Halo “must be used in all categories” – Kubica

2018 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Robert Kubica has voiced strong support for the Halo head protection system which will be introduced in Formula One and Formula Two next year.

The 32-year-old, who suffered serious injuries in a rally crash six years ago, is seeking a return to F1 in 2018.

Is Halo really as popular among drivers as the FIA claims?
“I can’t say it’s pretty, but if it improves head protection then it must be used, in all categories,” Kubica told the latest issue of the FIA’s magazine Auto.

Although the Halo has faced some strong criticism, including from drivers, Kubica predicted it will quickly gain acceptance. “In a few years time, it won’t even be noticed, just as has happened with the HANS device,” he added.

Earlier this year British Formula Four racer Billy Monger lost his lower legs in a crash at Donington Park. Kubica said his experience showed him the 18-year-old will “have to get to know himself again and first of all find peace with himself, accepting the new reality of his situation.”

“Then he can start thinking about achieving certain things that – lying in his bed staring at the ceiling and feeling lost, which is something I have experienced several times over the past few years – he believes are no longer possible.”

“It’s very difficult to talk about it and I don’t want to tell anyone what to do,” Kubica added.

“I think that when something like this happens to a person, before looking to the future one must first find some sort of balance.”

“Over time, I have realised that the brain can develop the ability to compensate, at least partly, for one’s physical limits. I realise it’s difficult to explain something like this and only those who have experienced it can really understand what I’m talking about.”

2017 F1 season

Browse all 2017 F1 season articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

48 comments on “Halo “must be used in all categories” – Kubica”

  1. I, for one, am delighted to see a driver of the calibre of Kubica heartily endorse the Halo. Whilst I agree it is not as aesthetically pleasing as alternatives, it will one day save a driver’s life. Anyone opposed to the halo are romantics who crave a cloth cap and lampposts. Head protection in F1 is long overdue and the only pragmatic solution.

    I have noticed that the most vocal critics are the Haas drivers. If Magnussen wasn’t a crybaby hypocrite regarding defensive driving and Grosjean wasn’t complaining that cars shouldn’t race in the rain then maybe I would have enough respect for them to agree. But as it stands I am glad the drivers are pulling together on this as the battle should not be convincing fans but the uninformed casual masses.

    I am however slightly cynical that he has voiced this opinion only weeks after joining Rosberg’s management team…

    1. Anyone opposed to the halo are romantics who crave a cloth cap and lampposts.

      I wouldn’t go that far.

      I am however slightly cynical that he has voiced this opinion only weeks after joining Rosberg’s management team…

      Possibly, but it is also entirely possible he was responding to a question from a journalist, it’s not likely he just randomly said this out of the blue.

    2. Anyone who still wants to see true Motorsport heroes in action needs to be watching MotoGP. Did you see Rossi last weekend tearing it up with a broken leg!? Bravery, skill, balls the size of small moons, charisma. Awesome.

      Meanwhile F1 drivers are going to hide behind their little cages. How inspirational. How much farther can F1 fall….


      1. Were you watching F1 when Senna or Ratzenberger were killed in 1994? How about Jules Bianchi in 2014, or Maria de Villota in 2013? The marshal at the 2001 Australian GP? Or everyone else who has lost their lives in this sport?
        I’m not the Halo’s biggest advocate but if it saves a driver’s life, how does it make that driver less of a hero? Driving one of these cars still takes immense bravery.

        1. I’m pretty sure that the halo simulations carried to date included the Jules Bianchi accident and produced no different outcome/benefit form the device. Not sure on the others though.

          1. I meant purely from the perspective of him claiming that F1 drivers are sissies. The Halo was developed more in response to accidents like that of Henry Surtees, no safety device is likely to have saved Bianchi’s life.

      2. Paul, whilst I have the utmost respect for MotoGP riders it’s an entirely different sport. F1’s loss of it’s scary, bravado image has come almost as a direct consequence of motorcycle racing requesting tarmac run offs for the safety of riders. The reason for the run off is safety. The riders still exhibit incredible skill but want to mitigate against an obvious danger. The halo is the same branch of common sense thinking. The fault lies with fans who are too slow to grasp that being decapitated while minding your own business is not a measure of skill or bravery. The drivers remain lions. They still risk their lives every race to entertain us. Why are you so quick to belittle them?

