Hamilton on F1’s final race before Halo: “It’s the last year where the cars will look good”

2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says the years of Formula One cars looking good are about to come to an end as F1 prepares to introduce the Halo for the 2018 F1 season.

“It’s the last year where the cars will look good,” said Hamilton in today’s FIA press conference when asked for his views on the impending arrival of Halo.

Is Halo as popular among the drivers as the FIA claims?
“I think from next year, it’s all downhill from then in terms of how it looks. Safety will go up at least.”

Hamilton joked about the appearance of the Halo, saying he will “maybe start a new flip-flip brand next year and be successful in some way.”

Sebastian Vettel, who has been a strong advocate of the new head protection device, accepted the Halo looks unattractive. But he believes the aesthetics will be improved.

“I think the cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different. But on the other hand I think it’s something we will all get used to.”

“It’s no doubt the cars look better the way they are now but I’m sure that we’ll get used to it. We’ll work on the aesthetics so that it will look fine. In the end it’s probably less of a big deal.”

Halo is being introduced to give drivers greater protection in crashes involving large pieces of debris, such as wheels, other cars and solid objects such as walls. It has proved divisive among the drivers and prompted widespread criticism over its appearance and questions over whether it is needed.

It will be used in F1 from 2018. Formula Two’s new car for next season will also feature a Halo and it is also being introduced in other junior categories such as the new American Formula Three championship.

2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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

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    47 comments on “Hamilton on F1’s final race before Halo: “It’s the last year where the cars will look good””

    1. RIP COCKPIT CAM F1 2018. I suck with t-cam at f1 games lol.

      1. @krichelle, maybe there will be a halo-mounted cam in the future.

        1. @krichelle @paulk If they’re able to do this it’d be great, especially to have a rear-facing one pointing at the driver. Making virtue out of necessity.

          It’s obviously a mandated part so you’d think it’d be possible. I wonder if the cabling for it might be a problem, though. Especially as they’re obviously going to want to make the struts as slim as possible to minimise its unappealing appearance.

          1. Would they need cables, or can they be remote?

            1. @robbie

              Would they need cables

              Yes. All the in-car cameras are wired to a battery, transmitter & now the cars data recorder for local recording.

              @keithcollantine I’m not sure you will be seeing cameras on the Halo as there are regulations they need to follow & one of them is that they can’t place cameras in locations where it could easily strike or distract the driver should it become loose and/or fall off.

              Teams do actually still have to have cars ready to accept cameras in the mirrors & on top of the chassis but the reasons you don’t see them anymore is that the FIA safety camera has taken up the spot on top of the chassis & the teams tyre sensors have taken up the spots in the mirrors. On top of that the new HD in-car units introduced last year are larger so getting teams to accommodate them into the mirrors alongside there own equipment isn’t as easy & they can’t go back to the older smaller/SD units because there incompatible with the new HD transmission equipment.

          2. I guess that the main argument against is that you would need hole into the structure which means deteriorate the structural properties… But if you choose the place well, it should not make much of an impact (quite appropriate for such device)

          3. Camera in the middle of the thong allows a driver eye level view but in the centre of the car. It would have the merits of the t cam and side cam all together without the bad sides ( t cam to high and side cam off centre). Every cloud has a silver lining.

      2. @krichelle I will still keep using the cockpit cam view in F1 2018, though, as well as in all the games released so far.

      3. I’ve tried the Formula Ultimate (a 2017 styled fictional car) in Automobilista and it features an option to put up a halo. I dunno if it’s due to the limitations of the game but I tested it on the Red Bull Ring and Spa and it just took me some laps to get used to it. However, spatial awareness while racing may suffer a bit.

        My concern however, is and will continue to be escape times and deflection of small debris.

    2. I’m not entirely sure why I feel so strongly about this but Abu Dhabi will be the last F1 race I watch. I’m in my mid fifties and the Halo is the final straw in neutering a sport I used to love. I still ride motorbikes and even at my grand old age I have the occasional silly half hour where adrenalin takes over and I throw caution to the wind. I’ve lost a good number of friends over the years from biking but have come to accept that it’s a dangerous hobby…End of. F1 should be the same. That’s part of the attraction. I don’t wan’t to see anyone get hurt but the Halo takes things a step too far in the wrong direction. As Martin Brundle is fond of saying – “Motor Racing is dangerous…It says so on the ticket”. F1 won’t miss me but I’ll miss F1. For me, F1 dies with the Halo. Perhaps they’ll change the ticket to read “Motor Racing used to be dangerous but now it’s a media circus artificially manufactured to make money and keep everyone as safe as possible”

      Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

      1. That’s fair comment and really nothing to be argued against in the sense that you aren’t even sure why you feel this way….it’s just the way you feel. I’m not sure why I seem to defend the halo so much other than I think I just defend F1 when some say it’s knee-jerk and there’s better solutions, yet they can’t come up with better solutions themselves that can’t be quite quickly shot down. I think F1 has done their homework on this when all things are considered.

