Lewis Hamilton tries the Halo, Mercedes, Singapore, 2016

F1 will “destroy itself” if it becomes too safe, Lauda warns

2017 F1 season

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Formula One fans “will lose interest” in the sport if it pushes too far with its safety agenda, Niki Lauda has warned.

The three-times world champion made the claim in a recent interview when asked what changes he would like to see in the sport.

“Don’t continue trying to make Formula One completely safe,” said Lauda.

Vettel and Grosjean on the Halo
Is Halo really as popular among drivers as the FIA claims?
“These Formula One drivers should be the best drivers in the world. This is what people aim for. And if you see accidents, people do sometimes like to see accidents to see where the limits are. But as long they’re able to get out safe I think this is what we have to achieve.”

“If you go too far I think Formula One destroys itself.”

The FIA’s plan to introduce the Halo head protection system next year has prompted complaints, including some from drivers, that safety innovations are damaging F1’s appeal.

Lauda was seriously injured in a near-fatal crash at the Nurburgring Nordschleife in 1976. He said the reduction in danger makes the sport “much easier” for current drivers compared to when he raced in the seventies and eighties.

“The drivers of today they come with their wife and kids, with the dog, and watch the race because there is no more this danger,” he said.

“We were always alone, basically, because we didn’t want our wife to come to the race and bring us home in a coffin. This was a different era and thank god Formula One got much safer that this problem is reduced to nothing and I think it’s good for the sport.”

“The speed, the driving power they have today, is the same we had in the past doing the same thing,” he added. “The only difference is for us it was more dangerous, for them it’s not. If you take the danger away the driving is always the same, you have to be the best driving these cars on the limit.”

However Lauda admitted we would prefer to have raced in modern Formula One. “I would not have burned my ear, I would not have damaged myself at all, and I would have 50 times more money,” he said. “I would prefer to race today if I had the option, but I don’t have the option.”

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  • 74 comments on “F1 will “destroy itself” if it becomes too safe, Lauda warns”

    1. agree with lauda and he is one of the most qualified to have an opinion on the matter

      1. Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motor sport. Tame it and you’ll harm it. Much of its appeal derives from F1’s glamour, which is a product of the overall spectacle and the perceived danger to, and the related skill and heroism of, the drivers.

      2. He’s not really the most qualified. They did fix the “issue” he had. Why not the issues which others had?

    2. It’s not a matter of becoming “too safe” but the perception of “bullet proof safety” can back-fire. Moral hazard and ferocious attacks in case of any brutal accident with lasting consequences will emerge.

      1. i think they should abolish these so called safety car starts when conditions are wet or rainy.After all these are professional drivers in the pinnacle of motor sport.it becomes a turn of watching safety car sort of baby seat drivers for five laps etc around a track that is wet therefore muting any racing and in a way fixing the result

    3. He said nothing basically. He said what we all think. An element of risk makes it interesting. But safety is good.

      1. ‘But safety is good’……….yes, well that depends to a very great extent on the level
        of the safety applied to any sport. And in F1 terms, the essence of the sport is an open
        cockpit in which the driver can be clearly seen carrying out his command of his vehicle.
        We already have cockpit sides that cover virtually every part of the drivers anatomy
        apart from his head. And the drivers head is totally concealed inside a very
        comprehensively designed helmet which obliterates everything but the drivers eyes.
        All this is excellent life-protecting stuff. But it is also the absolute limit of the principal
        of an ‘open’ cockpit. If F1 goes beyond that limit the whole concept of open cockpit
        racing is destroyed.

        Having reached this point in the argument, I am quite aware of the classic response.
        ‘But the Driver’s safety is paramount ! And my response is, ‘OK, we need to have
        driverless cars that are controlled by a bloke sitting at a desk ! ‘

        Because that is the only logical conclusion anyone can come to.

        Motor racing is dangerous. Signs everywhere tell spectators that brutal truth.
        What the signs do not tell you is that the danger is an essential to the function
        of the whole sport of F1. Remove the danger and you will eventually destroy
        the spectacle. That tough truth was as evident in Roman chariot racing as today
        it is true in Motorcycle racing and and still, for a few more months, is true of F1.

