Romain Grosjean, Haas, Interlagos, 2016

Halo proves F1 has “gone too far with safety”

2018 F1 season

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Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen have sharply criticised the FIA’s decision to require F1 drivers to use the Halo from 2018.

Magnussen told reporters in Hungary that danger is an essential ingredient of F1’s appeal.

“The element of risk and danger is something that turns me on,” he said. “It’s a big part of the reason I go racing.”

“When you put your life on the line and risk everything to get a result, and you get a result, it strengthens the satisfaction.”

“And I think we’ve gone too far with safety now. It’s already in a good place, the safety has moved on massively from 30 years ago when Formula One really was too dangerous. So I’m happy as it is, I don’t see that we need any more. It looks bad, it’s not Formula One.”

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2016
Is Halo really as popular among the drivers as the FIA claims?
Magnussen’s team mate Grosjean, who is a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, has been a consistent critics of the Halo design.

“I’ve never liked it and I still don’t like it,” he said Grosjean. “Personally I think it was a sad day for Formula One when it came out.”

Grosjean also suggested Halo could create safety problems while addressing others.

“The research that has been done by the FIA is really strong research, really strong thinking behind it,” said Grosjean. “The GPDA is not here to say what we should have and what we should not have in the safety grounds, we leave it a hundred percent to the FIA and that’s why we accepted the Halo coming in.”

“But personally I believe that taking more time could have found a better solution because we could have problems with the Halo that we wouldn’t have without it.”

However Felipe Massa, who was badly injured when he was hit by debris in 2009, says the Halo could have reduced the severity of his accident.

“If it touched first the Halo definitely the spring would have arrived less strong than what I got,” said Massa. “So maybe, it depends, it’s very difficult to be a hundred percent sure about it.”

“So it’s true that maybe the spring could have touched the Halo and come back on my shoulder. But it’s better to break the should than to have a problem on your head.”

“I am in favour of the safety so I am in favour of whatever the FIA is choosing to help our safety. So I am in favour of the Halo.”

A competing solution called Shield which potentially offered better protection against the type of debris which injured Massa was tested by Sebastian Vettel but rejected, leading Halo to be confirmed for 2018.

“I didn’t try the Shield,” said Massa, “but understand that maybe what Sebastian said that it was not great for visibility, I trust him.”

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Keith Collantine
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  • 66 comments on “Halo proves F1 has “gone too far with safety””

    1. Hakeem (@themonkeyhead)
      27th July 2017, 20:43

      head injury is an unacceptable risk to any racing drivers, and any measure that can prevent it is fine in my books. head protection beyond helmets is here to stay. f1 cars have always been (until this season at least) form over function, and the halo serves a function. it will get refined over time, or get replaced by a superior solution (in terms of protection) but for now, it’s absolutely better than nothing

      1. The most likely and thus common scenario which results in head trauma, is rapid deceleration (inertia), I do not see halo making one iota of difference here

        Halo has the potential to do more harm than good

        1. @sars That is obviously wrong or they would not have confirmed it’s useage.

          1. There is a restriction of egress when the car is inverted or on it’s side, how is this not a potential scenario for harm, it’s just the conjecture of the FIA that that risk is lower than that of head injury as a result of flying debris. Unfortunately is is very difficult to conceive all scenarios which could have a negative impact on halo and my fear is that we will be watching a race, something unexpected will happen, the driver can’t get out and we see him burn alive on live TV.

            and then we will all say, well we didn’t envisage that happening, because that’s how life is.

            1. Actually they’ve just shown that the halo can add room for a driver to get out when the car is inverted. And fire is far less the concern than it used to be whereas there have been actual fatalities from large objects hitting drivers on the head in recent years. Conjuring images of drivers ‘burning alive’ on live TV is overstating your stance to try to make a point. This is not the 60’s anymore.

            2. when was the last time a car turned into a fireball after a crash? i think it was the late 80’s. not saying it couldn’t happen but its very very unlikely in this day and age.

    2. The chances of the spring hitting Massa’s halo would have been very small though – it doesn’t provide much protection head on.

