F1 Drivers’ Association backs FIA halo stance

The GPDA has backed the FIA on the halo

The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association has expressed its support of the FIA regarding the decision to introduce the halo in 2018.

With only one team believed to have supported the introduction of the halo during Wednesday’s Strategy Group meeting, the FIA used its power of veto over safety matters to push through the device.

While the halo has come in for widespread criticism on aesthetic considerations, the FIA opted to mandate it due to the unsuccessful trial of the shield at the British Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel ran the shield during Friday practice but asked for it to be removed after one installation lap, saying it distorted his vision and made him “dizzy”.

GPDA chairman Alex Wurz said that drivers always support moves by the FIA to improve safety, even if they are aware that the halo is controversial.

“With regards to the introduction of additional head protection, as stated various times, us drivers respect the FIA’s stand on safety and support their ongoing quest to make racing safer,” Wurz told Autosport.

“Over recent decades, we have seen increasing speeds and ever faster lap times, and this ultimate racing quest is solely possible due to increasing safety.

“Equally, over the same period of time we have seen an increase in popularity of our sport.

“F1 is a role model for ever increasing safety without jeopardising performance.

“Whilst the halo solution might not be the most aesthetically pleasing for everyone, us drivers will nevertheless race and push as hard as we can on track, which is the key for F1 to continue its growth and popularity.”

One of the key issues for the FIA was that there could have been legal implications in the future had a driver been injured or killed in an accident where the halo would have protected them.

The halo was originally conceived and designed by Mercedes, and then was developed further by the FIA – which has conducted extensive testing of it over several years.

One of the consequences of the halo being used in 2018 is that the F1 weight limit will be made even higher, but it is understood that the GPDA requested this to ensure that heavier drivers were not penalised unfairly.

The GPDA recently stepped back from involvement in the halo debate, leaving it solely in the hands of the FIA since the end of last year.

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