Wolff changed mind over halo in F1 and wouldn’t have forgiven veto

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has changed his mind about Formula 1's halo and says he would not have forgiven himself if vetoing it had led to a "potentially catastrophic outcome"

Wolff changed mind over halo in F1 and wouldn’t have forgiven veto

The controversial driver protection device became mandatory in F1 and Formula 2 this year, and played a significant role in major accidents in both championships.

Wolff said at the start of the season that he was not impressed by the halo, which was forced through by the FIA on safety grounds despite opposition from teams, and joked he would take it off with a chainsaw if he could.

This week, an FIA report revealed that the halo prevented Charles Leclerc from being struck on the visor by Fernando Alonso's front wing endplate in their first-corner crash at the Belgian Grand Prix.

"Yes, I have changed my mind," said Wolff when asked by Autosport about his previous comments at the FIA's end-of-season prizegiving ceremony in St Petersburg.

"I still don't like the aesthetics of it, and I hope we can find a solution in the future that looks good.

"[But] I really like Charles, he's a young, upcoming racer that deserves to be in Formula 1 and I would not have forgiven myself if we would have voted against the halo and it would have failed, and we'd have had a severe incident with a potentially catastrophic outcome.

"So, even though it's aesthetically not what I like it's a super initiative that has shown its merit.

"I'm happy that Jean [Todt, FIA president] pushed through and they didn't give me a chainsaw at the beginning of the season."

The halo will remain part of F1 for the foreseeable future after its successful first season as a mandated safety device.

But motorsport's ongoing safety push means F1's time as an open-cockpit category may be numbered.

"We need to get the right balance between aesthetics and safety," Wolff said when asked if he preferred F1 to be open-cockpit.

"I personally like the closed canopies like fighter jets.

"Between the teams and the FIA and the commercial rights holder, we just need to work proactively and in a collaborative manner to find solutions that look great and save lives."

shares
comments
Raikkonen: Sauber has all it needs to build a 'great' 2019 F1 car

Previous article

Raikkonen: Sauber has all it needs to build a 'great' 2019 F1 car

Next article

Even Williams an F1 2019 threat amid loophole fear - Mercedes boss

Even Williams an F1 2019 threat amid loophole fear - Mercedes boss
Load comments
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Plus

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021
The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower Plus

The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower

On 8 October 1961, Innes Ireland claimed victory at the United States Grand Prix to herald the true arrival of a new Formula 1 giant. While Team Lotus endured plenty of highs and lows until the team folded over three decades later, Colin Chapman's squad made F1 history and helped shape the championship

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021