        Lauda knows precisely what he is talking about and quite literally has the scars
        to prove it. Listen to his siren voice and get real.

        1. I agree that the often repeated phrase ¨Safety is our number 1 priority¨ is utterly flawed and i wish people would stop repeating it.

          If safety were the number 1 priority then the only solution is to not have a race at all. No, safety is no and should never be the number one priority, the number one priority is having a race, safety always comes second to that, maybe third depending on what the activity is.

          It is up to the drivers to determine what level of risk they are prepared to take, if they are not prepared to take the risks, like lauda, they can withdraw and find something else to do instead.

          Lauda did not try to get the sport changed to meet his new level of acceptable risk, he simply made his own mind up that he had taken enough risks and it was now time for him to do other things, I think everyone respected him even more after that.

          1. Billy the Fish
            12th October 2017, 11:51

            Does that mean everyone respects Jackie Stewart less due to his campaigns for improved safety in F1?

            1. its the laws of diminishing returns. back then it was true for him because one can get killed extremely easily. but now the fatal accidents that has been witnessed on tv are so rare and cannot be replicated like back then.

            2. Another straw man argument (look that up if you don´t know what it means) is that it means that Stewart sought reasonable measures that tackled a rapid increase in the performance of cars against amateurish race tracks.

              He simply pointed out that the tracks were no longer suitable for the speed of the cars.

          2. It is up to the drivers to determine what level of risk they are prepared to take, if they are not prepared to take the risks, like lauda, they can withdraw and find something else to do instead.

            This is exactly the sort of argument accountants love to hear. They’d love to not need to pay for all the health and safety stuff that is now an essential element of our work life, but the law is they do have to pay for that health and safety stuff, and we all go home happier for it.
            A drivers decision should be “Do I have the courage to overtake him at Turn One?” not “Do I have the courage to drive a car that will fragment into a thousand pieces if someone bumps it at 300 km/h?”. Having rules that say a driver has to have crash resilient car, a crash helmet that meets a mandatory industrial specification, and cars have to be built to include this and that safety equipment costs a lot of money, but is the only way to guarantee a driver is safe.

            1. A drivers decision should be “Do I have the courage to overtake him at Turn One?” not “Do I have the courage to drive a car that will fragment into a thousand pieces if someone bumps it at 300 km/h?”.

              True, but there needs to be some incentive not to crash into turn one.
              Playing F1 2017, I’m far less concerned about overtaking because if I mess up and crash, ah well, no harm done.
              In real life there is a large incentive not to crash because you will do a lot of damage, and risk getting hurt.

              In the same way that asphalt run-off means that there is now less of an incentive to make the corner – if we make the sport too safe, we will see drivers attitudes towards racing change.

            2. True, but there needs to be some incentive not to crash into turn one.

              What about the incentive of making it to turn 2? Your comparison to F1 2017 is meaningless. You are far less concerned about crashing because your job, your career, your ability to pay bills are not riding on you making it to turn 2.

              You think and eSport pro has the same attitude as you? No they don’t.

            3. You are presenting a fallacy, nobody is complaining about a car´s safety cell, they are complaining about the Halo which everybody knows is not enough to prevent the most recent series of fatal or serious injuries and represents, instead, the thin end of the wedge where when another incident occurs, inspite of the halo being installed, a call for closed cockpits is then demanded.

            4. @matt

              which everybody knows is not enough to prevent the most recent series of fatal or serious injuries

              Ummm, what series of injuries? there haven’t been any from memory! Bianchi was a procedural error which has been changed with the Virtual Safety car and Massa’s was a one off approaching 10 years ago which the Halo will do nothing about anyway.

              This is why Halo is unnecessary, there is no need for it in F1 as there is not a head protection issue in F1.

        2. That is a lot to derive from two sentences. I couldn’t care less for open or closed cockpit if the racing is good. Heck put a canopy over them. I think Lauda speaks the truth, but I don’t think installing a device to protect your head is removing risk. You crash at 300kph against a wall and the canopy does exactly nothing for you. The spectacle comes from good close racing and the current spec struggles to deliver that, with the DRS and wider cars who can barely get the space to overtake without touching wheels.

