Sebastian Vettel tries the shield, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2017

Grosjean is against Halo and Shield: “it’s not F1”

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Romain Grosjean doesn’t want Shield or Halo on F1 cars.

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How hard is it to identify each driver by theeir helmets and numbers, and will the shield make much difference?

From my experience last weekend in Austria, having been quite close to the track, it really doesn’t work super currently for people at the track: most designs are too cluttered and therefore become a blur of something.

In concreto (and sorry for a bit of a rant) Hamilton’s yellow is great, identifiable (hence can recognise Bottas from not being him), Vettel’s white works (and thus Raikkonen is the other), Kvyat/Sainz/Ricciardo/Verstappen – too much Red Bull to distinguish at speed; Massa: that neon-yellow swoosh on top works ; Hulkenberg/Palmer: meh, Force India – both shades of pink. Ericsson/Wehrlein – light/yellow vs. darker, okay-ish. So for identifying drivers, that’s not great is it? But I agree good to see head, though shield doesn’t impair that too much, I think.

By the way, other ways to identify drivers, by those numbers, again from Austria experience? Yeah, 33 vs 3 at speed is sometimes doable; 77/44 works because of the colour, Ferrari five/seven is a bit small but good contrast; Sauber okay-ish on sidepod; Force India, Williams, Haas, Renault – useless. McLaren unreadable too, too cleverly small (very McLaren?).

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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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  • 68 comments on “Grosjean is against Halo and Shield: “it’s not F1””

    1. If that shield covered the whole driver’s head, like a canopy envelops the cockpit of a fighter jet, then it would be perfect.

      1. It would also have to be removable as well.

        1. Except for the distorted view, dirt and oil getting on it, rain, smoke or fire, condensation buildup inside, heat buildup inside, accessing an unconscious driver, extraction of a driver…yeah just close it in now…easy peasy…why didn’t they just do that years ago…

    2. I agree with Grosjean’s views that nothing is necessary, but obviously my point of view is as a fan. I can’t help but think that this shield is another desperate ill-thought attempt at coming up with a solution, exactly like the halo was. Rushing these things on to the 2018 cars would be the worst thing. They need to spend time redesigning the front / middle structure and shape of the cars if they are to have any chance of making a design that actually integrates with the car properly. All the ideas so far have been things stuck onto the current cars, they’re obviously not going to work well

      1. Only way to test these things is to put them on the cars we have today. Just to see how they work in practice and see if there are issues that are not found otherwise. If you build a whole car around the concept and it doesn’t work then it is going to be huge problem. But if you test it and it works then building the whole car around it won’t suddenly change everything. The area where the shield would be is already very tightly controlled by rules so it would be unlikely to see anything totally transformative unless the rules change as well.

      2. Felipe Massa was nearly killed when a rear suspension spring fell off a car and hit his head. Saying it isn’t necessary to provide a driver with protection from bits that fall from a car is simply ignoring the reality of motor sport: cars do collide, debris are scattered on a track, and bits do fall from cars.
        Justin Wilson was killed in an Indycar race just a bit less than 2 years ago by a piece of debris that was bouncing on the race track.
        If someone is seriously injured or killed by debris in an F1 race then one shouldn’t be surprised if government health and safety people start wanting to sort this issue out, and in doing so they will be expecting things to be sorted out very quickly.

        1. Note that Halo would have not prevented the Massa incident.

        2. Sviatoslav (@)
          15th July 2017, 14:21

          @drycrust – yeah, and MotoGP, Moto 2, Moto 3, and WSBK drivers can be dead in literally any race.

      3. @strontium, the thing is, Grosjean’s attitude towards this topic – by refusing to hold any debates within the GPDA and refusing to provide any input into the design process, just confining himself to complaining whenever a solution is offered to him – is extremely unhelpful. If that is the sort of leadership he is providing, I can see why membership of the GPDA has fallen sharply.

        1. @anon I didn’t think RG was ‘refusing’ to debate it or provide input…they’ve just backed off for now as there are opposing views on it amongst the drivers. And so far they (F1) have not come up with something that is safer. And they (GPDA) are supposed to be about safety. The halo made him sick, yesterday the shield made SV dizzy and he lasted one lap with it.

