The introduction of the 'Halo' cockpit protection device to Formula 1 for 2018 has divided opinion throughout motorsport - but what do the drivers themselves have to say on the matter?

In their own words, here's what the majority of the F1 grid had to say about Halo.

Sebastian Vettel

I can understand if people say it doesn’t belong on a Formula One car but on the other hand I think times are changing, you are moving forward and I think if you put it very clear, then it also should be very clear for everyone and there shouldn't be a doubt in your mind whether to introduce it or not. I think if you offer the system as it stands, with the power that it has to give us additional protection, offer that to Justin Wilson some time ago, I think he would take it and we would all be happy to take it to save his life. 

Now we can’t turn back the clock but I think knowing that something is there that helps us in scenarios it would be ignorant and stupid to ignore. Regarding the looks: as I said, I like Formula One cars of the past and so on, but there are also elements that I like nowadays. I mean, racing cars with wings that Formula One cars didn’t have until I think late-60s or [early] ‘70s, so now that’s part of it. There are plenty of other examples – we had V12 engines, which I would like to go back to, and we don’t have anymore. But overall, it’s supposed to help us and I think that’s what we need to remember.

Fernando Alonso

First it’s for safety, and if this device can help in many of the fatal accidents we’ve had in the last 10, 15 years as has been proved by the FIA I think if we are all happy to implement the device and we are all happy to have some of our colleagues we could go back in time and save lives we will be all happy. That is the first and only thing we should talk. Then the statics, I don’t care too much. To be honest, Formula 1 has changed a lot even from my first year in 2001 until now the cars are very different. The height of the front nose, the height of the cockpit here to protect the helmet area.

Forty, 50 years ago they didn’t have seatbelt in Formula 1! When the seatbelt was implemented it was not any debate, if they had to fit it or if Formula 1 is fun to drive with no seatbelt. It should be like that. For me there is no question. Happy to implement any head protection, extra help protection from next year if the FIA is studying and developing the Halo, and it’s the most effective way to protect the head of the drivers, it is more than welcome in my opinion. 

Max Verstappen

I don’t like it, but, of course, at the end of the day you have to respect the decision of the FIA. I think since we introduced the virtual safety car, that reduced a lot of risk when you’re speeding under the yellow flags in the race and also with the wheel tethers, they are quite strong at the moment so I don’t think you will lose a wheel very easily. 

When there are parts flying around from the car, it’s not going to protect you, so I don’t really understand why we should need it. The one I tried, I did not like the visibility and the thing in front of you. It’s not great. I don’t like it. I think as soon as I have that thing on my car, I don’t like it. So the excitement is already gone before I am sitting in the car.

Nico Hulkenberg

I’m still going to race. I won’t retire for sure. But yeah, I was never a big supporter of Halo or of additional head protection. I’m still not but it’s not my decision, it’s the FIA making the safety rules and requirements. So it is what it is, I will accept it and get on with it

Marcus Ericsson

I think it’s positive. I think like Fernando and Sebastian said safety should be prioritized. I think the FIA has done a good job to really look into it and if this is the best solution at the moment I think it’s a no-brainer to go for it for next year. If it can save someone in the future, it’s great. Also, I tested it last year and when I drove with it I didn’t really notice it all, so I think it’s a good thing that it’s not going to change anything when you drive, that you have the same feeling when you drive. Yeah, it maybe doesn’t look the prettiest but I think it’s also something we will get used to. It’s always when there are big changes in Formula One it doesn’t look so pretty at first, but then people get used and I think it will be the same thing with the Halo.

Sergio Perez

I’m in favour of it. Whatever has to do with safety, safety always comes first. I think if we had the Halo by now, the last six, seven years it will have saved at least a life. That’s worth the risk that the FIA is taking with that. I think once we implement Halo the teams will improve. I think Halo needs a lot of work by now – but I’m sure the system will be improved a lot. We have very clever engineers in Formula One and now that all the teams know that it has to be in place for next year, I believe they will improve it a lot.

Kevin Magnussen

I’m against it. I don’t think it’s what Formula One is about. I think there should be a limit or, at least, a more clever way to improve the safety. I don’t think the Halo is the right way. In general, I don’t agree that safety always is number one. I think there is a limit where it becomes too safe to be exciting. Part of the reason Formula One is popular is because of the element of danger. It’s moved on a huge amount in the last 30 years and that’s been very good – but I think it’s safe enough now that I can say it’s exciting and it’s right. It feels right to go racing.

We could always make it more safe, we could make the cars go maximum 80km/h and it would be completely safe – but it would be very boring. You can always make it safer but you will make it less exciting and that’s my problem with it. takes away some of the passion that Formula One is all about. When you look at the car it’s ugly. Formula One cars aren’t ugly, they’re not meant to be ugly. That’s the reason that a Ferrari is more exciting than a Mazda, it’s something passionate and if it looks shit, it is shit.

