115 thoughts on “Lewis’s view…

  1. If looks un-F1 IF and I reiterate IF it is deemed to have protection like this, do the full on fighter jet cover. Those things look cool as and would make F1 look different and more futuristic.
    That being said the full on covers would prolly as you have said be problematic in other ways.

  2. I know you don’t want comments on the previous post but I feel I’d be failing in my humanity if I didn’t let you know you have my support, for as little as that is worth. Maybe you weren’t angry but it made me angry. You don’t need to post this comment.

      1. I too recall reading about this attack, though it wasn’t until reading your father’s obit that I made the connection between you and this event.

        As your family experienced, the world is full of people capable of immense cruelty. It’s also full of people capable of immense love, compassion and forgiveness, your father being one such person.

        The Internet gives voice to all and, as such, we invite onto our screens the complete range of human behaviours. I think you should have left comments on your post open, if only to permit us to demonstrate the unacceptability of the offending post to reasonable people everywhere.

        You can’t stop people saying, writing or doing horrible things. All you can do is stand against them, en masse, and say, ‘You’re wrong’. They may get it, they may not. But you have to try.

        1. Hear, hear. Anthony Burgess wrote A Clockwork Orange to make sense of what happened to his wife. I was glad to find out your sister did the same.

          The older I become, the more reslience is the quality I most admire in people.

      2. Amazing way to act in the face of such an awful action. Quite honestly, I get more out of this blog than watching the sport these days. Please keep it up and ignore the sickos.

      3. +1

        Thanks for posting your feelings, which echo my own. I know Joe said he didn’t want comments, but I couldn’t help wanting to express my feelings and support, which Phil did well and succinctly.

        The internet can be a great thing. Unfortunately, some people take it as license to say some of the most vile things that they would never say in a face to face conversation. It truly is disgusting how shitty some people can be when they think they’re anonymous.

      4. Wow, here here, cannot believe such people continue to exist.
        Joe, I was not aware of the history but it made me look at the incredible work Jill has achieved you must be very proud and rightly so. My admiration is hopefully the opposite effect that he who posted originally would have expected. Message to him, “back fired big time tosser.
        Keep up the good work both of you.

    1. Hi Jo,

      i remember the event very well. It was shocking at the time and is still shocking now. I felt for you and your family at the time and I was saddened to hear of your father’s death. This comment that you have made public is the downside of the internet, the price we pay for free speech. I hope, but I doubt, that the person who wrote it feels very, very ashamed of his comments and is strong enough to make a full and public apology.

      Thanks for all your work and keep up the good work.

      Kind regards,


      1. Hello Joe, I, like Derek Griffin, remember that horrible crime and had made the connection with you some 10 years back….which is a long time after the events. I think your sister, whom i have seen on tv and heard on radio, many times over the years, is a remarkable human being, and has done a lot of valuable work from the horrors that placed her on that path. From what i’ve seen and heard, in the media, and from following your motorsport adventures over 30 years, i think you have a great family Joe, and that you are a singularly thoughtful and good human being.
        What i think of the thing, male ( or possibly female? ) that wrote the comment you received, it completely unprintable. I fail to understand such a mind in anyway…..but as has been said the internet, whilst a great invention, also harbours some of the most vile and disgusting elements of lifeforms that can be imagined.
        I also have no time for anonymity i’m afraid. I use social media, and use my name, it’s my name and i’m not afraid who knows it!!
        As to the Halo….i agree with Lewis Hamilton, and i don’t think it’ll save any lives, whilst possibly being a hindrance to safety in some accidents.
        Motorsport is dangerous, all of us know that. I don’t want to see anyone, driver, marshal, official, spectator die….but the moment we are born, we start to die…it isn’t logical to hide from the fact that life sometimes is over quicker for some than for others….and it is in how we live our lives that we are defined and remembered, not really in how long that life was, or how it ended….as Colin McRae so succinctly put it…” we’re here for a good time, not a long time! “.
        All best wishes to you and your family, and if you can’t find and do something about the pervert, then just try and totally forget it.

    2. +1 Phil.
      As well as making me angry it also made me cry.
      I hate anonymity and pseudonyms, it’s like wearing a balaclava during a conversation.
      In general I believe that if you aren’t prepared to stand or die by your own words you don’t deserve to voice an opinion. I realise that thinking like this puts me in the minority.

      Thank you for sharing with us Joe – I am sorry for the bs you receive, you and your family deserve better.

      1. Agreed completely Adam, internet anonymity is the refuge of the coward. The contrast between the cowardice of ‘Perp’ and the inspiring courage of Jill Saward says it all.