      1. Depends very much on the size of the object. With Halo Henry Surtees would probably still be among us. Also I don’t thing there is such thing as too far in terms of safety. But I accept with the presence of the VSC and the absence of oval tracks Halo isn’t as urgently required in F1 as it is in Indycar.

        1. @unitedkingdomracing
          “I don’t thinK there is such thing as too far in terms of safety..” Do you wrap yourself and loved ones in bubble wrap when you go outside? No, then stop making sweeping statements. Anything can be taken too far. Whether halo is one of them is yet to be proven. As mentioned elsewhere, would halo of saved Massa? Who knows as is was a 1 in billion chance accident. Unless the drivers are inside a steel box there is no way to plan for freak accidents. Even then they could burn to death if the car caught fire, so my point stands.

          1. @Tiomkin Of course. Stopping racing in the first place would be too far, for instance. But any practical technical solution such as halo that doesn’t stop the actual purpose or compromising it considerably is not a step too far as long as it decreases the chance of any injuries or worse.

          2. Massa didn’t need ‘saving’. He survived. Small debris is not the big concern, and they bolstered helmets and visors after his incident. It is large objects that are the danger.

    3. I think the main problem is that there are more people hating on the Halo for how it looks than hating on it for being a rushed solution so that they can have some sort of protection, regarless of how rudimentary it is. I’ll keep saying it, the shield not only was better looking (that’s a secondary point), but if sturdy enough, could deflect any size of debris, be it a tyre, or a spring. The fact it was ditched after a lap because one driver complained is what annoys me.
      In summary, I’m all for head protection, but I’d like to have the halo thoroughly compared with more solutions, then if the halo is scientifically better, I’ll bear with it.
      Remember side head protection looked awful in 1996.

      1. Racerdude7730
        27th July 2017, 22:12

        If F1 wanted to put real research in the screen it would be safer and look pretty good. The halo is stoping nothing other then tires. If fighter jets can have a canopy with zero distortion then so can F1. It’s a joke what they are doing. The screen will save many many more lives and smaller injurys

        1. What makes you think fighter jet canopies don’t distort the view out? They do. Also fighter canopies are designed to withstand small, soft objects at very high speed (birds), not large, heavy objects at a slower speed (wheels). To do this the canopy needs to be thicker than in a fighter jet and thus creates more distortion of the view out.

        2. Yes, and again and again a fighter jet canopy is way wider, they can have air circulation systems inside to deal with heat and condensation etc etc. And how does a driver get out or a medic stabilize a driver’s neck in the case of an upside down car, if he is enclosed in a canopy? Getting so tired of F1 being brought down to what some must think is a series run by high school kids.

      2. Who said they ditched the shield? That one off test was only because the time was approaching that teams were finalising their chassis designs for next year. It was a last gasp attempt to see if that prototype was raceable for next year. Even if Vettel had found it ok, i don’t think they would or could have pushed it through. More tests are scheduled for monza don’t forget. Halo is the best thing that works for next year. Hopefully shield will be ready by 2019

    4. The problem with this, is the fallacy of it, the “hypocrisy” to a point: if safety was the ultimate goal, then make F1 car canopy and closed wheel and end the bloody argument already! Why take half measures? Halo, shield, all that are half measures.

      1. Because they are not willing to risk the entity that is F1 by completely changing it to something that is no longer F1. Why can’t they just do this one more thing to protect the drivers heads?

    5. “…it’s better to break the should than to have a problem on your head.”

      Sure ok, in general I can buy that. But it’s only your head that benefits from the protection afforded by a helmet.

      The hideous Halo can deflect downward objects that are travelling at high speeds. “Break the shoulder” could amount to crushing it and the collar bone alltogether, cause internal bleeding, etc. Because of the Halo Massa’s career could well have ended in 2009.