          I’m sure if RG et al were presented a viable option they would debate it and even agree to it. And I doubt RG is stopping the debate. It’s just on the back burner because nothing they have tried has worked. RG and some drivers think the cars are safe as it is and don’t need obstructions around them that are making things worse, which is all they have been presented so far. I think what RG is saying is go back to the drawing board if you must force something through, but is there really a need? We all know they need to go back to the drawing board as of SV’s comments yesterday.

          Imho, they need to either drop this idea of bolting something onto cars not designed from the ground up for these ideas that have been tried so far, or resign themselves to spending billions and risking changing the face of F1 completely away from what we have known for decades, and thus risking losing the audience and making F1 a shadow of it’s former self.

          1. @robbie Thanks for the update. I hadn’t heard how this windshield performed.

    3. Does anyone REALLY think someone unable to control their emotions is better for it?

      I get it, Hamilton can come off as scripted, but I’ll take the cool calm and collected, over some nut case German constantly loosing control of his emotions, the going into a red mist. Just listen to his post-bump radio transmissions, this is NOT someone under control… this is NOT a personality trait to appreciate.

      Honesty, I would’ve loved for Lewis to make a comment along the lines of “u mad?” To really drive the point home.

      Get it together man!

      1. I get it, Hamilton can come off as scripted

        I get it, British Horner is aganst British Hamilton, maybe it’s because he’s black (no, my comment isn’t much more nonsensical that the part of yours I quoted)

    4. Hey @keithcollantine if enough people +1 this would you be willing to boycott anymore garbage non-news stories from the Daily Mail?

      That story has no actual quotes, he apparently ‘confided’ in friends that he dreams of doing despite always seeming ambivalent about the prospect of driving for them.

      And they’re a total garbage rag who post flagrant lies anyway, it’s gotta pain you to be sending readers their way?

      1. Finally! Especially in recent years many young non-Britons visit this site – as it is the best independent free F1 site, even with all the quirks – I find it highly offensive to see the Daily Mail being quoted that often here and for example long time foreign pundits and reliable F1 sites from for example Germany or the Netherlands not that often.

        While I do get that this is a British site, there are much better uncovered articles and interviews from the European mainland that could be in this round up instead of the DM. Just last week the Dutch leading Pundit described how he saw Helmut Marko walking into the Red Bull Motor Home and furiously pointing to the Sainz family, ordering them to get to him and explain themselves and completely dissecting them in front of everyone there nonetheless after ”leaking” to Marca. Enough people could translate non-English parts like that one (I’m not linking it now because not sure if that is allowed). I wouldn’t have minded translating it.

        So +1 all the way.

        1. Google translate is getting so good that foreign sources are genuinely readable so on the occasion when they have been used it’s never been a major issue. I’ll take some translation quirks over made up garbage any day.

      2. @philipgb @xiasitlo
        Note that the English Wikipedia no longer allows the Daily Mail as a source as it is seen as generally unreliable.

        1. @mike-dee, it’s not a total ban – they do allow people to use it as a source under exceptional circumstances, mainly older editions of that newspaper from when it actually had some integrity – but it is true that they have called it “generally unreliable” and was criticised for “poor fact checking, sensationalism and flat-out fabrication”, and have called for editors to minimise the use of the Daily Mail as a source as much as possible.

          With that in mind, I do agree that this site would be better served by no longer linking to stories by the Daily Mail and not giving them additional traffic and ad revenue from their deceitful and malicious propaganda.

        2. And even Wikipedia is frowned upon as a secondary research source in academia.

      3. @philipgb +1. In rare case where their article has some truth in it, other news source most likely run same topic with more information anyway.

        1. It’s always good practice when providing secondary information sources to either use a reputable source or triangulate the information.

          1. @philipgb Yes and I do meant other source that is more reputable will carry the same story and Keith can cite from there instead.

            1. Yeah sorry I’m in agreement. If the source can be triangulated then there’s no reason to use the Daily Mail.

      4. It’s the same for all British tabloids, with the possible exception of The Times, which was Bernie’s chosen paper for releasing information. None of them really care about F1 anyway, you can tell they just put random sports writers who don’t understand the sport on it.

        1. The Daily Mail and The Sun stand apart from the rest of them though by being especially pernicious in the level of lying and agenda pushing they do. They are just dishonest rags plain and simple.

      5. @philipgb I raised this discussion earlier this year when Wikipedia banned the Daily Mail. There wasn’t a strong view that it was the way to go. But I think it’s a debate worth continuing:

        1. +1 No Daily Mail please Keith

        2. Most readers probably missed it on the forum. I know it’s not strictly F1 but it would get more engagement as a front page article and poll.

