GPDA Chairman hopes Formula 1 will not ‘bitterly regret’ delaying the introduction of the Halo


Red Bull Racing testing the Halo system - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Thursday 28 July 2016 saw the F1 chiefs and teams vote to postpone introducing the controversial ‘Halo’ safety device until the 2018 season; something that the Grand Prix Driver’s Association chairman, Alex Wurz, hopes that Formula 1 will not ‘bitterly regret’.

The vote on Thursday postponed the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit safety device, something that Wurz and the GPDA had wanted introduced in 2017, until 2018 at the earliest.

Having pushed for the Halo device to be used next season, the postponement has left Wurz hugely disappointed, as he believes that the decision has put the sport in a precarious position of hoping that there is not a major accident next season where the Halo could have been beneficial.

Wurz told Motorsport.com that: “My personal view is that today’s Strategy Group outcome, if ratified by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, represents much more than just a vote against the Halo, or a delay in the introduction of additional head protection,”

“This decision brings F1 in to uncharted territory in many ways. Let’s wait for the reasoning behind this decision, but for now this decision could almost be seen as ‘business first and safety second.’”

He also pointed out the safety benefits the Halo could have, and that he hopes that the delaying the introduction of the device is something that everybody doesn’t come to regret:

“The Halo is not aesthetically pretty, but scientific experiments performed by experts proved that it has the capability of saving drivers’ lives. In the recent presentations of the FIA safety experts, I understood the system was presented as ready to use. I also understood that cars are already being designed for the Halo concept.”

“Moreover it could, and would of course, be improved, on an ongoing basis, and those improvements would include aesthetic considerations – including the use of better and more advanced technologies and materials for an even more efficient concept.

“I believe the Halo would have been a safe start! So, bearing all those factors in mind, it is rather surprising for F1, whose driver safety credentials are uncontested, to not adopt the Halo concept for 2017. Like all of us, obviously, I dearly hope that today’s decision is not one that one day we will all come to bitterly regret.”

However, Wurz disagrees with those who claim that introducing the Halo would take away the danger element of Formula 1, commenting that: “The Halo or any future car-related safety development is not taking any courage away from drivers. It still requires the world’s best skills to beat the world’s best drivers.

“If we have safer cars, it’s not only good for the sustainability of the sport, it could also mean we can let the drivers race faster and be more aggressive in a way.”