It is a controversial subject for many, but the Formula 1 Grand Prix Driver’s Association (GPDA) have given their full backing to the FIA in installing the halo cockpit protection device in time for the 2018 season.
The introduction of the safety concept was discussed during a F1 Strategy Group meeting in Geneva last Wednesday, and it is believed that only one team (that being Scuderia Ferrari) were in favour of the device, which allowed the FIA to push it through on safety grounds.
Of the three safety concepts tested so far, the halo, the aeroscreen and the shield, the halo has undergone the most extensive testing, with all teams having run with the device at least once during 2016.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team are the brainchild behind the halo protection device, and they put together the initial design, which was then progressed further by the FIA, who carried out extensive testing on it, and feel it is now ready to be put into action.
The shield was also a preferred option tabled for consideration by the FIA, but following testing by Sebastian Vettel during practice for the British Grand Prix, it was left on hold pending further investigation, after the German reported that his vision was blurred and he was left feeling dizzy, after just one lap.
GPDA Chairman Alex Wurz advised that the FIA would always receive the drivers support on items that have surfaced on grounds of safety, regardless of opinion, as he explained to Autosport.com recently.
“With regards to the introduction of additional head protection, as stated various times, us drivers respect the FIA’s stand on safety and support their ongoing quest to make racing safer.
“Over recent decades, we have seen increasing speeds and ever faster lap times, and this ultimate racing quest is solely possible due to increasing safety.
“Equally, over the same period of time we have seen an increase in popularity of our sport.
“F1 is a role model for ever increasing safety without jeopardising performance.
“Whilst the halo solution might not be the most aesthetically pleasing for everyone, us drivers will nevertheless race and push as hard as we can on track, which is the key for F1 to continue its growth and popularity.”
Despite protests against its use from F1 teams, drivers and fans, primarily on aesthetic grounds, the FIA did not feel they could delay the implementation of cockpit protection any longer, owing to the fact that they could be held responsible legally, should any further fatal incidents occur that the installation of the halo device could have prevented.