

          On top of that I am tired of those (RIP) held up as being ‘saved’ by a Halo.

          They were not racing in F1 and therefore would still not be with us. Thankfully Palmer rather than all the ‘must haves’ grasped this simple fact.

          The Halo would not have saved Bianche and would perhaps of injured Massa further (imagine it had glanced off into his visor!)

          On top of that its been used by a couple of people on a couple of tracks for a couple of laps!

          At least do a mandatory run by a number of drivers at all tracks before deciding it’s perfect. And please don’t tell me the simulator will sort it out. Each driver is a different size and height in a different car. They sure are not going to be testing each and every scenario are they.

          Give it a year and do the job properly or not at all.

          If an Audi TT can have an active headrest in 1999 – I am sure F1 can do something better.

          That said the radio fiasco – maybe not…

      4. @picasso-19d-ftw that’s a great comment.

    6. “I can tell you for a fact 95% don’t support it. I can probably name nearly half the grid that are against it.”

      That’s less than 50%.

      This guy reminds me of a wet flannel.

      1. He’s not saying 95% of the drivers are against halo, he’s saying it’s not true 95% are in favour of halo.

        1. MG421982 (@)
          29th July 2016, 11:56


          I guess Zim could be a great journalist or politician.

          1. That’s pretty insulting…

        2. ColdFly F1 (@)
          29th July 2016, 12:20

          Palmer’s quote: “I can tell you for a fact 95% don’t support it.”

        3. -1.

          He absolutely IS saying that.

          Whether he means that or ‘not 95% support it’ is another matter.

    7. Found the 5% that are against the halo.

    8. I remember back in the 90’s there was a similar debate on the ugliness of the cars with the raised cockpit protection. Initially we had this: a design which was eventually accepted and improved throughout the years. I am sure the same will happen with the halo. It may be ugly at first but eventually the designers will find a way to make it ‘prettier’.

      1. Indeed. It’s not like this needs to be the last version of the Halo, or indeed that, say, the aeroscreen couldn’t be introduced in 2018. I don’t buy the argument that it needs another year of development to “perfect” it. They never “perfect” anything in F1, that’s the WHOLE POINT – it’s a prototype series seeking continuous improvement (sorry, Sauber), and any step in the right direction is exactly that, not the end point. Get on with it already.

    9. In the mid 1970s I remember a few guys putting roll cages in their Formula Fords (SCCA northeast division). The cars looked like crap, everybody in the paddock grimaced, and the practice of roll cages in formula cars never gained traction. Good thing, in my view.

    10. I think we all know that more often than not Vettel says things before he thinks. In front of a microphone I have trouble believing half of the things he says. In a car I believe in Seb 110% but not in front of a mic.

    11. What’s it got to do with this chap? He won’t be in F1 next year. He’s fighting against an issue that won’t affect him as he’ll be a spectator like the rest of us.

    12. New found respect for Palmer. New found lack of respect for Vettel. Though he is a funny bloke and thinks the cars are too quiet and is into F1 history and does track walks.

      Can we please stop bringing up Surtees as the be all end all point of Halo? It’s absurd. Why not bring up any other driver injured in the head since the inception of motor racing? And would Halo have saved Wilson, or Surtees anyways? As Palmer said, you know the risks involved getting into the sport of open cockpit racing cars, if you are scared of that given risk, go to WEC or tin tops. YES, for the maniacs, there have been SOME type of windscreens/canopy type things in the PAST. But they did not catch on and NOBODY think of F1 and the image of those attempts pop into mind.

      Why wasn’t there the instant thought of covering the cockpits over the last 50 years after any accident? Why now?

      This wave began with the Spa, Grosjean, Alonso incident. I remember clearly the outcry from Brundle and I think it was Coulthard on air, “I think we need to look at closing the cockpits” or something to that effect. Then, any other incident that came up after that, it was straight to that conclusion. Even the incidents weren’t even resulting in any injuries!! They were just what ifs.

    13. Not really sure what run-offs have to do with the Wilson and Surtees accidents…

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