Living F1 legend Niki Lauda has risen as one of the most vocal opponents against the FIA’s decision to implement the Halo – and rightly so.
What Niki Lauda has done is nothing short of legendary. The man has managed to transition out of an illustrious and nearly-fatal career as an F1 driver, and move into a position managing one of the most successful Formula 1 teams in history. So, when Lauda speaks up, there is more than enough cause to lend an ear. In this instance, Lauda’s years of experience has come out against the FIA’s abortive brainchild: The Halo.
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 19, 2017
For those of you that may have been living under a rock for the past several years, the gist of it is this: the FIA is refusing to give the push for additional head protection in Formula One. The -administration has decided–in its infinite wisdom–that the best way forward is to impose the Halo concept onto the 2018 season’s cars. It appears that the adage of receiving and aesthetically-pleasing F1 car once a decade holds true.
The move has been met with sharp criticism from the grandstands to the pits, yet the FIA hasn’t uttered a peep since then. And thus: enter the heavyweights. Niki Lauda has come out in vehement opposition of the Halo concept–despite his team being the ones who came up with the initial concept. The important distinction to remember here, however, is the emphasis on adequate development time.
“We tested the Halo, the Red Bull Aeroscreen and the Shield as a cockpit protection – but none convinced 100 percent. You have to make the right decision in such a situation. The Halo is the wrong one.” – Niki Lauda
Lauda went on to highlight not only the issue of implementation and safety, but what the addition of the Halo would do to the looks of the car. Spoiler alert: it makes them look ridiculous. Formula 1 cars have a long history of looking ridiculous, sure–but the sport has been consciously attempt to steer the aesthetic development of the cars in the direction of something that would entice new viewers to tune into–and the Halo would take a giant, under-developed shit all over it.
“We are trying hard with faster cars and getting closer to the spectators to attract new fans to the sport. But this now is destroyed by an overreaction.
The Halo destroys the DNA of an F1 car. The FIA has made F1 as safe as it gets. Also the danger of flying wheels is largely eliminated, because the wheels are always more firmly attached. The risk to the drivers has become minimal.
It would have been more sensible to go in the direction that if we find something that does not destroy the looks of the car, that it be introduced in 2019.
It’s as simple as that. There is no reason to do something we will regret later.” – Niki Lauda
— Niki Lauda (@NikiLauda_F1) June 5, 2016
Lauda’s voice was certainly not the first, but it has been one of the strongest thus far. Should the FIA decide to truly implement the Halo for the upcoming season, they may find themselves painting a very nice target on their backs for the remaining groups that function within F1 to hunt them down. Now, we’re not saying “civil war”, but even that would be preferable to the sport just bending over and taking it.