        I just wonder…you haven’t mentioned the aesthetics at all but seem to be more about that F1 is already safe enough and there needs to be an element of danger to make the series enthralling. I agree with that too. But F1 is already so much safer than so many things like walking across the street, motor biking, skiing etc etc. My only question to you in my small lighthearted way of seeing if I can get you to keep watching F1 is…wasn’t F1 made safe enough long ago such that you should have abandoned it already? JV thought it was safe enough back in 97 and got hauled up on the FIA carpet for calling the pending grooved tires, meant to slow cornering speeds, a joke. The cars have been arguably safe enough since 97.

        Just making conversation. You did say you’re not sure why you feel this way and that the halo is the final straw.

        1. I think it’s a combination of different things. You’re absolutely right in that the cars have been made radically safer since the unfortunate death of Senna – and no-one can argue against the sensibilities of that but the difference is – and something you touched upon already and I hadn’t realised how much I object to it, was that the overall look of the car remained the same and did not impact upon the aesthetics. Maybe I used to fool myself that F1 was still the highly dangerous sport it once was but with sensible additions such as the safety cell which is all but invisible to the viewer and that I could accept but now the Halo… Regardless of the aesthetics this is not the salient point. It is the fact that it’s so visible and so goes against the core of F1 – that of an open cockpit, I just find it impossible to accept. I welcomed the fatter tyres, the higher cornering speeds and the general direction F1 seemed to be going and even accepted the artificial overtaking given by DRS but don’t you think the Halo has nothing to do with the sometimes laughable attempts to increase entertainment and is still a knee jerk from the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of JB?
          What I’m about to say is possibly upsetting to some but, like the mates I’ve lost over the years, I accept as part of the dangerous hobby I love – as did they before they met their untimely deaths. It’s part of it and you can’t escape it. The Halo for me is a step too far in the direction of safety and detracts (for me), from the spectacle of this once most dangerous of sports. I must repeat, that I do not want to see anyone hurt but the element of danger – high danger, has to remain. The Halo removes this.

      2. I completely understand why you feel that way, even if you don’t. It’s called principle.

      3. +1

        This sums up my feelings almost word for word. It fills me with huge sorrow that the sport that has been my passion and obsession since I was a young child is going to be effectively over.

        Suppose I’ll have to take my early-20s target audience viewership to a sport that isn’t a joke.

      4. Totaly agree. Just not enthusiastic about F1 anymore because of this. I’m angry actually….

        I ride a bike too and I often think about the risks I am voluntarily taking for free VS our F1 “heroes”. Doesn’t add up for me.

        I assume you watch MotoGP, WSBK etc? Great action … watching those guys perform in the face of real danger and their own fear is the heart of Motorsports.


        1. Yes, I do indeed watch all of those and I’m still scared with my heart in my mouth when I see those guys doing crazy speeds in wet conditions on 2 wheels. Conditions they wouldn’t even let F1 cars practice in todays world which is laughable. I’m so sad to be leaving F1 but it’s not the sport it once was and the Halo is the final straw.

          1. Hey, fair comment all around. I absolutely agree there needs to be some element of danger to F1, even if as you say that sounds ‘upsetting.’ It shouldn’t be upsetting, because people should be well aware by now of the number of extreme sports that have cropped up in the last few decades. People even just recreationally are taking far greater risks every day than F1 drivers do. We know that just the one sport alone of downhill skiing recreationally is far more dangerous. Driving your domestic car to and from work is more risky.

            Just one thing I would add though to something you said. I don’t think it was just the unfortunate JB death that spurred this on. It was the actual hitting on the head by someone else’s large debris that killed Justin Wilson in Indycar ie. there is recent presidence for an incident where the halo would have actually saved a life.

            For me the halo doesn’t change the fact that for years the F1 drivers have really had very very little to worry about particularly compared to the pre-Jackie Stewart safety initiatives days when those guys had to have balls of steel and the complete denial of ‘it won’t happen to me.’

      5. see you back here for Melbourne 2018 Mike :)

        We can all go on about the look and sound of the cars for the rest of infinity then.

      6. F1 dies with the Halo.
        That’s a bit of a stretch doesn’t it …
        So much drama from people for three poles on the cars, seriously.