      2. Dear Joe, all
        Adam, as is often the case, I agree with you wholeheartedly.
        Joe, I was another who learned of your family’s tragedy when searching to clarify initial entries about your father’s passing (given that it was not publicised in Australian media). It is patently obvious to me that a woman who can, from her own trauma, draw the strength, compassion and empathy to help others likewise traumatised, possesses an amazing depth of soul. Likewise, your response to this vicious sadistic comment says a similar thing about you, Joe. You are at the opposite end of the spectrum of Homo Sapiens to the effluent who wrote that post.
        I spent 30 years working in Mental Health, and, with the predominantly sad, haunted people who suffer mental illness, and, have to say that, from time to time, I would encounter someone who was just bloody evil, (and, NOT mentally ill). Their life’s purpose is not to clean up their own psyche, so much as to infect the psyches of others.
        I note your response, and, have to say that you are a better man than I, for, being powerless to do anything else, tonight I will pray fervently that there IS a hell, and, that it has a spot reserved for this piece of filth.
        With deepest respect to you, and your family.

    3. Im really not Joe’s greatest fan, but reading what happened, and that comment, Im pretty sickened. No one deserves any of that.

      1. Agreed, he needs the ability to push a button which would electrocute these useless idiots the next time they attempt their keyboard heroics. They are very brave while anonymous, without anonymity they scarper like the rats they’ve demonstrated they are and likely will always be, human vermin.

        The only reaction this idiot garnered was amazement that someone has that little going for themselves, what a sad and pointless existence.

    4. Appalled by this, my heart goes out to you and your family. You and your sister are good, classy people. And the scum who wrote this ……….. they’re not worth a second thought.

      Also seen the “handbags” with (or should I say from) Formula Money. From the little I’ve seen, his journalism stinks. But I was shocked by his obsession with you on his Twitter. He seems obsessed to an unhealthy degree. It comes over as both unprofessional and mentally unstable. I do hope the timing of the “one-way spat” and the thoroughly unpleasant post you received proves to be no more than an unhappy co-incidence.

      Anyway, all the best Joe and thanks for the pleasure you bring us all through the blog and GP+. Continue to be classy and rise above it all.

      1. David> I was shocked by his obsession with you on his Twitter. He seems obsessed to an unhealthy degree. It comes over as both unprofessional and mentally unstable.

        I quite agree. I’d never been to his Twitter page before and I too was shocked. Scary biscuits, as an ex- of mine would have said.

        As for Joe, everyone’s already said everything I could hope to say. Huge respect.

    5. I also would like to express my disgust at that comment, and applaud your sister’s and your courage in dealing with the situation, now and then .

      I’ve been less than a perfect gentleman on the interwebs at times, to say the least, recieved some abuse as well, but such a comment is beyond anything I’ve ever seen in its mindless viciousness .

  3. Joe, doe you perhaps know the reason why a full canopy is deemed safe enough for WEC drivers but is not safe enough for F1 drivers?

    I know the FIA has reservations about the full canopy because of the possibility of the stuff that bounces of the canopy, like for instance a tyre, can fly in the direction of the fans who are standing beside the track. If that is the argument then why is a full canopy not allowed for F1 based on that argument while it is safe enough for WEC races? As far as I know the 24hr Le Mans gets far more visitors in that one weekend than any single F1 race has in a GP weekend.

    1. Rob
      AFAIK the closed cockpit in WEC is not mandatory, cars can be open or closed. It’s a design issue not a safety issue.
      If that is no longer the case it must have changed recently.

      1. Thanks for your 2 cents.

        As far as I know when the WEC was (re)created in 2014 one of the rules was that the canopy/full covered cockpit was made mandatory because of safety reasons. I believe that from this season onwards even the LMP2 cars are forced to have a full covered cockpit. Only LMP3 cars do not have it.

        Because the WEC has made the full covered cockpits mandatory because of safety reasons I have difficulty understanding the FIA’s arguments about why a canopy is dangerous for F1 cars. Unfortunately I haven’t heard a decent explanation yet as to why the FIA uses two different safety standards when it comes to F1 and WEC.

        1. Er — maybe because they are two very different formulae. If the canopy was mandated solely for safety in WEC, what about the open wheels in F1? Potentially very dangerous; after all a car could ride over another if the wheels touched – oh, that has happened; why do the powers that be not ban open wheels? Much better to have fully enclosed cars with flat bottoms that may do a back somersault on the Mulsanne Straight! The rule makers often use the safety factor to implement a rule made for other reasons that would otherwise have to wait for formal ratification over a longer period. We do not want to expose drivers to unreasonable risk, but open wheel, open cockpit vehicles are what Formula cars are, change that drastically and we may as well have a single formula based solely on the safety of the participants.

          1. Don’t forget motorcycles – full wheel covers, a fully enclosed driver safety shell and stabiliser wheels to prevent falling over !!!

            It’s not like the old days …

        2. Think LMP3 are also mandated as closed cars. I think LMP2 cars have “grandfather rights” and CN still allows open tops.

          LMP3 mandates a steel roll cage, compared to the carbon structure on an LMP2.

          FWIW I am not convinced either way as yet about the “Halo”.

          Aesthetic arguments are flimsy where safety is concerned. Equally the “Motor racing is/should be dangerous” argument has been trotted out since before the days of JYS.