          Football has zero risk in it apart from tearing a ligament and millions watch it. Competition makes the spectacle interesting, not only the chance that you see someone die from a blow to the head.

        3. +1000


        4. Well said.

        5. Lauda’s words were taken out of context. He’s just being nostalgic for thrill while envying the safety improvements that weren’t there before his accident.

          Oh and it’s called open-WHEEL racing not open-cockpit racing for a reason. Put a bulletproof windshield over their heads already… that way we get the best drivers in the world in F1 instead of only the best morons who want to risk their lives.

          1. @sihrtogg No they were not. Paragraph two gives the context of Lauda’s comments.

            1. “People do sometimes like to see accidents to see where the limits are. But as long they’re able to get out safe I think this is what we have to achieve.”
              English might not be the best language for Lauda to express himself in. What I take from it is that he likes to see close racing on the limit that will result in a coming together / punctures / broken wings / crash (you could call any of these an ‘accident’ on the public road), but without physical injury for the driver. Lauda likes hard racing, as long as the drivers get out safe!

              Framing Lauda’s remarks as if he thinks increased driver safety is bad for F1 contradicts the quote below:
              “(…) we didn’t want our wife to come to the race and bring us home in a coffin. This was a different era and thank god Formula One got much safer that this problem is reduced to nothing and I think it’s good for the sport.”

    4. William B Davis
      12th October 2017, 10:34

      I don’t really care to be honest. F1 is F1…

      Halo means it effectively has lost its essence and will be a reason I become even less interested in it. It has (like pretty much everything else in this world) become completely homegnesised, standardised and generally turned into an asinine waste of time.

    5. Disagree. Increased safety = increased risk-taking = hopefully closer racing.

      1. I would disagree with this entirely. Two points:

        *I don’t see how increased risk taking has any bearing on the closeness of the racing
        *Increased safety of the cars/circuits can sometimes have to opposite effect. Some of the older drivers believe the younger drivers who have grown up in the GP2 era have adopted some very dangerous driving techniques due to the improved safety of the circuits and cars, namely driving a full speed through run-offs and re-entering the track. I’ve also spoken to someone fairly high up in motorsport who believes a certain amount of perceived ‘danger’ makes a brilliant deterrent for the drivers and forces them to behave accordingly.

        A good ‘real-life’ example of this is a street in London where there’s no designated pedestrian path and very relaxed rules regarding crossings etc. You leave everyone to look after themselves, and generally people will. We’re so used to such a heavily policed environment, that to strip it back heightens our sense of danger and makes us behave with caution.

        1. Great post Dan, I could not agree with you more !
          Please stopping wrapping F1 in cotton wool Jean Todt yes I am speaking to you !

        2. It’s quite clear that the drivers take much more risks then at the time when they were likely to get killed after making a mistake.

          How often do we not hear/read from old generation drivers that current drivers are reckless and do things they would never have done in their time.

          You don’t dive for a gap which is potentially not going to exist by the time you get there when you might die trying.

    6. Jonathan Parkin
      12th October 2017, 10:53

      I do prefer a safe F1, I don’t want to see a race where a driver or support worker is killed. I taped over my recording of the 2001 Australian race for this reason. That being said there are things I would do to give drivers more of a challenge. The first I have whined about enough, the second is painted lines on street circuits. It’s established practice to remove them from certain parts of the circuit but I would leave them alone. This is what they do in series like Formula E

    7. The thing is, when you drive a machine at 300km/h if something goes wrong it can be really serious.

      Last weekend had Stroll tyre blown a bit sooner or in a different part of the track he would have went straight into a wall and the risk of serious injury was there.

      If formula 1 stops searching ways of improving safety, that aspect of the formula will stagnate while teams will still search for more performance. What will happen when in the year 2025 we have performance that matches state of the art technology but safety infrastructures from 2017? Both things should move forward at the same time. If a fan is not interested in the racing aspect of a series it should search for other froms of intertainment, destruction derby comes to mind if wrecked cars is your thing.

      I find it a bit odd that Niki Laude, argues to stop research on safety, when he was close to being dead, but then says that if he had a choice he would prefer to race on today’s machinery.