        1. No one has been decapitated and no driver in F1 have ever been killed by a tire.
          Senna took a suspension piece to the head, another thing the stupid halo wouldnt have prevented.
          Jules, Nope. Thats all on the FIA for having a crane where it was. Brundle predicted it a lap before, thats ALL on Charlie and the FIA. Instead they screw it for the fans.


          1. @marksch How do you think the media and F1 in general would have fared if Alonso had been decapitated at Spa in 2012? I was in the crowd that day surrounded by children of all ages. Are you honestly suggesting you would rather stand there and explain that a driver had been killed, which could have been prevented, because you thought it would make cars look silly? The drivers haven’t been out in the open since 1995 and have further regressed into the cockpit. Why is putting a safety device on the cockpit so offensive? Senna’s death was the result of a concrete wall, brittle suspension, limited helmet technology and bad luck. All of them have been rectified. Are you wanting to wait until someone is hurt before we act?

          2. @marksch while i’m no fan of the halo, Senna is the one driver in all these lists who might have been saved by it. He suffered three seperate headinjuries, all three of Them most likely fatal. (A major bloodvessel ruptured, a fracture at the base of the skull and the aforementioned trauma to the forehead if i’m not mistaking) Two of these were inflicted by the tyre hitting the helmet, and one by a piece of assembly. However as i understand it said piece was still attached to the wheel and might therefore also have been deflected. So this would actually be a point for halo

          3. They don’t have to race and you don’t have to watch. You act as though F1 is a blood sport and people against the Halo abomination are blood thirsty monsters. It isn’t and they aren’t. Get a grip already.

          4. @rbalonso you would explain to them why the driver died just like you would if they got hit in the face by a line drive, killed in a football game, hit one to many times in boxing, took a knee to the head in soccer, got hit by a car, had a heart attack, died of cancer, died of lung cancer from smoking.

            The drivers are being paid a lot of money to entertain us. As more and more people stop going to grand prix the amount of money leaves the sport. As the money leaves the sport more and more fans and employees leave the sport. I stopped spending a lot of money flying to a race when the sound went away and I guarantee I wont be going to a race to photo these abominations anytime soon.

          5. No one has been decapitated

            At least 3 drivers have been decapitated: Chris Bristow (Belgium 1960), Helmuth Koinigg (United States 1974) and Tom Pryce (Soth Africa 1977)

        2. F1’s loss of it’s scary, bravado image has come almost as a direct consequence of motorcycle racing requesting tarmac run offs for the safety of riders.

          This is not true, motorcycle racers prefer gravel traps over tarmac run off areas as it better prevents the motorcycle from sliding greater distances if the rider crashes, which reduces the chance of a riderless motorcycle hitting someone. Tarmac run off areas were brought in for car racing to prevent cars becoming beached and thereby difficult to move.

          1. The reason circuits hosting cars adopted tarmac was due to the risk of cars either taking off or rolling but bike tracks in the early 2000s wanted tarma run offs so riders stayed up longer and had a flat consistent slide see Wayne Rainey. I have never heard a rider say they wanted to keep gravel to avoid other bikes.

            2 articles for your reference Robert:

        3. Can you imagine an F1 driver being allowed to race with a broken leg!? Don’t make me laugh.

          I’m not belittling all of them….just the corporate drones and cowards that, having made it into F1, have decided to drive a stake into the heart of open cockpit racing. If they are scared they can quit.

          There are a few real racers left in the field – at least 3.

      3. the moto gp argument is kind of annoying. they are different sports. also, as has been pointed out, they are very recipient to safety advances – no one is calling them wusses because they’re using airbags.

    3. Topless Robot Nun
      28th September 2017, 23:32

      Anyone who doesn’t want to see drivers removed from the cars altogether, instead controlling them remotely from a bunker, while wearing a giant rubber costume stuffed with pillows just in case, is a romantic who craves a cloth cap and lampposts.

      Doesn’t really work as an argument, does it?

      1. Which accident did you last watch which made you feel happy or contented?

        1. @RBAlonso: Either stop watching Motorsports cause it’s too scary for poor little you or stop trying to ruin it for the rest of us. Go take a knitting class.