          My stance with them is they flagrantly post lies. That kind of illegitimate press needs starving of oxygen. And here with this story they’ve made it F1 related by publishing a story which has no reliable source where I can’t trust it’s anymore than click bait.

        3. @keithcollantine I agree with @philipgb that maybe not many people read the forum (I certainly didn’t). Maybe you could run a poll or something because the main audience here is people who read the site, not the forum. I read the forum link and I understand the argument there but my take is: do we still need to know something that most likely fabricated or random out of context quote written for sole purpose of sensationalism? A extreme example would be I run a website/blog and just wrote nonsense about F1. I don’t think you would include it in round-up. The difference is DM already ran it since years ago.

          Another biggest problem is, does their journalist or writer actually close to people inside F1? Gawker media may get lot of hate (and probably deserved it), but like or not, they actually have some good journalist and their stories usually true or pretty close to what other news publish later which I don’t think the same can be said about DM F1 news.

          Finally like I said above, if what they write is true, you probably could find other more reputable news source and can cite from that. We as the reader will get better article to read too.

        4. Neil (@neilosjames)
          15th July 2017, 14:42

          @keithcollantine I posted in the forum, but I’ll also post here… I think their F1 stuff is generally on a par with, or slightly above, other UK newspapers. I think most of the dislike for the Mail specifically is due to people disagreeing with the political positions it holds… which doesn’t affect its F1 content in the slightest.

          All newspapers print crap, rumours, non-neutral content and so on. Even so-called ‘fake news’ – I won’t name names, but a former commercial rights holder had a person he used to push out misleading crap/misdirecting ‘news’ on a regular basis, and as far as I’m aware he was never published in the Daily Mail. Even the teams themselves create fake news to try to mislead journalists or send them off the wrong directions.

          I say keep using it the same way all newspapers are used – which seems to be, ‘specialist publications are best, but newspapers will do as filler’.

          1. Truth isn’t a partisan issue. If there’s a left leaning publication that is dishonest, then that’s just as bad.

            But The Sun and Daily Mail are objectively the most dishonest in their publications.

            As an F1 site I’d not expect there to have to be an allegiance to a party. Keith could support Lord Buckethead for all I care so long as the F1 content is of the high quality it typically is.

            But this DM piece is poor, it’s just a vacuous piece and given the source no surprise. So I put it to popular opinion, would a boycott be welcomed?

          2. Well said by @neilosjames. Although I would like to add about that above average standard of their F1 section In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
            My vote would be not a boycott but try to minimize the DM even more and add (a lot) more specialists pieces. Eddie Jordan’s 50/50 speculation is enough for me.

    5. Neil (@neilosjames)
      15th July 2017, 2:41

      Hamilton/Ferrari thing… I have no idea how reliable the ‘sources’ for it were (probably somewhere between ‘made up’ and ‘very unreliable’), but I’d love it if Hamilton and Vettel swapped. Vettel doing the whole German guy in a Mercedes thing sounds pretty good… as does Hamilton trying to win a title for a third different team, which has only been done once before (Fangio).

      I like top-end seat changes too, and I’m not a fan of seeing drivers wearing the same colours for too long, so it’d be nice in that respect as well.

    6. I dont ever see Ham at Ferrarri. They have Vettel and then Max. Besides Ham has been a Mercedes driver his whole life.

      1. Ham has been a Mercedes driver his whole life.

        Errr….not quite

        1. he is talking about the engines that powered his cars

    7. @cotd
      It may not work superb but this year i could separate everyone after just a few laps compared to last years when i wasnt ever sure of some cars passing.

      The Renault cars are an example to follow with clearly visible informative text.

      1. An improvement, but not nearly perfect @gabriel; on Renault, if that is your at-the-track experience, I guess you have better eyes, or were you seated where they come by slower? because I really couldn’t read it at high speed.

        1. the easy way to separate drivers: look at the camera wing up top. one is yellow other is black. Hamilton, black. Bottas, yellow. etc.

        2. @bosyber
          I was pretty close in turn one and i can imagine its way harder to see on the faster parts and further away. Even so i dont really see how you could do much better than Renault, big white and clearly separated letters on flat and matte black surface.

          The Saubers are using the same style.