      The danger aspect is a very beautiful argument, ask Jules’ family for example, they will tell you

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        12th October 2017, 12:56

        I thought he was going to say it was because the cars are faster now than 40 years ago, but he actually said he would have been safer in today’s cars

      2. @johnmilk But the discussion isn’t just about the safety of the cars and tracks for the drivers. It is about the fact that if you put them in bubble wrap people will not be enthralled to watch. I do take your point that if people aren’t enthralled enough in the racing itself they should find something else for their entertainment, and I think that’s Lauda’s point…they will leave and find something else. It seems to be human nature. Look at the number of extreme sports there are now…the lineups of people wanting to tackle Everest…the fact that thousands upon thousands get hurt or killed doing recreational skiing, or driving domestic cars. We haven’t regulated for domestic car drivers to wear helmets, and imagine how many lives would be saved doing that.

        In terms of 2025 performance on 2017 tracks? Firstly F1 famously curtails performance when they think it has gotten out of hand, and have even sped the cars up when they were too slow, just recently. But the tracks and cars are so darn safe now that at the moment yes the cars can stand to be quicker yet, and still be extremely safe, including without halos.

        Of course Lauda et al would have preferred to have raced now, for 50 times the money and a tiny fraction of the risk and psychological strife. But he is also saying go much further and nobody will come to see the bubble-wrapped ‘spectacle’ because it won’t be a spectacle. Drivers won’t make 50 times the money for practically no risk when the series is ‘destroyed’ to use his word.

        Hey I’m a racing fan so I don’t mind that the risk nowadays to a driver is ‘simply’ the risk of making mistakes and losing races and Championships, or even one’s seat on a team, and millions of dollars. They’re still on an edge, eking out grip at the very limits. But I think for many people and in many sports these professionals make it look easy, and you have to really try to put yourself in their shoes as you’re watching, or it won’t be enthralling for many.

    8. It’s a difficult one. I 100% understand why F1 are taking this approach but I also 100% understand why fans will stop watching F1 the worse it gets.

      If you watch a tight-rope walker go between two skyscrapers without a harness, it’s exciting to watch. They have to be perfect or else they’ll get hurt and it makes you think “wow – I couldn’t do that.” If you watch the same person practice 5ft above a big net in a gym, it’s not the same. It’s like Russian Roulette except you know there aren’t any bullets – why bother?

      With the health & safety laws we have these days though, F1 is doing what it has to. They have to protect the health and safety of everyone “so far as is reasonably practicable” which means if something went wrong, they’d have to stand up in front of a judge and justify how a potential solution was too expensive or too difficult to implement. I don’t like it but the halo is neither of those things and I wouldn’t want to stand in front of a judge and say “we did nothing because it looked rubbish.”

      1. Thing is they haven’t done “nothing”. They have done a lot. They have done enough. Where is the line?

        This solution retires open cockpit racing. Is this reasonable?

        The answer probably is that society (or our cowardly masters more accurately) have become too sanitized to accept what little risk is left. Pathetic.


        1. I mean, changing FR cars to MR or having races dominated by closed-wheel W196s or abandoning the real Spa, Nurburgring, and Hockenheimring was OK (where were you then?), but the halo is not, right?

          1. You got it.

            That’s my line. Where is yours?

    9. A bigger risk to F1 is a single team dominating for years on end: yawn, lose interest, find other motorsports to watch (in that order). I remember the red bull years which have thankfully ended.

      The halos don’t really bother me..certainly not going to stop watching because of that.

    10. Niki was always a practical philosopher, if you want a reality check…he’s always on it!

      1. However Lauda admitted we would prefer to have raced in modern Formula One. “I would not have burned my ear, I would not have damaged myself at all, and I would have 50 times more money,” he said. “I would prefer to race today if I had the option, but I don’t have the option.”

        Made me grin!

    11. The kind of safety that would kill the sport is if the cars never went out of track, never spun out, and consequently never hit anything to get damaged. This has nothing to do with drivers’ safety, because everybody wants them to be safe. It’s the cars, we want to see them as something uncotrollable, wild, which just might be the only thing that goes through the TV screen and convinces us that they are indeed fast.