          Having said that, there is an acceptable level of risk in all activities and it’s a question of proportionality. The safest F1 cars would be static show cars. (I am told it’s even feasible to sustain injuries crashing in a F1 team simulator).

          I’m not as yet convinced that the “Halo” is the most effective solution, but just because it won’t avoid all the accidents doesn’t mean that it won’t be useful in mitigating at least some.

          On the other hand the visibility looks a bit dodgy, but the drivers will have the best knowledge of that.

          I think there are clear differences between an LMP (Screen and very small doors) and an F1 with a canopy. Inverted situations, demisting and windscreen wipers might all pose problems (albeit not insuperable). I don’t think a thin full canopy without forward hoop supports would offer enough ballistic protection.

          Perhaps Google “Oldsmobile Aerotech” or “ARVW” for some old ideas of what an F1 with a full canopy might look like?

          (On the subject of Joe’s less than charming correspondent, I can only offer sympathy to Joe and his family and shake my head in bewilderment at the mentality of the “Trolls” of this world).

        3. Don’t forget that WEC cars have doors so the drivers don’t have to get out of the car through the “canopy.”

          1. May I just also add that however wonderful we think this blog is and the insight you provide to the world of F1, your sister is one of the heros of humanity. (I don’t know her personally but have been aware of her work and her relation to you for many years – thus far it’s thankfully not been relevant to this blog in the nicest sense)

            People throw stuff around on the Internet in a exchange but that lack of respect astounds me.

            Back on topic I actually don’t think it’s AS bad as the original halo but it’s still not the prettiest thing I’ve seen that’s for sure!! I’m also in the camp of open cockpit racing should be open or we should give up entirely and race tin tops. Call a spade a spade and all that.

  4. Its not pretty but is not quite as ugly as the Phallic nose or the duckbilled nose, If its gonna save even a single life then why not?

  5. Never mind Lewis’s view, what about Kimi’s when he’s at the bottom of Eau Rouge and wants to look uphill. Plus it reminds me of the backside of people whose trousers waists are lower than their knickers!

    1. I guess we’ll just have to nickname it the “whale tail”. hehe

      (Hopefully, it never comes to pass.)

  6. With regard to the question of the Hoop, may I refer the right honourable members to the answer I gave earlier. (Senna on YouTube talking about risks).

  7. Am just glad MotoGP hasn’t followed this trend otherwise we’d be looking at pumped up versions of the BMW C1 scooter (the ones with roofs!)…motoGP it ain’t and likewise for F1 with regards to these ‘halos’..

  8. Joe, that is awful, both the attack thirty years ago and the mindless comment, yesterday.
    I too have learnt a lot about humanity this week. Have returned from a trip to Berlin this week, on Tuesday we visited the Sacsenhausen concentration camp, learning of the nazis in-human treatment of their captives and general behaviour really puts life into sharp perspective.

    Let’s get back to the world of F1 🙂

      1. Your family is not alone in having suffered vile crimes, Joe. That a creature has taunted you today has shot my mind to a place many decades ago.

  9. Dear Joe,
    I know you had stipulated you did not wish comments on your previous article but in the present age people think the Internet relieves them of any social responsibility.
    I am sure your are aware that UK law considers threatening behaviour, inappropriate comments delivered on the Internet a criminal offence. These people need to be made aware of this and told that the missive and their details will be passed on to the police. Keep posting.

    Kindest Regards.

  10. Not sure what Lewis’ view on it is, but I do stand shoulder to shoulder with Joe Saward. That’s my view.

  11. Surely having a central post in close proximity to the middle of your eye line, would have a minute effect on your eyes focusing as the drivers main focus is into the distance and moving from right to left.i would like to hear the opinion of an Ophthalmologist.

  12. Hi Joe

    I very much enjoy your blog and insight. I’m also very pleased that you don’t allow the occasional bad egg ruin it for the rest of us.

    It’s a shame that, to make progress you sometimes have to step in something foul along the way. I hope that it remains worth it for you to share your passion with the rest of us.

    Have a great weekend.


  13. Hi Joe, I know you didn’t want comments about the last post but I just wanted to say that I’m sorry you have to deal with such hatred on what is supposed to be a simple F1 blog. My thoughts and sympathies go to you and your family. Please feel free to not post this or edit this part out.

    To the topic of this post I totally agree with Hamilton, this is one of the most ridiclous looking things I’ve ever seen. I can’t believe all the great minds in F1 couldn’t come up with something better then that. When I first saw it I thought it reminded me of a zimmerframe or baby walker, not very fitting with the speed that F1 should be about.

  14. It looks like a Thong and not a nice one either – more the sort that Flavio Briatore might be seen sporting…

  15. There are many concepts that come into F1 which aren’t aesthetically pleasing. It doesn’t say in any of the rulebooks that the cars must be as beautiful as possible. However I find myself a little torn on the issue of the halo.