          1. No kidding. Watch something else if youre too fragile to watch F1.

          2. Very brave and strong willed of you 2 to risk someone else’s life for your entertainment Paul and @marksch.

            I am not scared to watch racing. I am not scared to attend races. I am not scared to race. However, I think the pragmatic rationale that drivers should be allowed to race without having to choose between family life or racing unnecessarily dangerous machines because a small percentage of fans think that death is entertaining is a pertinent point. Why should the drivers race for 20 years if they think the sport won’t address their concerns? Why should we postpone safety advances? Whose loss is it really if drivers retire early? Surely it’s the fans.

            So far when debating you two I have not read a single credible argument for maintaining the status quo. A lot of waffle about bravado and how because we’ve not seen it before means we won’t see it in the future. I would rather be preventative. We know a head injury is overdue. Wurz DC Australia 2007, Massa Hungary 2009, Chandok Monaco 2010, Schumacher Abu Dhabi 2010, Alonso Spa 2012 and Silverstone 2013, Raikkonen Austria 2015. That aside from De Villota, Surtees and Wilson’s deaths. This is the main safety issue of this era and we have the chance as fans to accept that the halo looks poor but satisfies a key role or wish it was 1970 again. I know what side of history I’m on.

  2. I have more than enough respect for Kubica, but I don’t think I’ll ever subscribe to this, “If it does [good thing], then it must be implemented,” guff.

    Putting cages around the wheels to eliminate the possibility of extremely dangerous, car-launching wheel-to-wheel contact would improve all-round protection and safety to a degree that the halo couldn’t dream of, but as far as I can see no one is setting up a soapbox of sanctimonity (that’s not quite a real word, but it fits so well) to lecture everyone else about bringing that in…

    1. Don’t worry I’m sure Wheel Halos are next. And people will be lined up to support that nonsense too in the name of “safety”….

  3. “Anyone opposed to the halo are romantics who crave a cloth cap and lampposts.”

    And here I was thinking “anyone who disagrees with me is an idiot” was only fashionable in political debates on Twitter.

    1. Sorry, should have been a response to the first post, accidentally did the ‘reply’ bit wrong…

  4. I wish Robert would go away now and enjoy his retirement. He does not have a ride, so I don’t understand all this attention. Bow out gracefully.

    1. Kubica predicted it will quickly gain acceptance. “In a few years time, it won’t even be noticed, just as has happened with the HANS device,” he added.

      Yes the HANS device! The thing that makes F1 cars look like friggin abominations! Give me a break. Only the drivers didnt like HANS at first because they couldnt rotate their heads. This totally different then ruining the look of the cars, of course the sound is gone, the bravery is gone, and 200,000 fans are gone. Make that 200,001

      If only Liberty would dump the FIA.

  5. Kubica predicted it will quickly gain acceptance. “In a few years time, it won’t even be noticed, just as has happened with the HANS device,” he added.

    Yes the HANS device! The thing that makes F1 cars look like friggin abominations! Give me a break. Only the drivers didnt like HANS at first because they couldnt rotate their heads. This totally different then ruining the look of the cars, of course the sound is gone, the bravery is gone, and 200,000 fans are gone. Make that 200,001

    If only Liberty would dump the FIA.

  6. It frustrates me that the assumption is made that if I don’t like HALO then I don’t care about driver safety.

    Rubbish. What frustrates me is that HALO is such a poor solution to the problem of driver head protection. It is ugly as sin, and no Rob, I’m never going to get used to it. It is never going to be as effective in 99% of situations a driver might face as a full canopy. Massa in ’09, Wilson’s crash in Indycar, the injuries sustained were from smaller debris hitting them in the head. HALO might deflect that, but being open will never guarantee it.

    If we must have protection for the driver’s head then do it properly. As I’ve said countless times before, if fighter planes can have canopies which are bird strike proof and in many cases bulletproof then surely the great engineering minds of F1 can make them work.

    The dozens of beautiful closed cockpit F1 concepts designed by amateurs online show that it can be done, and I’ll bet that the Newey designed Red Bull X2010 series, while being a fantasy car for a game, could be made to work in reality, canopy and all.

    No, I don’t hate HALO because the danger of open cockpit cars will be gone. I want the drivers to be safe! I hate it because it is god damn ugly and not as effective as a more thoroughly engineered solution.

    It’s so bad…

    1. I wish people would stop saying that the halo will not be effective when actually they don’t have a freaking clue how effective it will be, they have not been involved in the design, research, manufacturing processes, they have nothing to do with the halo implementation.

      Just because people can share their opinions with the whole world in these moderns times with the internet and social media it doesn’t mean that they are knowledgable on whatever it is they are talking about.

