In a rare form of realistic pragmatism, the Formula Strategy Group has decided not to move forward with the proposed “Halo” solution for next year’s cars.
Cockpit protection in open-wheel racing has been a hot topic this year after the deaths of Jules Bianchi and Justin Wilson, not to mention the head injuries sustained by Felipe Massa in Hungary in 2009 and James Hinchcliffe’s concussion at Indianapolis in 2014. Although it doesn’t seem like open-wheel racing without a lid on the driver’s cockpits, many have maintained that now is the time for the sport to evolve.
The driver reaction has appeared mixed. Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean fears for the legacy of the sport
“It’s a dangerous sport,” Grosjean said, “but it’s very safe in the circumstances where sometimes we can do (229 mph) on a street circuit and mostly walk away from accidents. As drivers we certainly do not want safety to stop improving, but we also cannot delete the DNA of Formula 1.” – Romain Grosjean
Others, such as Ferrari’s Sebastion Vettel” welcome the change regardless of the effect of the asthetic.
“We don’t like the looks of it but I don’t think there’s anything really that justifies death.” – Sebastian Vettel
In any case, head protection appears to be an inevitability. As much as we love the legacy, the pedigree and the history of this sport we also have a strong allegiance to its drivers.
“While the Halo is currently the preferred option, as it provides the broadest solution to date, the consensus among the Strategy Group was that another year of development could result in an even more complete solution.” – FIA
We’ll look to 2018 for the answer. But in the meantime, we’re stuck with the insane ugliness of the halo device.