    6. Racerdude7730
      27th July 2017, 22:10

      Just wait and see these halos will kill or end up really hurting a driver so the EMT’s can not remove them from the car fast enough and even tho fire is rare now if they are upside down and trapped bc if the halo we will see how safe it really is. I don’t ever wanna see anyone hurt but I see this endangering guys more then saving them

      1. Racerdude7730
        27th July 2017, 22:15

        If they ran these in indycar James hinclif would be dead bc he would have bleed to death before getting the stupid halo off and then cutting him from the car. The other thing is what if they have direct contact with the halo and it deforms and give the drive no path to leave the car. With the screen non of these problems would exist

        1. …and in the same season if Indycar had ran the Halo we’d still have Justin Wilson – and that to me is a good example of why the screen doesn’t cut it as the nosecone that hit him would probably have cleared the shield but still hit his head.

          I also doubt that the Indycar safety team would have had more problems extracting the mayor from his car with the Halo – I thought the idea is that the Halo can be removed in the same way as the neck restraint is currently.

        2. Racerdude7730, I don’t think that it would have made any difference in the extraction time for Hinchcliffe, because in his case he was being physically pinned down by one of the wishbones that had gone through his leg and into the chassis of the car. Cutting the wishbone and part of the chassis strikes me as being likely to take quite a bit longer than removing the Halo, nor can I see a reason why removal of the Halo could not be taking place simultaneously to cutting the wishbone – so it doesn’t strike me as being likely to have lengthened his extraction time in that case.

      2. As I understand it there will be a way for safety team’s to very quickly remove the Halo if necessary. However according to the medical people in most cases that shouldn’t be necessary as the Halo doesn’t prevent them from been able to stabilize the driver in the cockpit & then extract the driver & seat through the top of it.

        The FIA has run test’s on extraction & have worked with motorsport medical personnel during the design & testing of every solution that has been put forward. That was actually one of the very first things that was looked at/tested after the initial impact/crash test’s.

        @skydiverian

    7. I wish people would stop moaning about the Halo. By the time the teams have tweaked it and painted it appropriately for their livery, it will look fine. By 2019 we’ll be so used to it that cars would look naked without it.

      How many drivers moaned when HANS was introduced? And how many drivers, in any category, would race without one now?

      Let’s just get on with it.

      1. Racerdude7730
        27th July 2017, 22:18

        Idk if people are moaning just bc of looks. I see it as a danger. It would not have saved anyone but for 1 driver in the last 30 years put prob could have caused more injuries to others. So I bitch on a point I don’t think it’s safe. Also we don’t know how it will effect a drivers line of sight. They said they can see but never tested in race conditions. The drivers say it blocks their mirrors also. Again the screen would cause non of this

        1. Racerdude7730
          27th July 2017, 22:18

          But prob could*

      2. Lower the whole cockpit sides and front and make a cage/ halo structure. Clearly choosing the halo over developing the screen means cages with big gaps are safer. The whole car would be safer if it was a naked steel spaceframe chassis and we would see more.

    8. I understand motorsport as a high risk sport. Its essence is to provide excitement to everyone involved, and excitement without any kind of danger isn’t exciting at all. Risk isn’t always physical, as the risk of making a mistake provides excitement in itself. The idea of trying to do everything possible to achieve an objective without making mistakes is what drag us along.

      That said, F1 won’t stop being exciting with the Halo. But it does drive it one step closer to a sterilized sport. Rallying without a slippery road with trees at each side would be terrible for instance. And the chances of hitting a big lump of wood at the side of the road are a lot higher than getting a head injury because bodywork flew off another car in F1. Specially with all the measures taken until now.

      F1 tracks are safer than ever, but those enormous tarmac runoffs deleted any kind of risk of making a mistake and paying for it, for instance. The Halo is a much bigger issue of course, because there are lives on the line, but it’s undeniable that it takes a lot of the character off an inherently risky activity.

      I do feel the Halo doesn’t belong to F1, and it’s more of a rushed up solution to a very dangerous problem. There could be much better solutions out there still yet to be discussed and tested. But the Halo saves lives. And I don’t want spend another morning like that one in October in 2014…

      1. I think you might also consider the Halo a wake-up call to the teams to put even more of their resources towards developing a better solution @fer-no65

    9. Two scenarios for next year
      1) halo saves a life
      2) halo fails to protect a life or puts a life in more danger.

      Of the two, from the research it looks like the second scenario is more likely.

      Simple as that.

      1. from the research it looks like the second scenario is more likely.

        ?

