Former FIA deputy race director Herbie Blash fears certain sections of Formula 1 might not appreciate how hard the governing body continues to push to improve safety standards, as the introduction of the Halo cockpit protector for 2018 splits opinion.

During his time working as F1’s deputy race director, Blash was a key figure in helping the FIA step up safety measures having worked through eras in the 1960s and 1970s when death and serious injuries were a common occurrence in the sport.

Having overseen F1’s relatively impressive safety record in the past two decades Blash feels the FIA can’t slow in its effort to continue to improve safety standards. He feels a key example of it in 2017 was the technical directive sent out to adjust the rear jack point on all F1 cars after Billy Monger’s horrific Formula 4 accident at Donington Park.

Monger had both lower legs amputated after a collision with the rear of a stationary F4 car during a race at Donington Park. FIA safety director Laurent Mekies, Blash’s replacement since he stepped down as deputy race director at the end of 2016, sent a directive to all F1 teams to alter their rear jack points which alluded to the jacking point of the car Monger hit may have been a key factor in the severity of his accident.

Blash says the FIA is continually investigating and analysing causes behind crashes throughout its motorsport series, which has also played a vital role in the introduction of the Halo safety device set for F1 in 2018.

Speaking before the Halo announcement, Blash believes the FIA’s continual push for improved safety standards is perhaps an area critics don’t understand the severity of.

“When we were working after the Senna accident, Max Mosely got a safety research group together of which I was part of and when I see how hard the FIA work on safety with the tracks, the kerbs, the run-off areas and the cars in particular, every year the cars are made safer,” Blash said.

“Even the finer details like when the rear jack position was changed by the Monaco Grand Prix because of what happened at Donington Park with Billy Monger. That is what a lot of people don’t comprehend how hard they work on safety.”

Last month, the FIA released a statement detailing ‘why the Halo is the best solution’ to cockpit protection and explained its ongoing research which began a number of years ago after a series of accidents.



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