    12. Its actually a dangerous time in f1 (ironically).

      We have middle aged men who have never raced making decisions on when we go racing. We have 4 hour hold ups because there is a patch of standing water on a track. We have ‘you lost me on, Halo’ because some poor guy in a completely different series with no wheel tethers is shown on youtube being hit by a tyre . We have manufacturers wanting to parasite the brains in f1 to fast track electric, the next Diesel if ever I saw it. The manufacturers will then jump ship as soon as it suits them/theres an economic downtown and f1 will be left with electric cotton wool cars and no spectacle.

      Yes its actually a dangerous time.

    13. “We were always alone, basically, because we didn’t want our wife to come to the race and bring us home in a coffin. This was a different era and thank god Formula One got much safer that this problem is reduced to nothing and I think it’s good for the sport.”

      Nina Rindt not seen at a race track timing her husband’s lap times. Just like most driver’s wifes/girlfriends never did that at all.

      Lauda is not quite accurate with this statement. He doesn’t seem so alone here. It’s fine to have an opinion, but why overdramatise? Girlfriends and wifes have been hanging around race tracks for a very long time.

      1. I thought much the same in response to that. For some drivers it was entirely normal for their partners to be at the circuits. Many of them, like Nina Rindt, did timekeeping for the teams.

        1. I take your point on that, but perhaps in fairness far fewer wives and children were there, but even moreso the ones who were there were likely carrying far more worry and concern internally, just as the drivers had to back then. Perhaps some of the wives ‘needed’ to be there out of love and support but wished their husbands would do something else. But sure, they might have also had some of the same, ‘it won’t happen to me’ kind of built-in human psychological shielding we have regarding many things in our lives, and that the drivers surely had to have.

        2. And brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, pets, famous friends .???

          I think not and though many girlfriends wives did go, many stopped after a big accident.

    14. To me, the whole the safer the better thing will never work.

      You need to find the perfect medium. With the amount of run offs, driver safety, helmet technology, barrier technology, and so on, F1 as is, before the halo comes in, is perfect. Any deaths would be a freak accident, and trying to solve a freak accident, eventually there is no end.

      What bugs me the absolute most in all of this, is the nature of motorsport and safety. In most sports, if a new rule is in play at the top level, feeder and junior series follows suit very fast. You cant really do that in Motorsport, which is why to me the halo doesn’t work. You can’t just stick a halo on a F4 car, or a Formula Vee car. But what about them? What about Billy Mongor? Why does that happen in a junior car, but would never happen in F1. Sure, driver quality is different, and yes, the funds are there. But that’s what sucks about the halo (at least for me). The safest form of Motorsport, is now getting bubble wrapped.

      If it was Indycar pushing this first, different story. Its a different animal, you can’t just say but its an open wheel. Its an open wheel, with less development put into it, higher oval speeds, much, much more dangerous. If F1 raced in ovals, I’d say put the halo on.
      But we have the most safest race cars, on the safest race tracks, with some of the best quality drivers, best quality teams, officials, marshals. And now there’s the halo.

      It’l always be a no from me.

      1. Just because other formulas are too dangerous means F1 drivers should also not be safe? Weird logic.

        You need to find the perfect medium. With the amount of run offs, driver safety, helmet technology, barrier technology, and so on, F1 as is, before the halo comes in, is perfect.

        So if there are no run offs anymore and we go back to 1995 helmet technology it’s okay to have halo then?

        So according to you an F1 driver needs a 0.0316% chance (I made this number up) to die during a race, if it’s any less it’s not perfect anymore? Really what’s the downside of Halo again? It’s ugly? It’s not ‘the way it’s supposed to be’? Please tell me because it sounds like you’re just being conservative here. Keeping things the way they are is always the best! (<- sarcasm)

    15. The first thing that came to my mind was the accident that all but ended Nikki’s career: the ’91 Lauda Air plane crash. Death is simply not acceptable and any industry like this can’t justify it. People’s lives are worth more than that.

      For me, danger of injury is something I can live with, and we still have that. Danger of death is not.

      1. Nothing is totally safe. You are completely unrealistic and I bet that you don’t take zero risks of death in your own life (ever get in a car?)