    Unquestionable it might have saved the life of Justin Wilson or Henry Surtees. But both of these accidents weren’t in F1. True it might have saved Senna. But I doubt the halo would have prevented Massa being hit with Barrichello’s suspension in 2009, nor Jules Bianchi in 2014.

    I suppose the question is what is it trying to achieve? Yes its making a statement, however, If the purpose is to prevent all head injuries then enclosing the cockpit completely is the way forward.

    1. Most people don’t seem to like the halo, somehow I think you will find even less support for the closed cockpit over the halo.

  16. As a person who wants to go back to 2005 cars, I’m actually okay with the halo, because it isn’t slowing the cars down. Personally I think the danger of motorsport should comes from the speed (though technically rapid deceleration), so I don’t have a problem with things like the halo. Sure it looks a bit weird, but I find the post 2009 cars ugly, so I’m used to that.

  17. For those who are complaining about the look of the device, remember that 1 it may save someone’s life, and 2 this is only a first prototype and I’m sure that during the testing phase, the design will be amended somewhat and may evolve into something that serves the same purpose but is less ‘ugly’ (and probably more aerodynamic. On the Ferrari, even if it had been painted gloss red with a little bit of white trim it wouldn’t have looked too bad.

    Also, unless FIA go straight ahead and mandate a standard device, this will be something for the teams to use for aerodynamic advantage (and extra sponsor space).

    Also, anyone have any ideas whether, following prototyping within F1, it would likely be required in all the other open-cockpit Formula championships?

  18. Hey Joe, just to let you know that your blog is one of the first things I read every morning and it’s awesome. Just subscribed to GP+ for the first time (and have given another as a gift).

    I like the site because it is thoughtful and interesting. Even when you are at your most opinionated, your writing and the majority of the community on this site are very respectful and dare I say it “human.”

    Please keep this going, it brings a lot of joy to my day.

  19. If the halo will require a hinge for extraction then doesn’t that void the argument that a canopy will hinder extraction in a rollover? If that’s the case the canopy would’ve at least prevented Massa’s accident and probably look much better than this.

  20. Speed, Danger. Excitement . This is motor racing. Remove anyone of these and the proposition is no more. We are grown adults and inherently know the risks of racing be it motorcycles or cars. This really is political correctness gone mad. Let men or (women) be men as they say. This is completely lame. Sorry F1. You’ve finally lost..me

    1. Darryl, and to anyone else with this same view — was the excitement of danger you speak of worth it when Senna died? Or any other driver for that matter? I wonder if people had the same views towards seatbelts or full-faced helmets when they were new? Many felt similar regarding head and neck restraint systems — think about how many deaths would have likely occurred over the past ten years (in all of motorsport) without it.

      1. Hi Mike,

        For the record I raced motocross and supercross for 15 years and 5 of them professionally, the entire time I was completely aware of what I was doing and the extreme risks that I took. Every time you take a 100ft jump you know you have risk and in that split second if something goes wrong it could result in your death or permanent disability. Call me old school but despite some horrendous injuries that I received – I never asked for things to be any safer or to be wrapped in cotton wool because the choice was entirely mine to engage with the activity. The speed, the danger the excitement was and is all part of what it means to compete in motorsport. I knew this and experienced it first hand (as I’m not an lounge chair expert or keyboard warrior like many of the people that post on websites), the F1 drivers know this too including Senna who was one of my heroes and I have some excellent stories about him, as I’m originally from Adelaide. I was able to actually meet Ron Dennis a few years back and we swapped some stories about F1 and Senna which was a very nice and humble moment. His death – which I saw live on TV was awful, yet he knew full well what he was doing and why. The halo wouldn’t have saved him either. Point is nobody wants to die from competing in a sport they love but they know they could every time they go out and they come back for more because its all part of the rush. If they don’t like the risks of their chosen sporting pursuit which can be a profession such as F1, then I suggest they retire and do something else….perhaps take an office job.

        1. Darryl, the thing is, it seems as if the majority of drivers involved in F1 want it to be safer. Most of the drivers have families, and I’m guessing to most, their occupation is not first priority. Enough deaths have been witnessed, it’s not fun for anyone. The idea of a possible death making a sport more exciting seems like a very ancient morbid mentality and needs to end — the sport itself (without the possibility of death) should be exciting enough to keep competitors and spectators interested. Speaking as a spectator, I can think of many F1 races that involved a scary crash in which I completely lost interest in the outcome because I was more concerned about the drivers involved. I can’t ever think of a time when a scary crash made a race better — and this goes for any type of auto racing. Even if closed cockpits are introduced, the risk of death or serious injury is still there. It always will be, but one by one different scenarios can be eliminated with new technology. No one knows if a halo or closed cockpit would have saved Senna, but it certainly would have reduced the risk and he could very well still be with us today if his car had been equipped with such a device. Senna dying in a racing accident while knowing he could die at any moment doesn’t make him more of a legend in my mind, his racing skills alone made him one. Daniel Ricciardo put it best when he told Nico Hulkenburg “there’s no need to be a hero about this situation”. I can cross a street without first looking for cars, and to some that might be exciting and possibly even rewarding if surviving the act, but what’s the point?