    3. I’m giving it 4 Grand Prix. Still better than the godawful countdown qualy.

    4. It has been many years since F1 cars looked good, the halo changes nothing in this respect.

      1. Hamilton knows nothing, he has driven some of the worst looking cars ever in the history of F1.

        1. At least they didn’t look like a pair of flip flops

          1. they looked like genitalia, which is worse
            not to mention the step nose, the 2008 lego, and pretty much everything from 2009 up until 2017 looked bad, certainly worse than a 2018 halo car

    5. I can live with the Halo as long as it won’t have any impact on either lap times or the quality of racing. Obviously, I’d rather keep things the way they are, but I’ve already gotten used to seeing it on the cars, so I won’t mind too much as long as the two things mentioned above won’t be affected. Hopefully, in the long-term, they’d resort to either the Shield or the Aeroscreen as they look more fitting on the cars.

      1. I do wonder if a shield or aeroscreen would be just as non-F1 to those who are against the halo. I know there is a lot of sentiment that the halo is knee-jerk and that more time needed be spent on other solutions, but I don’t buy that. It seems to me, even from my armchair, that any kind of screen or windshield substantial enough to do what the halo is meant to, would drastically change the aerodynamics of the car and therefore would require huge money spent.

        There are issues of distortion of view and of keeping a screen clean, and no doubt aesthetics to many, but I would think the main thing would be they would be changing how air gets (or doesn’t) into the airbox, and how it behaves around the whole rear of the car. Not nearly as easy as using a ‘see-through’ devise like a halo whose negative aero effect seems minimal to me, and is likely one of the big reasons it is the solution they’ve decided on, and relatively inexpensive to implement.

        I’d be fine with them doing nothing too, but I just don’t buy this better alternative argument, nor the political argument, nor the knee-jerk argument.

      2. Unfortunately for me I won’t get used to it. Over the last few years, every time I see an IndyCar my first thought is “damn, those cars are ugly”. Imagine trying to watch a race when every full car view brings the same response. I’m not saying the halo will be an affront to the eyes as the IndyCars are, nor will the halo prevent me from watching but I do think in my case, it may reduce my enjoyment a little.

      3. Williams already complained about the required impact resistance, the Halo needs to be relatively heavy in order to pass the test. This heavy bulky construction will be mounted high on the car which will reduce the cornering speed because the center of gravity goes up. Aerodynamically it will also not help because the airflow around the car into the rear wing will be disturbed making it less effective. I think its pretty save to say the performance will be impacted negatively..

        1. I don’t think we will notice the marginally higher center of gravity nor any marginal decrease in cornering speeds, and with their abilities they will no doubt quite easily make up for those issues aerodynamically, and the tires can stand to be way better too. Sure adding a halo to a car not designed to have it on there is going to show a more negative effect than a car actually designed knowing a halo will be on it.

          1. @robbie I think the issue the teams are having is that the rules require the halo to withstand certain loads and they are finding it difficult to do given where the halo will be mounted.

            “It’s a big project to put that in the car,” he said. “We’re still working on it, and the integration is quite difficult. There are very high loads to accommodate, so I think the bigger impact is structural rather than aerodynamic.”


            1. @velocityboy Yeah that’s understandable. At least the aero effect of it is minimal, and I would think a complete redesign of the shape of the car from the cockpit back would be far more difficult and expensive. Actually, check that…if they had to redesign the rear area, for example to deal with a windscreen, they’d have to do the front too, since everything goes hand in hand.

    6. The halo is going to save me a heck of a lot of money. I will no longer be buying anymore 2018 and onward F1 models :tearful/laugh:

    7. I do find it ironic how they’re removing shark fins and T-Wings partly because of how they look, even though they improve the cars (personally I like the shark fins, but not the T-Wings so much), but then are adding this abomination to the cars. Yeah I know, safety, yadayadayada, but still. This is the FIA’s own fault though, as soon as they went public with the idea for the Halo’s, they had to implement it, because if they didn’t and there was a freak accident, they would be considered indirectly culpable, even if it was just a 20% chance that the halo would stop it.

      1. @hugh11 There not getting rid of the shark fins now because some of the teams don’t want to lose the extra bit of sponsor space.

        Think the T-wings are still going though.

        This is the FIA’s own fault though, as soon as they went public with the idea for the Halo’s, they had to implement it

        Thing is that they had to go public with it in order to track test it with as many cars & drivers as possible.

        Also Mercedes were the 1st to release images of the Halo because the Halo was a concept I believe they put forward.

    8. “It’s the last year where the cars will look good,”

      A comment i’ve heard a dozen times over the years.

      Every big change thats affected the look of the cars in any way (Higher cockpit sides, Narrow cars, Raised front wings, 2009 changes, 2014 changes, 2017 changes & now the Halo) people have gon eon about how its the end of F1 & the end of ‘proper looking cars’ yet in the end nothing really changes in terms of the on-track product so people still watch & I guarantee that mos of those complaining about the Halo will still watch despite them saying otherwise.

