Even though many are displeased with the FIA’s decision to implement the “halo” in 2018, the general consensus in the Formula One world remains that some form of cockpit protection is necessary. That is, except for some people who were involved in the series when racing drivers frequently died behind the wheel.
Daniele Audetto, Scudera Ferrari’s team principal during the 1977 season, recently told German publication Speed Week that he thinks F1 has become “far too” safe, according to Autoweek. His comment followed F1’s that Grand Prix cars will include cockpit halos next season, despite nine of 10 teams reportedly opposing the concept.
“There is far too much technology and safety,” Audetto said. “And with this exaggerated safety and zero risk, Formula One has, in my opinion, lost some of its essence. It is also less attractive for the spectators.”
F1 pilots today still, despite the former Ferrari boss’s claim, accept that there will never be “zero risk” in racing. But three racers recently have died due to head injuries they sustained in an open wheel car, and drivers also admit that death no longer should be accepted in sports.
Audetto, on the other hand, is from a time when drivers were revered for putting their lives on the line. He noted that he’s lost friends in motorsport, but during the 1977 season with Scuderia, he almost lost a driver too.
Niki Lauda, then Ferrari racer and current non-executive chairman at Mercedes-AMG Petronas, nearly was killed in a fiery crash that year at the Nurburgring. Lauda himself, though, somewhat shares Audetto’s opinion.
“I think — in a very respectful way — that the DNA of Formula One should be maintained, and we’re slowly going to destroy it if we keep on inventing what are, for me, too many safety issues,” Lauda said in response to F1’s original plan to introduce the halo in 2017.
The two understandably are conditioned to accepting a higher risk level than modern drivers, but F1 can’t willingly ignore safety concerns to improve the show. Especially since, even great drivers, such as Jules Bianchi, can crash by no fault of their own, and having those shunts cut their careers short does nothing but rob fans of the chance to see their talents flourish.