The F1 ‘halo’ concept that was tested today by Ferrari is the wrong step to make.
Not because it ‘erodes the spirit of F1' or because ‘it looks silly’. Which it does, but we’ll be used to it by the 4th race of the season. But because it shows exactly the half-arsedness that has come to encompass F1 in the recent years. The fear to actually change something.
It is time for closed cockpits in F1.
It’s been talked about for years and every time the usual arguments are being drudged up: It’s not the ‘formula’. The drivers won’t be able te get out if the car flips or another car is stuck on top of it. We won’t be able to see the drivers anymore! They look awful! It’s just the risk of the sport.
Lets take a look of these argument one by one.
It’s not the ‘formula’.
F1 is an ever evolving sport. Put a current F1 car next to one from the 60's and try to find the similarities.
For it to stay an openwheeled series there is no need for it to remain an open cockpit series too. It has changed so much over the years and while it may look like a huge change , in 10 years time we will look back and wonder why we only just now changed it.
The drivers won’t be able to get out if the car flips or another car is stuck on top of it.
This is assuming a jet fighter style canopy which opens upwards, which could be solved by making a break away seam in the middle like this for instance.
And to be frank, if there is a car on top the other car, wouldn’t you rather it’d be on top of a canopy instead of the drivers helmet. We came awfuly close last year with Kimi and Alonso.
It is the old ‘If you don’t wear seatbelts you’ll get thrown clear of the wreck’ argument.
You can’t tell me that with the engineering brilliance that makes up Formula 1, we won’t be able to design a working canopy if the FIA and the teams put their mind to it.
We won’t be able to see the drivers anymore.
How much do we see of them now? We only see the top of their helmets and maybe their hands. While we do see more of the driver on tv this mostly because of cameras placed on the car. There is no reason why these same cameras wouldn’t be able to film inside the canopy. It isn’t the 80's and camera’s aren’t huge bulky things anymore.
They look awful!
I’m just going to leave this here:
It’s just the risk of the sport.
This is the worst argument of them all. It is the attitude that killed so many drivers in the early days of the sport until we decided that would no longer do and started to change. This would be a natural progression of that change. If there is a clear way to prevent injuries (or worse), that won’t impact the racing, why wouldn’t we pursue that possibility.
We can’t write of closed cockpits as a ‘knee-jerk reaction’ any longer.
Is it the ideal solution? No, but it is by far the best we have.
The halo design is not a solution, it is just a placeholder for the FIA to say: Look, we did something. It isn’t going to prevent what happened to Massa in 2009, nor will it prevent what happened to Jules in 2014.
It is the last in a series of half-hearted changes the aging and increasingly out of touch leaders of F1 have made. Trying to fix things that aren’t broken and never really pushing for an actual change. Always compromising and taking steps away from the core of the sport. The reason why we watch and what would bring in the fresh crowd and views F1 so desperately needs, which can only be achieved with the drivers feeling safe:
Fast and close racing.