          Bottom line is, if a racer needs to mix in the possibility of death to become motivated to participate in a race, I question whether or not they are a real racer, and perhaps they should instead become a Hollywood stunt actor or join the Mafia. No disrespect to you intended, just my opinion.

          1. You don’t think that danger is part of why people watch racing? And why should risk takers be stopped if they choose to take risks? They know what they are doing…

            1. +1 Million. Like I said call me old school but I think that risk is part of the game. I guess that’s difference between the doers and the do gooders. It’s easy being spectator…..

            2. Danger as in the potential for a driver to make an error resulting in a minor crash — yes. The potential for a life-threatening crash — no. Huge difference. There are other far more interesting risks, such as will team A’s motor make it through the distance, will driver X buckle under pressure from driver Z etc. In my opinion, only a deranged and immature person would watch a sporting event because of the potential for a crash resulting in death or serious injury. Crashing is a part of auto racing, and yes, is part of the draw. But life-threatening consequences can be eliminated as time progresses.

              No one is being stopped from taking risks because it will likely never be 100% safe. As I said before, the majority of F1 drivers want it to be less risky. The world doesn’t revolve around this sport, and they have other priorities. And as a spectator, I don’t want to see another Senna, Earnhardt or even Kubica-type incident occur. If you do, you’ve got a screw loose somewhere.

              1. The key words are “in my opinion”. We all have one. Telling others that your opinion is right and their opinion is wrong is something of a waste of time. An opinion is an opinion.

                1. Joe, you asked my opinion and that’s what I gave you. I never said I’m right and everyone is wrong, hence “in my opinion”. All of the above was quite simply that — my opinion. If you don’t agree, that’s fine and I respect that. This is a discussion after all.

          2. Crossing the street without looking first is a death lottery, even suicidal. Crossing whilst the traffic is moving fast involves skill. The point is the exhilaration at achieving something despite the danger. I can see you may not enjoy that yourself but if you don’t understand it then I suggest you get someone to check your pulse immediately 🙂
            Would you question whether a ‘free climber’ (one who does not use safety ropes) is a ‘real climber’?
            There is a point at which a sport becomes so sanitized by ‘safety’ that it ceases to be the original sport. Todays F1 is right on the cusp of that. More and more of us, Lewis included, are starting to share our F1 viewing time with MotoGP which thankfully has yet to decide to add a protective bubble and stabilisers to the bike!

            1. Damian, I would say a “free climber” seeks attention, while someone using safety ropes does so to ensure they live another day to improve their skills.

              1. Attention? Really? Thousands of feet up a remote mountain, often climbing alone, is seeking attention. Well that comment places your previous ones in context for us all, I thank you for that 🙂

                1. Why else would someone take such a risk if they weren’t seeking attention? Macho bragging rights? Suicidal?

                  Where’s the logic in purposely removing safety from a sport if in the end it doesn’t change the difficulty level?

                  Will the first driver to win with a halo be any less of a winner than the last person to win without one?

                  1. You have already demonstrated that you clearly don’t understand such things. Claiming ‘attention’ or ‘macho’ bragging rights just shows how far removed from that side of life you are. That is fine. What is wrong is projecting your own desires onto others and assuming negative traits when they don’t share them. Free climbing, base jumping, free diving, Bull Riding, Sky diving, Mountaineering, cliff diving, wing suit flying + many other sports. All inherently dangerous, none of which you understand. You could even add ‘exploring’ to that. I’m thankful mankind has not generally displayed your traits over history, or we’d still be sitting in caves scared of what was outside, and accused of being ‘macho’ if anyone went and had a look!

                    1. The fact that you are making this a personal issue (when you asked for my opinion) tells me a lot of things about you personally, none of which I’d like to discuss… Let’s drop extreme sports (as it hardly pertains to F1 safety), please.

                      So once again, I ask you these questions — with auto racing specifically in mind:

                      1) Where’s the logic in purposely removing an element of safety from a sport if in the end it doesn’t change the difficulty level, but decreases chance of death or serious injury?

                      2) Will the first driver to win with a halo be any less of a winner than the last person to win without one?

    2. Joe, my comment was addressed to Damian. From now on I’ll start replies with the persons name, sorry about that.

      1. Mike c (Be aware there are 2 x Damian’s 🙂 )
        The fact you claim my comments where ‘personal’ after you decided that those who participate in dangerous sports are ‘macho’ or ‘attention seeking’ speaks volumes.
        In answer to your questions.
        1, Nothing is being removed. Something is being added. That addition begins to change the very nature of the sport, hence my, and others, objection to it on those grounds.
        2, He will be the winner of a slightly different sport. It will no longer be an ‘open cockpit’ series so your question is imo invalid, neither less nor more, different.