          1. An improvement would be to put them all on the same spot of the car, preferably the number, I think @rethla, and I found that having them either like Ferrari simple black on a white background, or like Mercedes, darker colours on a light background, works best. And maybe they need to be a bit bigger (ie. use most of the sharkfin, if it is to stay).

            The t-cams I somehow never recall which is which, and it isn’t really indicated anywhere clearly enough (during the tv shows) and at speed they aren’t always easy to spot. I guess I can find it on the sticker sheet coming with the program, true. Or maybe I was too distracted by all the cars to pay attention? I still think there’s room for improvement there, though perhaps that is on my side!

    8. Please, not Hamilton at Ferrari. Don’t even start. Nonononono.

    9. One of the key issues with the halo/shield debate for me is how totally emotional it is. Nobody seems to care about the safety. Everybody just argue what their own personal idea for f1 is.

      Last season we had multiple close calls with cars going over each others and tires almost hitting the head of the driver. We have had deadly incidents in other open wheelers. It will happen in f1. Sooner or later it will happen. When your favourite driver is dead do you still think f1 is open cockpit at all costs?

      It is an issue that needs to be solved. I’d guess the only reason nobody talks about the safety aspects and everybody talks about the aesthetics is because people have forgotten the deadly accidents that happened which is why these things are being added on the cars?

      1. The chances of a driver death from debris is extremely low to the point that it’s negligible. Clearly drivers are happy to take that risk and i’m perfectly fine with them taking that risk (I would take it myself). That being the case, is there really any need to change the DNA of the sport? I don’t think there are many on here that wouldn’t accept an F1 contract out of fear of being hit by debris; It’s a complete non-issue. The only reason it is an issue is because companies don’t want to be associated with a sportsman losing his life on TV. It’s motivated by money, like most things in this world. Anyone who truly cares about this sport doesn’t want anything to do with the Halo/Shield and the sooner we forget about it the better, as far as i’m concerned.

      2. @socksolid F1 cars is probably the safest place you can be in the track and since Senna’s death in 1994, there’s so many safety improvements that probably slightly overkill now. Yes, a freak accident can happen and kill a driver but that’s why it called freak. Since Senna death, the only fatalities in modern F1 car is Maria de Villota (not fatal but it most likely lead to her tragic end) and Jules Bianchi. Another serious accident is Massa’s. Other fatalities in motor racing is not having the same safety standard as F1 or have different car construction thus it’s not really appropriate to say it will happen to F1. Whatever you do, there’s always risk involved. Who knows even with shield or canopy, a carbon fibre shard can still hitting fast enough at right angle to puncture the shield straight to driver vital organ?

        What I’m trying to say is freak accident can happen and that’s why we called it freak. I don’t mind F1 increasing the safety standard even more, but I do mind if they introduce it as knee jerk response like the whole shield/halo debacle we in right now.

      3. Riders die in the IOM TT every year. It’s macabre but as a spectacle the event is unrivalled. People watch it BECAUSE of the danger. Riders race BECAUSE of the danger. Maybe that’s wrong but if F1 is absolutely neutralised because of safety fears it will lose a lot of its appeal to spectators and drivers alike.

      4. @socksolid I think it is inaccurate to say nobody talks about the safety aspect and only the aesthetics. That may informally appear to be the case amongst us armchair posters, but no doubt ALL aspects of such devices as they have been trying are under complete consideration by those who count inside F1.

        It is only more dangerous to surround drivers with something that makes them dizzy in one lap, and distorts their view. So far, the safest option of the devices presented so far, is to not implement any of them and to go back to the drawing board.

        1. No. The safest option is the halo. But because it is ugly it probably won’t be on the cars (although it might in 2018). There is absolutely no question at all whether the halo is more or less safe. It has been tested to be safer. It is a scientific fact. Even when alonso rolled over he said afterwards he would have preferred to have the halo:

          And before you try to add that it would have not been possible for alonso to get out you are wrong on that too:

    10. As I’ve mentioned before, all this research time needs to be spent preventing wheels and other bits coming off the cars in the first place. Heck, the shield could even deflect a tyre _into_ the crowd!

      They can start by properly investigating why a wheel went on the loose following Perez’s relatively tame crash at Baku.

      Somewhat like DRS, shields and halos are trying to solve a problem that would be better tackled at the source.

      1. And interestingly one of the things they implemented after Senna’s death was tethered wheels, not shields over cockpits.

        Just to add, I have never bought into the concept that wheels can bounce off shields and into the crowd, as that can already happen off trailing car noses and airboxes and tires anyway.