      2. Show us this research to which you refer.

    10. The screen was potentially better and bot that its the main reason but far better looking. It was ran for a few laps in its 1st prototype phase then discounted after 1 driver tried it. Why not develop it to address the initial problems and try again? It offers potentially more safety. The Halo has been tested a lot, developed the most and is still open to objects hitting the driver and it looks horrendous. The screen adresses more things but was discounted after a few laps. Halo is an ill thought cheap rush job…like drs and engine restrictions.

      1. The halo isn’t a rush job, As you said in your comment it’s been tested a lot over several years & has been run by every driver at this point with feedback from them with regards to various aspects in terms of visibility & stuff.

        They always said they wanted something on the cars for 2018, The FIA as well as the teams have tested numerous solutions the past few years & so far the halo is the only one that passed the test’s without creating any additional problems.
        In order to get a head protection solution on the cars for 2018 the decision needed to be made & finalized now so that teams could design there 2018 cars with that solution integrated into the designs. The various screen solutions are miles behind been ready while the Halo is ready now so when the decision needed to be made it was the only viable solution for 2018.

        Also remember that the screen solutions will still be developed & if one of those reaches a point where it’s felt its race ready it will be introduced, But nobody knows how long it will take to figure out all of the problems those solutions create & they don’t want to wait potentially another few years given how they have something that’s ready now.

        The halo is ready for 2018, It’s been tested & they know it works. If they decide not to bring it in & then in 2018 something tragic happens which the Halo would have prevented they will look utterly idiotic for not bringing in & would have also opened themselves up to further legal action.

    11. It is troubling to see that FOM is showing only pro-halo driver opinions in today’s press release coverage.

      I would expect and hope that FOM doesn’t apply political filters to it’s coverage of the drivers. However, the opinion of 3 drivers is completely omitted, so I can’t help but feel that the viewer is being manipulated into buying the halo concept. Very disappointing from an organization that seems to value openness and a democratic system above all.

      Will Buxton may not be far off the truth with his analysis earlier. There seems to be a massive powerplay from FIA to forcefully introduce the halo, instead of taking the time to come up with a better concept.

      1. Very disappointing from an organization that seems to value openness and a democratic system above all.

        Haha! Nice joke. Really don’t know how you get that feeling from F1.

    12. Neil (@neilosjames)
      27th July 2017, 23:07

      Motorsport is dangerous – a line has to be drawn somewhere between acceptable risk and too much risk. My line would be drawn before Halo, and before other forms of head protection like the screen, because I feel F1 is safe enough without it.

      Unfortunately for me, everyone has their own line drawing position, and the people who matter drew theirs in a different place…

      1. I feel the same. Thank God for the Isle of Man TT.

        1. f1bobby, the same Isle of Man TT where three competitors were killed this year alone, and almost every single year has seen fatal accidents (over the past 50 years, there has been at least one, and often multiple, fatal accidents in the Isle of Man TT in 48 of those years)?

          1. Yes, I get your point. Isle of Man is really insanely dangerous. But, these people knew about the risks about it, no one forced them to race there. I think that if someone doesn’t feel something is safe, they can decide not to participate. Not that I think Isle of Man is the way to go, it’s hugely dangerous. But Motorsports are always about coping with some degree of risk, and skills and bravery. No one wants to have drivers killed at Formula 1 every weekend as in the 70’s, but I would say that we already have everything much more sanitized nowadays: asphalt run offs, virtual safety cars, safety car starts when raining, etc. I think we have already a pretty high safety standard. But when you are running 20 cars around a circuit, there will always have a risk. On go karts the risks are there as well, and you can easily get killed. Once someone start a carer in motosports, dealing with risks must be something you need to be comfortable with. For some people, jumping from a mountain in a jumpsuit or running a bike at Isle of Man is acceptable, for others not. I feel that if we keep on this route, in about 20 years from now, the drivers will be virtually racing the cars inside the pits, with the cars running like drones on the circuits. If a driver is not able to cope with risks, he can choose to work on another field, it’s up to him, it’s fine. But the essence of motorsports is having the competition, the bravery, the skill, speed, and some inherent degree of danger. Ultimately, each driver have the free will to decide for himself if they feel ok to cope with the danger ( as Niki Lauda did in Fuji ’76 or Emerson Fittipaldi in Jarama ’74 for example, when they decided the conditions weren’t safe enough). It was really a shame about Justin Wilson, but ultimately, he was running a highly powered car on an oval circuit. To some degree, he was aware that the risk of death would always exist, because Ovals are one of the most dangerous forms of racing. If we consider all the history of Formula One, I would say that we already improved a lot on safety grounds (almost to the point of sterilization of race), the halo for me looks just a step a bit too far, as you can’t eradicate the risks on motorsports, and my point is that ultimately, each one have the free will to decide if they want to work at a library for living or jumping from a mountain with a jumpsuit for living, it’s all about tolerance to risk and willingness to do what you love regardless of the risks.