    2. I basically agree with this. It’s FIA cowardice that has lead to this disgusting half measure. The FIA (and its supporters) should stand behind the position that society is too precious for open cockpit racing and close the cockpit … or don’t.

    3. The dozens of beautiful closed cockpit F1 concepts designed by amateurs online show that it can be done

      With respect, no they don’t. A pretty picture drawn by someone is not the same thing as a full engineered and proven solution.

      1. And the Newey designed Red Bull X2010 and McLaren MP4/X won’t work either I suppose Keith? They were designed by people already with a lot of F1 runs on the board. Not just a pretty picture. And to just call some of the online designs “pretty pictures” is selling a number of them very short indeed. I also am yet to see a single report that proves HALO is the best driver head protection solution available.

        IF the FIA said that HALO was a short term measure before full canopies or closed cockpits were introduced then fine. But you do not need a full engineering analysis to pick the holes – literally – in the protection HALO offers. Common sense does that for you.

        If HALO was the ideal solution then why was the Shield even bothered with?

        As I said, its ugly and when 9/10 teams vote against it surely there are better solutions out there which are at least as effective and far more aesthetically pleasing.

  7. The only true safe way of Motorsport and not having Motorsport. I don’t think bumper cars are exciting. Might as well do that if you really care about safety anything else is nothing but hypocrisy and insult to anyone with common sense.

  8. Personally I wanna see speed limits on all tracks. Tracks such as monza will have a 100mph speed limit on the fast parts and all the turns will be a limit of 60mph. The exception will be parabolica With a 80mph limit because the FIA says they want the fans to really feel the speed of a F1 car! I think they need to take a look at this because to me the cars will still be way to fast…… lol anyways I’m hoping that the liverys will do there best to have the HALO blend into the car. I really hate them but I’m trying to talk myself off the cliff and try to learn to live with that travesty

    1. @racerdude7730

      Totally agree. The pro-Halo camp never answers these questions …. what is safe enough? If they don’t want to slow the cars they are bloodthirsty SOBs that just don’t care.

      I don’t think I can live with it and so will stop following a sport I have loved for 25 years. A sport I have poured money into.

      I recommend you check out MotoGP, IOMTT, Superbikes etc. Those guys are amazing. And they still have proper grid girls to boot lol

  9. Sadly I agree that Halo’s are needed.
    But I can also see that the day will come when F1 drivers will will be remotely controlling their cars from the pits like bigger RC cars.
    But SV’s comment> “Nothing justifies death” is so strong and important.
    Above all else, if you’re going to put human beings in a machine that is going at such high speeds and G forces, don’t by shy to make it safe enough for them to drive it.

    1. That’s the big question….what is “safe enough”? It seems today that everyone needs protection from everything…no skinned knees, no hurt feelings. Pathetic. Life is not safe, we are all dead in the end. These guys get to live more than any of us will and ya they take some risk to do that. So be it.

  10. They could put some mirrors on the inside of the thing ,could help with backwards visability.

  11. All categories. No Idea why Halo was not first introduced to F2? Test ideas in lower tiers first.

  12. The single credible argument for maintaining the status quo is that I love the sport and dont want to see it go away because of stupid rules implemented by a old french guy who had his fun in F1 for years and now gets to ruin it for all of us. Thats my credible argument.

    I used to love CART back in the day but watched it get ruined by greedy Tony George and now I get to watch Todt do the same thing. Crap motors and now crap cars so I’m done going to races and I have friends that are done too. The loss of the sound and competitiveness have driven fans away in droves, next year they are going to look like abominations and am sure will keep even more away.

    You write about a bunch of accidents where no one was hurt, great point! F1 is safe enough. Its not the 70s, racing without that supid halo will not bring us there, it will keep us right where we are at, extremely safe cars where no one in F1 has been injured in a manor the halo would have helped.

    In a few years we wont have to worry about drivers dying in F1 because F1 will be dead. Trust me, this nightmare of a device is the middle of the end. 200,000,000 people have stopped watching and this will certainly add to it. You get that right? Do you think there is 1 person out there who saw the Halo and said, Oh yeah! Im going to start watchin this sport, that Halo thing is amaazzzzingggg. Nope. But many will turn off. Im going to enjoy this season and thats it, the entertainment for me is over.

    Cant wait for the incar shots. Gonna be amazing to see a thong in front of the camera. Do we get the Halo in Codemasters game too? I guess so! Looking forward to seeing that in VR!