      1. I think so too. I think they won’t look as bad once we see them integrated, and we’ll get used to them, but mainly they won’t change the racing, and if they can get that better ie. closer, I think the halo will take a back seat in the overall scheme of things.

    9. +1, perfectly stated as are most of the replies.

      I too am angry. Really really angry which takes a hell of a lot for me to be. My passion, my above all else sport is gone, destroyed by Jean “the hypocrite” Todt.

      I’m 46 and have watched every race, and almost every qually and practice session since I was around 20. From 2005-2014 I went to at least one race somewhere in the world each and every year. In 2014 when the sound went away I decided to vote with my wallet and stopped attending races. In 2016 work took me to Barcelona during a race weekend so of course I went and was treated to Max’s first victory but the sound… Wow! Just as bad live as I feared. Vacuum cleaners is all I could think of.

      I still watched every race this season until the announcement that halo is on, against the will of every team except Ferrari. And that was it. I havent watch a race since. I still go to this site but not every day like I was, once a week maybe, im slightly interested in the results but my passion is completely gone. I’m angry and sad. F1 is no more.

      Im most angry at Jean Todt and his crap claims that “Society wouldnt accept non-hybrids” or that “That is why we need responsible people leading the sport” in regards to Halo. What a bunch of *$&@()*@. How much fuel does your private jet burn Jean? I bet a 20x the amount of fuel these stupid “power units” have saved since their introduction. And the arrogance that you are somehow responsible??? Martin Brundle called out a minute or two before Jules left the track that he didnt like where the crane was positioned on a live circuit. He said it was the exact same position where he hit a marshal, breaking his leg a dozen years early. If you are so Fing responsible Jean then how did you let the same accident happen TWICE??? Then you and your high and mighty FIA cronies had to gall to blame Jules!?!? No dude, its all on you. Shameful.

      Whatever, I’ll watch Abu Dhabi to say farewell and that will be that. Gutted but i’ve had enough. F1 is for gladiators, not patsies with a halo around them.

      Jean Todt I truly hate you.

      1. I fully agree with you.

      2. +1 Totally agree! The FIA is a disgusting loathsome joke and so is Todt. Need to move the FIA to somewhere were people still have balls. Please universe please don’t let the FIM got his way!

      3. …. also I’m so disappointed by the drivers…most of them anyways…who has spoken against this? MV, Grosjean, KMAG. That’s it. Gutted.

      4. “I went to at least one race somewhere in the world each and every year. In 2014 when the sound went away I decided to vote with my wallet and stopped attending races.”

        I went to the Silverstone race last year and you could hear the cars from the car park. Not sure how much louder than that people need it to be, but for me personally I think Formula Thunder 5000 loud, will distract from being entertained by the racecraft on show. Sometimes senses can be overloaded and in the past too much of attending an F1 race hung on the noise, perhaps you found once the ‘loudness’ had gone there wasn’t anything left for you?

        At track-side I found new noises revealed by the new F1 cars quite fascinating, especially the sound of the air going through the spoilers when the drivers lift off. The squeeling tyres seemed weird but fascinating al the same.

    10. I think over time the device will become more aesthetically pleasing. On the plus side I doubt they will replace it with anything uglier. Some of the best engineers and designers in the world work in F1. Eventually I’m sure somebody will come up with a more elegant solution as ideas, materials and knowledge evolve.

      As much as I dislike it I think that when we see something so ugly save a drivers life it will become beautiful in its own way.

    11. How soon until the Halo shows up on the feeder series??

    12. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      23rd November 2017, 20:02

      Without raking up the whole thing again, although I understand and appreciate why this is happening, I almost accept this is happening, but what I cannot deny is the fact I am gutted every time I see the halo. A little bit of ‘my’ F1 has died. But it’s coming and I’ll be looking forward to the new season as always. Viewing figures will suffer though, they have to, opinion is divided on this like nothing else I’ve known in F1 before.

      1. Opinion and viewing figures will always seem to be in decline until the cars/rules can produce close exciting races. Noisy beautiful cars have been masking the faults with F1 for as long as I remember.
        Just imagine for a moment if the drivers were all anonymous. What keeps a lot of fans hooked it is the hope that their driver will luck the dominant car. Who outside Lewis Hamilton fans would have really enjoyed this season? Will MAx verstappen fans care about Halo next year if he gets the dominant car?
        Imagine watching Tennis were all but 2 players were struggling with their shoes and racquets in every tournament.

    13. Well he’s not wrong is he? A pity. Our ancestors were heroes.

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