  21. I’m mystified by the “advantages” of this hoop. What will be the reaction when something like the Brawn spring bounces on the road upwards and, instead of being thrown clear and over the driver’s head, its trajectory is deflected by the underside of the hoop directly towards the driver. It seems a flawed, rather ugly, visibility obstructive non-solution.

  22. When I was a boy kicking around SCCA paddocks in the early 1970s, I remember a few guys showed up with roll cages in their Formula Fords. They looked hideous and destroyed the beauty of the “wicked formula cars” (I’m from Boston). While a bit more stylish than those roll cages, this effort by Ferrari still looks like crap.

  23. Vettle has been quoted as saying the Halo device could have saved Henry Surtees and Justin Wilson’s lives. I can’t comment on how accurate that statement is but if true it renders Lewis’s views irrelevant in my opinion.

    Talented drivers with families that love them are way more important than ‘the spirit of F1’ or looks in my opinion. I know it is a dangerous sport and drivers know what they are signing up for but I a human life shouldn’t be risked for the sake of aesthetics.

  24. I think we’ll get used to it. The final solution will probably look less agricultural. I don’t like the way it looks either but I said the same thing about most aesthetic changes F1 has seen over the past couple of decades before I got used to them. Joe, will teams design their own halos or will they be a standard part?

  25. Me too.
    But off topic: I’m here with tears in my eyes from your other post. What a world.

    I found it a bit trivial at the time, but now seems to be a good time to share this: you made me flos my teeth the other day. Did you ever imagine that someday, being an F1 reporter, you’d have this effect?

    Thanks again for the blog and comments. I read them always, even if I don’t comment myself.

  26. To those drivers against halo or other safety stuff:

    You want to be a hero or even just want to be loved by “fans”, OK. But don’t be selfish! You have your parents! You may have your children! You may have your wife or partner! Do you REALLY feel for Bianchi’s family, Wilson’s family or Surtees’ family?? Make “all my thoughts are with his family” from the bottom of your heart, please!

    1. Joe, I’m sorry for my bad English. I try to express better.

      To those drivers against halo and other protections in the cockpit:

      Halo or other protections are not only to do with your life, but also your parents, wife, children and friends.
      Halo or other protections are not only to do with your life, but also thousands of lives in open-wheel motorsports around the world.
      I know you said “all my thoughts are with his family” from your warm heart, so please, think about Bianchi’s family, Wilson’s family or Surtees’ family again!
      Also, I don’t think you are using Halo topic to make yourself look heroic or cool among fans, but I hope you could think about others’ lives more.

    2. In the case of Surtees and Wilsson, it would have made a difference, as one leading driver remarked. In Bianchi’s case most probably not.

  27. It will always amaze me, and I will never understand the “it looks awful” argument. There are no prizes in F1 for prettiest car…it’s all about winning. He (or maybe someday she) who wins (and lives!) gets the prize. Now one could be an armchair engineer and argue the efficacy of the hoop, but to then back that argument up with a highly subjective “it looks awful” doesn’t give any real weight to the argument. Is there a point at which a safety feature needs to be x effective to then override the aesthetic argument? Maybe it’s just different reasons people have for being F1 fans? My primary reason is to watch what I consider to be the highest performing cars race, or lately TRY to race against one another…while others may watch for different reasons. Is that perhaps why I don’t understand the argument?

  28. A daft solution waiting for a problem to happen. Unless that halo is made of strong steel and bolted to the survival cell, it wouldn’t have saved or helped Wilson, Bianchi, Massa, Senna and Ratzenberger. So, really, why? WHY?!?!

    On an unrelated note, Joe, I am really sorry for what happened to you and your family. Horrible! I am also glad the bloke that wrote that note stayed anonymous. He wouldn’t survive a day. There’s a place and time for everything, even for nasty attacks, i.e., manning-up and looking the person in the eye. While I (and certainly others) sometimes disagree with your posts and dislike your tone, that was below the belt. Joe, if you ever make to SF, you have room and board for as long as you need. Mi casa es su casa, compadre.


    1. I admit that it’s an interesting solution to an engineering problem. What I’d like to see is what, exactly, were the instructions/requirements/design-goals given to the engineers. Because I’m not clear on what problems it will solve.

      +1 to the rest of your comment.

  29. It doesn’t seem entirely unfair to say that nobody forces drivers to drive in F1. There are plenty of closed-cockpit racing series – it is not as if a choice not to race in the open means a choice not to race at all.

    One of the attractions (to me, at least) of F1 is that it is *almost* very very dangerous without being anywhere as dangerous as, say, Indy or other series. The technology saves the day *most* of the time. That seems a good compromise.

    If F1 were completely safe, where would the awe at the bravery of the drivers? Where would the consequences of failure be?

    Should we fit downhill skiiers with airbags, or erect scaffolding around mountains to make climbing safer? Should sporting motorcycles (of all disciplines) be encased by roll cages?

