The halo has caused complaints from modern Formula One drivers some say it’s too much safety. But why does Sir Jackie Stewart believe it’s a price worth paying?
Stewart criticises halo complaints
Sir Jackie Stewart has criticised the complaints that some drivers have made about the introduction of the halo cockpit protection device next season.
The three times champion led a campaign in the 1960’s to improve safety that saw backlash at the time, and feels halo critics are comparable to his opponents back then.
Stewart, who was speaking ahead of the launch of the ‘Great British Racing Drivers Season’ on UKTV channel Yesterday, said the halo was a price worth paying if it kept drivers safe.
He told Autosport “My view is: if you can save a life… and if some of these people had been to as many funerals as I’ve been to and wept as much as I have and seen close friends die [they wouldn’t object].”
“That’s all finished because we’ve got technology that’s taken away that. I’m afraid I don’t have a negative [view] of the halo.”
Sir Jackie says that when he was fighting for better safety, the papers said ‘this is the end of Formula 1 for me, I’m out of it, I can’t stick with this.’ and that ‘Jackie Stewart’s going to kill motorsport’ because of track safety.
He argues that it is better to adopt a pre-emptive position when it comes to driver safety.
“Preventive medicine is considerably more important than corrective medicine. Corrective medicine is [also] considerably more expensive than preventive medicine.” He said.
Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton are fighting for the world championship, which has proved largely a respectable fight. But how soon did the young Vettel realise that Hamilton and him had potential to fight at the very top?
Vettel saw Hamilton’s potential early on
Sebastian Vettel says that he recognised the potential that his title rival Lewis Hamilton had ever since their paths crossed in karting at an early age.
Despite them winning all bar one of the titles since 2010, this is the first time the two have directly gone wheel to wheel for the title. Hamilton and Vettel are regarded as the best drivers of the current generation of Formula One drivers.
Both drivers were highly rated as they were coming up through the junior categories, but they both took different routes into the sport. Hamilton won the 2006 GP2 Series (now Formula Two) before moving into Formula One with McLaren.
Meanwhile, Vettel was brought in as a replacement for Robert Kubica after his crash in 2007 Canadian Grand Prix.
In an interview, expected to be broadcast later this month, asked by former team-mate and Channel 4’s Mark Webber, when he first thought Hamilton would make it to the top “I remember him in 1999, he finished third in the European Championship in karting. And the team I was racing with was saying ‘this guy, he will go all the way’.”
“On-on-one was more Formula 3, I was in my first year, he was in the second year and blowing everyone away. I didn’t get much chance, I joined him on the podium a couple of times.”
“That was when you saw no matter what — yes, [you can say] great year, second year so more experience, great car, whatever — but whatever the conditions, he was always there and delivering.”
Vettel who has a fourteen point lead over Hamilton said he is convinced that he can beat Hamilton to the title.
But says that Hamilton will always be there, saying “He’s extremely quick, extremely gifted at what he does. I don’t think it’s a huge challenge for him to drive quickly or to adapt with different conditions.”
Formula One is a hugely expensive sport and there has been many attempts to cut the costs for all the teams. But could the sport introduce standards parts address the spending disparity in the sport?
Standard parts to address costs
Formula One CEO Chase Carey has confirmed that the sport could introduce standard parts in a bid to address the huge spending disparity in the sport.
Budgets of teams vary widely, with big manufacturers spending around £330m last year while the smaller teams such as Force India and Sauber only spend around £90m. McLaren executive director Zak Brown has backed calls for a budget cap and claimed “there are some that think we should standardise some parts.”
Carey has confirmed that standard parts have been considered in a bid to cut costs, however, backs sporting director Ross Brawn who says the sport must not be “dumbed down.”
He told Autosport “There are many paths to get there, whether it’s cost caps, or other ways to address key components of the car. We’re not looking to standardise the car – we think it is very important to continue to have a sport that is competition married to state of the art technologies.”
“We’re not looking to dumb the cars down, but I think we can standardise components of it. We are certainly looking for ways to address what some of the teams in particular spend.” Carey says that this would also improve the economics of the sport as well as improving competition.
Brown has suggested that the parts should be parts that “don’t improve the show and the fans don’t recognise the difference”, like suspension components.
Carey has also revealed “preliminary meetings” have been held with teams regarding cost cutting, although the objective was not to make everybody’s budget the same.
He suffered a huge rally crash in February 2011, but in the Budapest test Robert Kubica returned to the driving seat. As rumours continue about a return what does Nico Hulkenberg think about his test?
Hulkenberg impressed by Kubica
Nico Hulkenberg says that he was impressed by Robert Kubica’s driving in last week’s test. The polish driver drove a modern F1 car for the first time during last week’s test in Budapest.
In the built up to that test he had driven the 2012 Lotus E20 at Valencia and Paul Ricard earlier this season as he began to assess his chances of an F1 comeback six years after his devastating rally crash. That earned him a chance to try out a 2017 car.
It was an impressive first outing for Kubica, he did 142 laps on his way to fourth fastest. Hulkenberg emphasised that he did not “have much information” as he “wasn’t on site” for the test, he said what he did find out had impressed him.
The German told Autosport “I had some information and I obviously saw the lap times. I think for him personally [it was] obviously a great comeback.”
“After the severe accident and injuries he had to come back and drive a modern Formula 1 car, and to do 140 laps just like that, is quite impressive. Especially at a track like Budapest, which is very physical. So respect for that. And I think the performance seemed alright.”
Though Renault has played down speculation that this may lead to a return to a race seat this season. Hulkenberg said he had not been given any steer on Renault’s thinking after Kubica’s latest test.
“I’m not sure what’s going to happen, what Renault wants to do, but the test was OK, I think,” he added. Kubica says he would not be disappointed if he wasn’t in a race seat next season.
Kubica said “If we see where I was four months ago compared to where I am now, it is a big change and it happened very quickly. So I think if in three months I did improve a lot and moved forward quite a lot, everything can happen in the future.
That’s all from Reporters for this week, until next time goodbye