Hamilton open to driver protection

Triple world champion Lewis Hamilton has warmed to the idea of driver protection after initially being against it.

Lewis has said previously that he would “rip it off” in reference to the Halo being attached to his car. He has had a change of thought however after seeing the FIA’s presentation on driver protection before the Hungary race.

“I paid very, very close attention to the briefing we were given on it and I take safety very, very seriously,” Hamilton said. “The interesting thing is while the halo system doesn’t look great and doesn’t look in the racing spirit the fact it chances are 70% better on saving a driver’s life in the incidents that have happened in the past.

“If it is the regulation, it is the regulation. As I said you can’t ignore the fact that if it is going to save one of us in a serious incident.”
Halo is reported to be the only contender for implementation on the cars next year. Red bull were working on their own version of driver protection called the aero screen, but dropped the development citing funding and involvement from the FIA. Although the aero screen was deemed to be the better and more attractive option, Lewis now believes that full canopies will not be too far away.

“At some stage we will most likely have to close the canopy completely I think because that would be 100% [safer],” he said. “I think they were saying there were still some areas of issue. For example, in Felipe’s issue here in 2009 or when it was, it wouldn’t have stopped him from being hit.

“I think with Justin [Wilson], I believe they said it wouldn’t have saved him because it was a pointy object from above. A close canopy perhaps would have.

“I don’t think we can ignore it. If there is any way to make it look better but if not then fine as it is a safety thing and we have to all accept.”

Traditionalists will dislike the introduction of the driver safety protection purely based on aesthetic reasons. Safety is and should be number one though. On aesthetics, we soon got used to the low noses, the high noses, the taller narrower rear wings etc. etc.

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4 responses to “Hamilton open to driver protection

  1. Back tracking quicker than your average Brexit backing MP. A future career for Mr Hamilton perhaps?

  2. I am really curious where all these % are coming from. A 17% increase in safety or 70% of crashes better off. That all seems like fake made up pr to push the things through and it sadly seems to be working. Or maybe Merc has made a great way to utilize the halo and now Hamilton is pushing it to keep the advantage in 2017…

    • Yeah, they seem to talking out of their hats with those percentages…

      The problem with the halo is that if it saves one life, then it’s justified. Then close the cockpit fully — if it saves one life, then it too will be justified. But then look at the open wheels — close them, and if it saves one life then that will be justified as well. A couple such iterations and you end up with… WEC. At that point F1 loses any real differentiator from WEC cars.

      My point being: F1 has always been and should remain open-cockpit and open-wheel. That’s what makes F1, F1, as the bigger brother of karting. Lose that, and F1 loses its identity. Safety concerns are important, of course, but racing is dangerous to start with, and all open-cockpit and open-wheel series are dangerous — that’s part of the game, and adult drivers (and even teenagers) are quite aware of the risks to which they subscribe. And if we really wanted to reduce risks to zero, we’d take drivers out of the cars altogether and simply let them pilot the cars from simulators in the safety of their motorhomes…

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