    16. Michael Brown (@)
      12th October 2017, 13:00

      Personally, I don’t think mortal danger is a big part of the spectacle. Closed cockpit or not, it’s still dangerous at Monaco at those speeds. That’s fine with me.

      Either way, I don’t think F1 should stop with researching safety. The cars are going to change and the safety needs to change with them.

    17. Does anybody else read quotes from Niki Lauda in his voice? As I’m reading this story I can hear his voice in my head

    18. I don’t see how the Halo will somehow make F1 any less spectacular than it currently is or make the drivers seem less brake or whatever than they currently do.

      The Halo improves safety in one specific area, Just like the higher cockpit sides did before it. Driving an F1 car at the speeds they go at will still be spectacular & will still be dangerous.

      The things I love about F1 (And Motor Racing in general) is the speed, technology, good racing & the spectacle of watching these cars be driven hard around some amazing circuits by some of the best drivers in the world. I fail to see how the Halo changes any of that so while yes its rather ugly it’s not going to stop me watching because none of the real important things are going to be affected by it.

    19. Formula One fans “will lose interest” in the sport if it pushes too far with its safety agenda, Niki Lauda has warned.

      Where I live people had to stay up to midnight to watch the start of races, and they did. You could tell it was very popular. This was in the era when F1 was on Free to Air TV. I don’t know why F1 loves having its races behind the paywall, but I am quite F1 has lost far more fans because of the paywall than it has lost by having increased safety. If Indy car can put their entire qualifying session and race on Youtube, then why can’t F1?
      When we discuss a topic like Halo it is obvious some fans feel it is a step too far, while others are okay about it, but the common point both agree on is they love watching races. Whether or not fans will loose interest because of less life costing crashes, that should be their choice.

      1. I’m not convinced F1 ‘loves being behind a paywall’ but it is a well known fact, as BE has even admitted it several times, his mandate in F1 had become to make as much money for CVC as possible, and I’m sure the long term health of the sport was not the main concern. It was always going to be a relatively quick in and out for them, and BE was far nearer the sunset of his career than the dawn.

        Now for Liberty, they have inherited contracts so have had no choice but to run with things and put their twist in the plot as time goes along. I’m not trying to suggest Liberty wouldn’t go for paywalls too, and won’t stay with them, but I think they are at least taking a good hard look and analyzing what to do going forward, which is something I doubt BE/CVC cared to do. They sound like they’ll stay with paywalls but will also introduce more options. I think they should keep paywalls with enhanced coverage for those who wish to pay for that, but have lesser but still sufficient free-to-air or You Tube coverage for those who don’t, so that everyone globally has at least some access to the races. Not sure if that is possible though, as paywall vendors might insist on exclusivity if they are going to put all the effort into enhancing the product to provide bang for the buck. But that will be up to Liberty to negotiate. I’m sure they have been and will continue to crunch the numbers on what is best.

    20. Safety is great. Stopping the racing is not.

      Track limits need to enforced by the consequences exceeding them – not decided by stewards. Cars and drivers should not be micro managed – limit info to when they pass the pits. Disconnect them from the factories with fia/fom supplied monitoring equipment in the garages (one terminal for each system) great cost savings right there without impacting car design – easily controlled and monitored too.

      Tyres should be harder and every team should have free choice of what run and when. They also should wear out not degrade as that’s proven to be stupid.

      I never want hear Max asking permission to give it the beans……

      Snap driver decisions in the face of danger make F1 and when they pull it off they become heros!! When crash you realise how brave they are.

      Make cars bullet proof the tracks a tightrope and cars handling on knife edge!!

    21. In my opinion F1 is more dangerous in some aspects now compared with 10 years or so ago. The cars are heavier and make more forces, both of which I imagine make for larger accidents, and the tyres are of worse quality, probably because of the intentional lack of competition against Pirelli. I also believe the driving standards are poorer, possibly because of the circuits implementing larger tarmac run-off areas leading to more daring manoeuvres from the drivers. You can get away with some of the dodgy manoeuvres you see in modern times but it is still dangerous even with the safety improvements.