    The death toll in modern F1 is vanishingly small compared to many other sports.

    Since 2000, 3 riders have perished in MotoGP, 4 in IndyCar, yet just 1 in F1. If we look at closed-vehicle formulae, we find 16 in NASCAR, 1 at Le Mans, 2 in WRC, etc.

    The 1 in F1 – Bianchi – was caused (in my view) by the recovery of another car. It was avoidable. It had nothing to do with the inherent safety of the sport.

    I, for one, oppose this “halo” structure. I cannot see that it adds anything to the safety of the sport, other than to repreesnt a knee-jerk response to a problem that was nothign to do with the cars or their design.

    As incongruous as it might sound to those who know me, I’m with Lewis on this one.

    1. The NASCAR stat is a bit misleading — there hasn’t been a death in the top-three series since 2001, which was Dale Earnhardt Sr, and that was an unusual accident involving a seatbelt malfunction and no HANS device.

      Personally, I think one death in F1 is one too many, and Massa’s near fatality could have possibly been avoided with a halo structure. I seem to recall a few other scary close incidents recently with cars landing on top of each other — I think Alonso and Raikkonen last year? Why wait for another death or serious injury to occur to take this step? Yes, the halo is ugly (currently), but surely it can be prettied up with new aero rules, which desperately need to happen anyway.

      Something I wish would be looked into regards the recovery tractors — if they can’t be eliminated or if a bespoke machine can’t be built (it can and probably wouldn’t cost that much), then a SAFER barrier-type “jacket” could be placed around the existing machines, in case of another Bianchi-type accident, or perhaps a stuck throttle sending a car off the track during a safety car period. Really, anything could happen to cause such an accident again. I know this type of accident will probably never happen again, but “probably” means there is still a chance. I realize why some think the open cockpit risk is “sexy” and “exciting”, but dying via a tractor is neither, it’s terrifying and a totally unnecessary risk.

      1. Re NASCAR OK – but if I aggregate all the other slightly-lower-than-F1-open-wheeled-formulae deaths I still don’t come close to the NASCAR stat.

        I’m sorry: in my view, Massa is a red herring here. The odds of the spring hitting him were tiny; it was the epitome of a very low-probability event. The halo would not have altered those odds appreciably.

        Bianchi would not have died if he had hit the barrier, or the car being recovered (both are – in these terms – “soft” structures).

        +1 for wrapping tractors in safety cages, +2 for not deploying them on-track at all. IF there is anyone culpable for Bianchi’s death THEN it is likely to be somebody in the chain of command at the track on the day. I don’t know who (to just say “Charlie” is too simplistic). What it was emphatically not was a failure of car safety features.

        I cannot abide knee-jerk reactions. I am an Engineer: identify the problem, articulate possible solutions (if any), proceed accordingly. “Halo” is a solution looking for a problem, in my view, and is if anything a (scandalously dangerous) attempt to “look the other way” over Bianchi’s accident – the engineering and regulatory equivalent of a “look – squirrel!” moment.

  30. On topic agree with Lewis. I am sure they have done some studies this is safer but surely the next time something hits a driver like it did with massa, which could easily still penetrate with halo, it simply means this is the first step towards closed cockpit F1 racing. I don’t like that but why not get on with instead of this half house solution.

  31. Motor sport is dangerous, if you don’t want to get hurt do something else.
    The halo is silly, a by-product of a hyper politically correct society.
    That thing Lewis was riding on last week in the paddock should be banned as he may fall over, bang his head and be in a coma. Everybody should wear a helmet while driving road cars, how many people would that save…and no radio either. Where does it end. We are human and we break!

    1. “Everybody should wear a helmet while driving road cars” +1 and spot on. Look how many road victims suffered from head injuries. A WRC helmet would be enough….

  32. I don’t care what the tattooed and addorned coloured Pom thinks about the so-called Halo, but I don’t find it offensive! However, there is another way a better protective result could be achieved. What about having the airbox/ roll bar structure moved forward so the drivers’ head was underneath it, and fit a tuffened plastic screen in front and angled back to intergrate with the airbox? This system would only slightly change the appearence of the car, but would greatly enhance the protecting aspect some people are seeking. As for “not being able to see the driver’s head”, that doesn’t matter the slightest! How many fans/followers can say with any conviction that they actually look at/watch a driver’s head instead of watching what the car is doing and what the cars around the car is doing? And the suspension and the tyres etc.If it was so important to see the driver nobody would follow saloon car racing!!! But saloon racing is probably the most supported/followed form of car racing there is! Oh well, what the hell!

    1. F1 rules mandate that drivers must be able to be extracted, on their seats (in case of a back injury), quickly. Your airbox idea, although attractive as an engineering solution, would fail the driver extraction test, I fear.