Stoffel Vandoorne

Yeah, I think aesthetically it’s definitely not the nicest thing we’ve put on the cars and I think a lot of people agree with that – but we’ve been pushing to improve cockpit safety, to improve head protection. I think the FIA have done a lot of investigations on what would be the best solutions, trying a couple of different solutions with the screen being tested in Silverstone as well. I think for them that was the best solution. So, yeah, I don’t think it’s a big surprised to see it in 2018 on the cars.

Carlos Sainz Jr.

A tricky question to answer. I think, like many of you, feel strange about this Halo going onto a Formula One car. I want to believe it’s a system to prevent any kind of dangerous situation and the best solution the FIA has up until now, which I think is good for them to apply the best safety device into Formula One. I think it makes sense, it has been like that in Formula One for many years now and really good for Formula One but I want to believe that either we will get used to it and we will forget about it, or it will be improved in terms of how it looks and it will get better and better with years. I hope that with these two things combined the looks of a Formula One car will improve with time.

Romain Grosjean

Personally I think it is a sad day for Formula One when it was announced. I am still against it, I still don’t think it has a place in Formula One. As a GPDA member and director, and a driver, I need to thank the FIA for all the research. The Halo is a strong device against a lot of cases. There are occasions where it can get worse which I am not particularly a fan of. There a few problems that we may have that we haven’t thought about. Seeing the starting lights on the grid, no one has tried that, they are always different. Seeing flags on the side and things like that, we need to see a bit more of it.

But again, the GPDA is not here to tell the FIA what to do and what not do on safety. We backed off on the discussions along time ago. We issued a statement saying thank you for the research, thank you for taking the safety up in Formula One. We are not supporting particularly the Halo we are supporting the fact that the FIA are trying to make the cars safer. 

Jolyon Palmer

I think it’s a very sad day. I think it’s a mistake. I think there’s no coming back from it, sadly, so this will be the end to Formula One as we know it with open cockpit. I think it’s an overreaction to problem in other series. Since 1994 there’s been one fatality in Formula One, which is tragic. The Halo would not stop it. So the Halo would have saved no death in F1 in 23 years but because of IndyCar incident, Formula 2 incident, where they have different tracks, different safety measures, we are introducing something to Formula One which changes the whole tradition and history to it. I think it’s the wrong move.

Daniel Ricciardo

I was in favour of head protection for sure. Time has passed since 2014 when there was Jules’ and 2015 Wilson’s accident. So it is easy for people to not forget but it is not fresh in their memories so they are like nothing has happened so we don’t need it. I am still in favor of some head protection. The halo itself, there was mixed opinions if that was the way to go. So they pulled the trigger on it, so we will see.

I expect us to talk a little bit more about it tomorrow in the drivers meeting. It seemed like they did it… we thought that there was going to be other solutions maybe, but I guess they feel that this is the best. So we will see. I don’t want to make too much judgment call on it now, but for sure from what I have seem from some fans, they are not too for it at the moment. But we have to figure out what the reasons are. If they are not for it for aesthetics, or if they think we are less brave than we should be, that is what we have to understand.

Valtteri Bottas

I think with all the different systems being tested, this was found to be the most effective at this point. Who knows how temporary it is going to be because maybe there will be another better solution in the future. Personally, I don't like how it looks, I like how the cars look now, but for sure it's an improvement in safety. One negative I think is the weight. It's going to add weight to the car and the last few years the cars have been getting heavier and heavier and then it's killing cornering speeds.

Lewis Hamilton

I think there has been talk about it for some time, we knew it was coming, it was difficult because when they told us about it they mentioned there was a 17 per cent improvement in our safety and it is difficult to ignore that. It definitely doesn’t look good we have said that and we know that. From the driver’s side it doesn’t look great and the weight of the cars go up, the cars are already way too heavy we have little brakes trying to stop this heavy car and I hope they do a better job to bring the weight down so when they put this thing on it won't make it heavier and harder to stop.

We have all tested it they should put it on for a couple of P1s on every single car and see how it goes. I don't think that is going to change their opinion but I think we are moving towards a closed cockpit. They look better there are some great concepts online of a closed cockpit. The things that have happened with drivers being hit on the head, it is kind of crazy that today we are still vulnerable. Our head is the most precious part of out body, it is exposed so what we do about it… I definitely don’t argue against it.

Esteban Ocon

All the drivers were in favour of a solution to bring more safety. In that aspect we can't complain that we now have something for more safety. For sure it's not the most asthetic ones and it's not a fantastic solution but it was the best that the FIA had and we're happy that the FIA works to help safety. But for sure if there is a better solution if there is as much safety.

The Shield concept brings a lot less safety. It doesn't last if you get a wheel in the face, for example, and the Halo does. The Halo takes off a lot of the risk of taking something in the face. The Shield was made of glass. So [Halo] is the best solution the FIA has at the moment. It's there, so it's good.



Loading Comments...