      1. I disagree with your first point, but agree with the second (which I allude to on this topic somewhere).

        The reason I disagree with the first point is mainly due to the wheel tethers and the VSC. I think we really overlook just how incredible the wheel tethers are, and the impact (no pun intended) they’ve had on making motorsport safer for not just the driver, but for the trackside personnel, also.

        1. @ecwdanselby I wasn’t talking about F1 as a whole, just about some particular aspects, none of which were wheel tethers or the VSC. It is true that wheel tethers and the VSC make F1 safer, so some recent changes to F1 have improved safety as you say but some other changes, as I have said above, I believe have compromised safety.

    22. Making f1 less safer by not fixing the obvious safety issues will only mean more drivers getting injured and dying. F1 has had lots of close calls and some serious accidents with head impacts. To not fix the issue will make the fia look really bad when the bad accident finally happens and one of your star drivers dies or injures himself. It would be a criminal investigation and in the end fia would most probably be found guilty. The negative press coverage would seriously hurt f1’s image and would cause a lot of sponsors to leave.

      If f1 has a safety issue with being too safe then it is with runoff. F1 just needs more corners with less tarmac runoff and less corners that are flawed by design. Mexico’s and and russians first turn is a prime example what a complete failure in this area looks like. If a driver makes mistake he gains time!

      There is absolutely no point in trying to make the drivers decide whether f1 is safe enough for them or not. There is always going to be 20 drivers who would drive naked if that have them 0.1s better lap time. If we make safety drivers’ decision then there will be no safety because people want to win and if less safety means faster car then everybody are forced to run faster car because nobody would even hire a driver who would not drive anything else except the most unsafest and fastest thing they can string together. It would be an illusion of choice. In reality you either drive totally unsafe car or you go find other job. Drivers would die like flies.

      1. @socksolid

        Making f1 less safer by not fixing the obvious safety issues will only mean more drivers getting injured and dying. F1 has had lots of close calls and some serious accidents with head impacts.

        Not having Halo does not make F1 less safe than it is now and F1 hasn’t had “lots of close calls and some serious accidents with head impacts”. Other “less safe” series have, but not F1.

        1. I’d guess we live in alternate universes. I’ve seen some pretty close calls where the driver’s head has been almost hit by tires and cars. Alonso’s crash in 2016 melbourne, alonso-raikkonen in 2015 austria, flying debris on 2015 singapore, hulkenberg-ericsson in russia 2015…

    23. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      12th October 2017, 15:27

      There are obvious things that the FIA can make more safe – e.g walls or runoff areas or better medical protocols and facilities. Making the cars stronger is also important and the chassis are incredible – some of the front wings have been coming off a little too easy in my opinion lately.

      Ultimately it is meant to be a dangerous sport – let’s not forget the incredible bad luck of Schumacher who wasn’t injured in a record number of Gran Prix driving very dangerously in some, only to sustain a horrible injury while skiing with a helmet no less.

      F1 for him over his one of the longest racing careers proved to be much safer than skiing…

      I think the sport is very safe and needs to take marginal steps towards ensuring it gets safer – Bianchi’s accident at Suzuka race 3 years ago for instance is a situation that needs to be remedied.

      Another example of better safety could be better visibility of lights in rain conditions or perhaps a software warning of the driver approaching a car on track at a high velocity delta.

      As cruel as it was to see Hamilton lose the race at Baku to secure the headrest, it was the right call by the FIA as it’s impossible to foretell the outcome of the headrest coming loose.

    24. Striking the right compromise is what is ideal IMO. Like for instance the circuits today are just too safe with all this tarmac run-off area and conservative design. But the driver’s exposed head thanks to an open cockpit is a risk that F1 shouldn’t allow the drivers to have to take. A transparent canopy with the ideal technologies to keep it clean in the event of rain, bugs or otherwise would be ideals

    25. Stating this is as politically incorrect as anything can be, but people die -all the time- for truly horrible reasons, yet we pay so little attention. F1 drivers, my heroes, are however there by choice and as such I really don’t particularly care for the amount of cuddling we do to avoid a freak accident. It is an inappropriate use of resources for very little benefit.
      If you’re an F1 driver and the conditions feel unsafe, take your foot off the throttle and live longer… but as long as you choose to be an F1 driver, you are there to entertain with your superior skills and courage.
      On the whole: Stop spending resources on causes that risk trivializing a sport to death – and perhaps think about donating the funds to a cause that could actually save many-many more.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        12th October 2017, 17:36

        Interesting perspective for sure – an inexpensive shot can save a life in parts of the world or a surgery can rid a baby of a life-long deformity. Is it worth spending millions to save the life of a driver who are willing to take additional risks on their own?