  33. The halo system is based upon flawed logic. The system is designed to prevent “debris” from entering the cockpit. An F1 track is extremely sterile in the first instance, debris is only caused by a prior accident. Most F1 collisions are relatively minor, and only small pieces of debris are discarded… Small pieces would not be stopped by this. In the event of a large accident, there may be larger debris, and that’s the stuff this Halo is designed to stop. Most large accidents are caused by drivers losing control or drivers making mistakes. Most large accidents are avoided by drivers reacting quickly because they have seen and anticipated the danger ahead. Create a situation where drivers brains are receiving less information by restricting there view, and you have more large accidents caused by mistakes or driver error, and drivers have less chance to avoid them.

    Once the large accident has happened, it’s a complete lottery as to what debris goes where and how others react to it, big pieces of debris, small pieces of debris, subsequent collisions, all things things will still pose a serious risk to drivers health, regardless of a halo device.

    The biggest benefit is if the driver was going to get hit by a wheel. The size of accident required in F1 for tyres to be torn from the tethers is usually significant. Yes you would potentially save the driver from the tyre, but what about the flying rear wing, suspension arms and all the other debris which this wouldn’t stop?

    I could understand canopies because they would provide a solution which prevented all debris entering the cockpit without affecting vision. But I think they could cause problems in the rain.

    If you want to take action like this, take action to ensure there are less large accidents! Better grip, harsher penalties for car malfunctions on teams, harsher penalties for drivers causing accidents etc. the new standards required for super licence is far more likely to improve driver safety than is a halo.

  34. Perhaps it’s just me but does anyone else have concerns with how quickly the halo has been made mandatory? Like any sane person am all in favour of decreasing risk where possible/sensible but I can’t escape the vague feeling this is somehow rather rushed and perhaps driven more by a need to be seen to do something than to find a ‘proper’ solution. The way it was ** reported what discussion there was seemed to run along the lines of ‘We’ve got to do something to protect drivers head more’, ‘OK we could try a jet fighter canopy or some sort of halo device’. ‘We don’t want canopies’. ‘ OK, halos it is then – 2017 introduction OK for everybody?’.

    As one of the commenters here – an expert safety engineer as I recall – said last year when this whole discussion started, you have to be very careful that the safety devices you implement do not increase risk in other unintended ways.

    Having had some small role in training/educating some of them I know full well that (to quote Joe) “F1 engineers are clever folk and will find a solution” – but for my money we seemed to have jumped to acceptance of this particular concept as THE solution without very much discussion of other possible and potentially better solutions …

    ** see multiple other posts here about what I’m doing wrong using this word in this situation! ;-D

  35. Dear Joe, dear JS blog addicts,

    I don´t mind how it looks as long as it helps in first case. Hamilton´s quote can be left aside in that case, but Vettel is absolutely right saying this although normally he is quite conservative regarding sound and looks of a F1 car.

    But is that construction be-all and end-all? Or is it just a knee-jerk reaction, hampered by the usual f1 political games?

    My proposal may look bizarre at first sight, so you may laugh or say “oh no”, but please have a look. It´s just an experiment, coming to mind yesterday evening in my bathtube (seriously! :-)). I hope that exceptional link is OK:

    The “halo” has been clearly critized here as being unsufficient, the closed canopy LMP style e.g. is hampered by the question how to extract a driver from the car in case of a somersault.

    On that picture above, we see the Autocross Superbuggy of Terry Callaghan, which is designed as a single seater “closed” racing car. The driver is protected by a solid tube structure which has to be designed according Art. 253 FIA T.R., in our case in a version that should be equipped with two side rollbars and one transversal member on the front, solidly attached to the rollbar of the F1 car.

    In the case of F1, of course NO metal grilles and no roof should be used, as the driver in his seat has to be extracted asap. But that model could be used as a junction of the “halo” and a closed canopy, with the tube structure working as a protection a) against debris, wheels and flying cars Grosjean/Alonso style from above and, b) additionally, a jet like window in front as a protection against flying debris coming head on Massa-style.

    Also, visibility may be improved as no solid single bar in the drivers visual field.

    In case of a car that is head on after a somersault, the driver can be extracted from the side as it is open.

    What do you think of that concept??? F1 technical peoples`comments are welcome! 😉

    All the best MM

  36. Sad commentary on our society regarding the venomous comment you recieved Joe. You’re a far better man than most in your ability to push through, and we’re all the better for your willingness to share with us.

    I understand the philosophical debate regarding the look and functionality of the halo, but I believe I’m on the side of the angels when I say safety should trump all other concerns.

    Brings to mind WWI pilots who were opposed to parachutes as being somehow unmanly or restrictive in combat. A ludicrous comparison? Maybe, but if you’re standing still you’re actually going backwards.

  37. Well Joe you 1, scum of the earth 0. And I’m now a subscriber to really tell them where to shove it. Keep up the good work.

  38. My concern is not for its appearance but for its likely effectiveness. I hope the fact that it is presently the “preferred solution” will not mean that other, possibly better, alternatives are not investigate.

    I have read your blog for years and yes, Joe, I completely agree with everybody else about that loathsome comment.

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