    Good grief.

    1. This. @marksch is exactly correct.

      @RBAlonso F1 is safe enough. Your side paints anti-Halo fans as blood thirsty and wanting to go back to the 70’s. That about sums up your argument. But in the end, unless you are advocating banning motorsports, there is a safety line that YOU will not cross. Therefore we are in the same boat – we each accept other people risking their lives for our entertainment. The difference is that you are a hypocrite.

      1. @marksch.

        I don’t believe that the challenge of the sport is diminished by the halo. I don’t respect rally drivers or WEC drivers any less because they have a windshield. I can’t see why your opposition is so fierce against it. The high cockpit sidewalls have been in place for 2 decades with drivers further cocooned into the cars. Where has your outcry been every regulation set since 1996?

        The difference between our respective opinions is that I want ‘safe enough’ to cover everything that we are aware of rather than most things. You are telling the drivers what safe enough is by your definition which doesn’t include what we know to be dangerous. You can not be selective on safety. You have to cover it all. I personally feel that we have been lucky with the crashes and that this is a clear ticking time bomb. It does not make me a hypocrite to want the sport to be safe in so much that is in our control. This matter is with our control. You fear the halo because you see it as the end of the sport whereas I see it as a small aesthetic issue which improves safety and will be forgotten about after 5 races. From top shots and the stands you hardly see it anyway. I just don’t get opposition to a safety device.

        1. @rbalonso “You are telling the drivers what safe enough is by your definition which doesn’t include what we know to be dangerous. ”

          What we know to be dangerous is anything competitive with an automobile. If you are so concerned about safety at all costs then honestly, park that cars and stop racing. Thats really the only safe solution and not be hypocritical about all this. ..and why arent the wheels covered? Thats by far one of the most dangerous aspects of F1, way more serious accidents have happened because of tires touching. The stupid halo is simply a knee-jerk, under engineered device to make Todt feel better for having a crane on the track without a safety car. The same guy said “It will not be accepted by society,” to return to a V8…yets its aok for him to spend a seasons worth of fuel on his private jet going from race to race. All a bunch of hypocrites.

          Rally and WEC drivers do not have a clear, unobstructed windshield in front of them, not a stupid halo… oh and painted yellow to show they are leading the WDC. how. stupid.

        2. I’m a huge WRC fan and have great respect for WEC. An enclosed cockpit is a natural part of those series. That’s what those drivers signed up for. No problem. The Halo destroys the open cockpit F1 formula and as @marksch said is the middle of the end.

          @rbalonso answer this; When they come for the open wheel formula where will you stand?

          1. Danger is not my issue. I fully accept that it surrounds everyone’s lives all of the time.The open wheel formula is dangerous.

            However the difference between cars crashing out in a safe environment where we know we have done everything we can for the driver, or not, is too important to ignore. Injury is my concern. We have progressed to this stage in the sports development by eradicating the risks of when the cars make contact with each other. In the 60s when open wheel cars collided the cars burst into flames with inadequate safety marshals and thin aluminium cockpits. We now have strong monocoques; how many broken ankles did we get in the 1980s? We have high sidewalls to protect the neck to avoid Hakkinen Adelaide 1995 happening again. We have run off areas and Tecpro barriers to cushion the cars and give them space to slow down. Fuel is stored deep in the car: how many uncontrollable fires have we seen in the 21st century? Add to that the marshals that are close at hand.

            The open wheel formula is now as safe as we can make it other that one glaring omission: cockpit entrance.

            We had a large scale crash last weekend due to the open wheel format and no one was calling for open cockpit to be abolished. But head injuries are a different breed. Society no longer deems it acceptable to watch someone die on television, much less from a head injury. If F1 is going to be called into question it will be over an accident involving impact with a driver’s head.

            Last week in the Premier League Mane was sent off for a high foot on Ederson; Rugby and the NFL have been putting in measures to combat concussion for years and are ramping it up with substitutions in young age groups for any head injury. No one is suggesting that football and rugby are banned, simply that they do their level best to manage known issues. F1 has the opportunity with the halo but instead we end up talking as though the open cockpit is inherent to bravery and skill where we all agree that is not true. The halo guarantees open wheel racing continues. It isn’t a move to sanitise the sport anymore than run off areas or full face helmets. So why is there suddenly so much opposition?

Comments are closed.