            1. Exactly. The health and safety lot are an affront to freedom and have the arrogance to deny death itself. Ultimately we’re born to die.

              Better dying at 200 miles an hour on a motorbike than suffering for years with dementia, no memory of your loved ones and no control over your bodily functions.

            2. The health and safety lot are an affront to freedom and have the arrogance to deny death itself.

              I really don’t like the look of the Halo at all. But statements as obviously ludicrous and untrue as this it makes it hard to have any sympathy at all for your point of view.

    13. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      27th July 2017, 23:09

      I don’t know how many posters on here actually attend races every year but I go to Montreal, and have since 2011. It hasn’t been the same experience since 2014 because of the lack of noise. My wife who knows nothing of racing was in awe of the pre hybrid scream. Like a drug high. They took it away. Ok no problem, we ll still party with our friends in Quebec and have a good 5 day holiday…..a halo? In F1? Not a chance. I will not pay the money I pay to see Formula 1 drivers with that horrid thing on their car with a horrible noise since 2014 next year. Not a chance. It’s not the same. I’ll watch every race on tv but Ill spend the money golfing in Collingwood next year instead of viewing. Guaranteed I won’t be the only one in Canada let alone the whole schedule.

    14. Ben (@scuderia29)
      27th July 2017, 23:09

      There has been no test results so far to suggest the halo somehow endangers drivers, Massa wishes he would have had one in 2009, I’m sure justin Wilsons and henry surtees family also would have wished they were implemented years ago, being against a safety measure that could have saved lives in previous accidents and can potentially save lives in future ones is disrespectful to the people who have suffered injures or lost their lives in the past. danger is not why I tune in, jules bianchis tragedy did not add to the show, danger and injuries and fatalities are not reasons why I tune in to every grand prix, fans and some drivers alike need to show some maturity on this subject.

      1. Jules Bianchi 1st F1 death in 20 years. Safety improved that the 1994 deaths wo7ld not occur. Huge crashes since like Alonso Brazil 2003, Zonta and Villneauve at Spa and so on no problem. Buanchi died because a huge damn tractor was in line of a 700kg single seater in the wet. Put a giant halo over the tractors for safety or air cushions. If safety is so important why no air bags?

        People will say Justin Wilson…thats another series different safety rules F1 is a lot higher already than hillbilly Indy Cars. Surtees….different Formula on a track that is not certified safe enough for F1. F1 does not need this but as a future proof precaution more development of the screen was best for safety and looks (form follows function). Halo is stupid.

    15. Agree with the Haas drivers. Well said.

    16. Whatever. I’m just waiting for the “it’s happening, if you don’t like it leave” statement from FOM or to see it get canned. Anything else is still, just going around in circles.

      We need a display of strength from the new owners.

    17. Let the driver have a videohelmet and put him in a box inside the car with 40 inch carbon walls…thats safety..

      1. Yip. Agreed. You want safety? Ban the whole endeavour.

    18. Sometime in the future we will all see an accident where the Halo saves someone from a head injury, whether it be tires which lost it’s tether or fallen parts from another car.

      Yes it is ugly but for sure it will save some – it could have been, should have beens , in the future and we’ll be all glad the FIA implemented this.