        1. Good point @robbie.

    11. Keith, noticed you didn’t post the article from espn about Lewis inviting Billy Monger and his family to be his guest this weekend?

      1. It was in the gallery yesterday.

      2. Another failed attempt to jam Keith up as being biased. How classy.

    12. Guys lets not get ahead of ourselves here. 1950 – mid to late 80’s and prehaps even beyond that, most F1 cars had some form of “wind screen”. Many teams fitted a single plane panel, others resorted to a similar, although less aerodynamic and aesthetically pleasing wrap around type screen as proposed in the rendering and other teams, well some of their design where simply hideous, but this element is simply nothing new to F1.

      Excitingly the addition of this element could see changes to the air box designs above the drivers head as the airflow could now be disrupted and deflected above and over the airbox. The open cockpit beyond the the edge off the screen could possibly create a more aggressive negative pressure inside the cockpit and turbulant eddy’s forming of the trailing edge of the screen, combined with turbulant air leaving the cockpit could ceate all sorts of issues which may even impact on rear wing stability and efficiency. So the aero boys could have some challenges coming their way.

      So not all bad.

    13. What actually happens when a tyre strikes a driver’s helmet?

      Let’s assume the helmet stays intact, then it’s the initial blow followed by the helmet hitting the back of the seat that causes the damage. My point being, is there no way that a deployed airbag around the rear of the helmet could help following a sudden impact? It’s kind of surprising anyway that my road car has so much protection from airbags, and yet racing cars have none to cushion a blow.

      Small pieces of debris could be protected by more development of the visor (which has already taken place following Massa’s incident).

      The only thing that isn’t covered would be the Grosjean-Alonso-Spa type situation.

      1. @john-h I’m not sure if airbag can help at this case. F1 helmet is so strong that the major problem is the momentum your brain sloshing inside your skull. Heck even Bianchi helmet is intact and he hit a tractor counterweight instead of “measly” tire.

        1. You are probably right @sonicslv . I wonder whether it might help with the rate of change of momentum under such impacts (note, I think you can’t legislate for Bianchi’s situation), but I’m no neuroscientist.

    14. I’m sure there were drivers in the 50s against helmets and drivers in the 60s against seat belts. Grosjean is one of those drivers, just in 2017.

    15. I am afraid that the debate surrounding the pro’s and cons on any form of screens will just have to run its course. The FIA now have another bee in their bonnet and we all know what that means… their way or the friken highway.
      It is a “safety” issue and there is just not one F1 or motor sport fan anywhere in the world, whom would ever want to see drivers injured or God forbid lose they lives. However we have to be realistic about the dangers of foreign object intrusions into the cockpit during open wheel races and have to consider whether there statistically is a price to pay. Of course the answer is yes but how rare are these incidents and does it based on this remoteness warrant the introduction of “Screens” to the sport of F1 when neither fans or drivers want them.
      Do we now suggest that based on the unfortunate loss of life in Moto GP, Superbikes, Superstocks, Isle of Man etc., we stop motorbike racing or find some gastly form of protection so riders are protected when they fall.
      Moral delima no doubt – but what then is the answer, do we push the level for competive safety beyond reason or do we just accept that in this “need for speed” sport there is and will always be a price to pay?

      1. Is it better to have the drivers and riders pay with their lives or the organizers pay with money? In the end the more unsafe a racing event is the more money the organizer makes. Safety just costs money. It means less profits. It is a special breed of people who place no value on other people’s lives just to get a better show. “Driver is just a replaceable part in the car” is certainly one way to think about it.

        F1 is multibillion dollar sport. It makes no sense to kill and injure drivers for the show. The sponsors will leave, the manufacturers will leave. In the end all you have left is spectators who watch it only for the crashes and drivers who are pressured into doing it because of ruthless competition. There are always 20 guys behind the door waiting to jump in into the car if you don’t.

        It is no different today with halo and shield. Teams are pushing their drivers to vouch for the solution that their team understands better and feels has an advantage with. So merc probably wants the halo, red bull wants the shield while the rest try to pick the one they think works better for them.

        I’m not sure if it is just naiveté or just cold hard business thinking but I don’t think it makes any sense to not add a safety feature to save lives because someone has different opinion.

    16. Rick Lopez (@viscountviktor)
      15th July 2017, 16:58

      Massa has a very identifiable helmet.

      Fully against shield or halo.

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