Sir Jackie Stewart has suggested that those opposed to Formula One’s introduction of cockpit “halos” in 2018 could end up on the wrong side of history.
The three-time F1 world champion said Sunday that the pushback from fans and members of the media toward halo-style cockpit protection reminds him of the backlash he faced during his safety movement in the 1960s, according to Motorsport.com.
“I read correspondent’s columns that (say) ‘this is the end of Formula One for me, I’m out of it, I can’t stick with this,’ ” Stewart said. “Well that was like people saying ‘Jackie Stewart’s going to kill motorsport’ because of track safety.”
Stewart, who raced in F1 from 1965 to 1973, ended his career with 99 race starts. He intended to call it quits after his 100th race, but decided to retire early after his teammate, Francois Cervert, died in a crash at Watkins Glen International while qualifying for the 1973 United States Grand Prix.
“My view is: if you can save a life and if some of these people — if they 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 to halo),” Stewart said, via Motorsport.com.
Although the “Flying Scot” raced at the same time as Mercedes-AMG Petronas non-executive chairman Niki Lauda, Stewart reportedly doesn’t share Lauda’s opinion that risk should remain a part of racing.
“There’s no point in me saying (previous eras were) ‘just dangerous and then you had to be careful and cautious and when men were men’ — bulls**t,” Stewart said.
In addition to expressing his support for halo, the 78-year-old noted that drivers still have to do their parts to improve the safety of F1. Likely referring to Sebastian Vettel’s clash with Lewis Hamilton, Stewart said that racers still shouldn’t “take liberties” because they have safe equipment, and drive in a way that puts others at risk.
Thumbnail photo via Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports Images
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