      1. A tyre may hit the top of the halo or even miss by a foot. The driver would not have suffered with or without it but some snowflake will extoll its virtues. Its so big its as if they want something to graze its outer edges so they can justify implimenting it. I think a better solution is to have a Hungarian grid girl sit in front of the driver to protect him maybe wearing a halo (read thonged) bikini?

      2. Josh (@canadianjosh)
        28th July 2017, 2:00

        Maybe it will give Ferrari an advantage.

    19. I have a feeling that we will see the halo cause or exacerbate a problem before we see it prevent one.

      1. Vettel only wants it so he can pull it off and throw it at Hamilton next year on Baku thus loosening Hamiltons Halo whereby he has to pit to have it refitted. Vettel will have his refitted after his 10 second penalty.

    20. We talk all about debris hitting a driver, but what about when a car goes top first into the barriers? Keep in mind we’ve lost Greg Moore and Dan Wheldon that way. Had the Halo been around for them, would they still be alive?

      1. No they would be dead. 200mph plus into a concrete wall in Moores case. Anyway Indy car track safety and current car safety is well below current F1 standards. If Moore and Wheldon had been in F1 in their respective eras they would still be alive today. F1 is paying for Indy Cars sins.

    21. I don’t like the look of it, but whatever; I’ll get over it. And so will you.

      #driverslivesmatter

    22. Aren’t the speeds and danger parts of the attraction of motorsport?
      Both for drivers and spectators alike.
      The risks, and the rewards go together. Just like they have done since the 1950’s.
      I don’t want to see drivers injured or killed. But I don’t want them wrapped up in cotton wool.
      The Halo is just going too far.

    23. I find the level of complaint quite surprising. You don’t hear these sorts of complaints from Saloon Car racing fans, yet the drivers in those racing series are even less likely to be seen by spectators than what F1 drivers will be with Halo. Can you imagine fans of those racing series getting agitated because the FIA wanted to have roll cages and bracing inside the car and roofs and such like? No, everyone accepts roll cages, roofs, and bracing inside modified production cars and saloon cars and such like, and everyone accepts the drivers can’t be seen by spectators.

    24. I do not understand the logic behind halo, let me explain. We love street circuits because of the skill, concentration and bravery required to nail a lap with a car that is predictable, that inspires confidence to push at the limit, barriers are nudged, skimmed and kissed. The new circuit at Baku, has a beautiful and exciting kink at the castle, a high speed S with kerbing on the left and a substantial barrier on the right following, which was hit numerous times during the race weekend. The FIA promote the halo raison d’etre as a head protection device, however, the most likely cause of head trauma is the rapid deceleration of the head and yes hitting a barrier at speed is the very definition of rapid deceleration. So where is the logic, the FIA fit a device to protect against a rare occurrence, yet endorse tracks where the potential for harm is actively encouraged.

    25. Looking forward to a proper safe F1 in 2025 featuring these
      Developed For Safety ™ F1 “racecars”
      .

      Also hoping the new Monaco 31mph speed limit to be introduced in 2022 will improve the amount of viewers, because fathers can by then watch F1 together with their kids, without the major risk of promoting speeding in a city.

      1. Add a fully canopied quadruple halo to this, make the tyres narrower to reduce cornering speeds, and we’ve got ourselves a properfly SAFE Formula 1, aka Formula Safe:
        http://www.thunder-island.com/images/formula_1_go-karts_fulton.jpg

        1. Love this. Also, more seriously: As someone who has forked out to be at a live F1 race and unfortunately found it disappointingly sterilized already…, I am worried that the halo will kill the aesthetics AND remove the last ounce of awe and respect for these elite drivers whom are supposed to conquer dangero… correction… overly safe Tilke tracks in a way that only the worlds best and most courageous are supposed to be able to do. Grosjean and KMAG are 100% right. F1 has become rated PG13 the Sunday morning kids show.

    26. Improvements is safety should coincide with increases in speed and performance.

      Add a halo, close the canopy, do whatever, but at the same time lets increase displacement, widen the tires even further, boost the turbos, add more electric motor thingies.

      If the cars are going to be that much safer, let’s see the cars start going a lot faster.

    27. Well those replies didn’t age so well

    Comments are closed.