        They’ve already made this sport so safe that the accidents sometimes defy belief when you watch drivers come out ready to go on as if nothing has happened. If drivers from the 1950s watched that, they would assume that it was a fatal accident.

        Perhaps if they developed technologies that could be make driving safe for all drivers, then you could justify the cost and investment.

    26. I don’t hear it often, but let’s remember that the FIA is mandating the halo due to liability exposure. They were/are being sued by Jules Bianchi’s family and want to mitigate future legal troubles. Personally, I think Lauda is correct in his assessment. F1 can make itself much less appealing by attempting to get rid of inherent risks to racing.

      Poor decisions being made by “business people”, rather than F1 experts.

      1. Yep, hole in one comment.

    27. Nikki is so slick. Saying that too much safety will destroy F1 is so smart because it draws ones attention from the real problem with F1 .
      It has gotten boring. It has great cars ,great tracks ,great drivers but, it is SO predictable that it is barely worth watch .
      We all know what is likely to happen well before it happens and what is more boring than that ?
      To make things worse the fact that F1 has become so predictable is partly Nikki’s fault , although no one can blame him for doing what he did because of all of the money he has made doing it. Given the chance we all would have done the same thing.
      Since the hybrid era began Mercedes has dominated the sport . .
      How many times has it been a Mercedes on the pole, a Mercedes takes the lead on the 1st lap and holds it for the entire race ? Far too many times and when the script is different it is never far from that original mold. We all know what will happen ( absent the odd misstep) so there is no need to watch , not with so much other motor sports and other sports available.
      Lets look at the history . About the year 2000 Mercedes began to develop its hybrid PU . After about a decade it went to the powers that be in F1 and said we will rejoin the circuit if you institute a PU formula using hybrids AND we think other manufacturers will follow us into F1 so… F1 said OK.
      That 10 year head start let Mercedes dominate and no one has come near to them since. Note that no other team thought to use a split-turbo except Mercedes and that system gave their cars more power with less drag . They had an advantage it because they thought about the issues in a hybrid PU for a decade or so while everyone else had less than 2 years .
      Now ask who owns a substantial piece( 10%) of the Mercedes F1 team ? Nikki .
      Like I said ” slick” and “smart” and as further evidence of how smart he is he wants us to take our eyes off the ball at look at the halo and other safety measure and conclude safety is what is boring not the fact that his cars can’t be beaten and that an F1 weekend is more of a “follow the Silver Arrow ” event than a race .
      My hat is off to Nikki but, while it is off.. I might as well go to sleep . Nothing is going to happen that I don’t already know is going to happen.
      For those who might be wondering about the mid-pack : remember there are only 3 podium spaces because after that no one really cares what happens .


      1. You can’t really blame Mercedes for the lack of parts and driver quality control at Ferrari…

    28. Might be right, might not be… No one wants to see senseless death even if they do want the danger of it.

      There’s a lot of money in F1, if it fails for whatever reason there will definitely be a lot to learn about why. If he is right, then so be it.

    29. Thank goodness they know for absolutely positively sure there will never be a fire with a unconscious driver. The halo proves that one.

    30. Remove the run-off zones, have more walls – that’s exciting. Keeping the cars unsafe – nothing exciting about that. When an accident happens I’m not hoping the driver is hurt.

    31. Safety is one of the most important thing and “too safety” doesn’t exist in F1.
      In my opinion rules should be:
      Principles F1 should follow: 1. safety 2. close racing 3. world’s fastest cars 4. efficiency 5. optimizing 1-4 points.The most fans want to see close racing among the best drivers in the fastest cars. How can we solve it? This is, decision makers and engineers should work for. I think it isn’t impossible.

    32. Everything we do mirrors the society we live in. I will leave it at that. ;-)

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