Formula 1 has made a great deal of progress over the course of decades since motorsport’s inception in the 1950s. F1 has come a long way in terms of engines, machines, technologies, and driving. However, most of the crucial factors that have made racing more interesting and pushed the limits if the focus on safety. A lot of world-class drivers died in unsafe cars during the early stages of motorsport when safety was not really a major concern. Top drivers like Jim Clark and Ayrton Senna lost their lives while racing, and there have been so many more who lost their lives on the racing tracks.
However, F1 has changed significantly in terms of safety with modern technology like Halo and roll hoop protecting the drivers’ from any kinds of impacts and crashes. The most recent example of effective safety technology was seen during the British Grand Prix in Silverstone. The Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu was part of a horrible incident as his car slid through the gravel, made an impact with the barriers, and flipped into the fencing. However, the Chinese driver emerged out of his care alive and safe as he continued to race in the following race after being cleared by the medical staff. Halo was the technology that really saved Guanyu and so many drivers’ lives since its introduction in the sport in 2018.
The brains behind the Halo technology came from the Ferrari racing director Laurent Mekies, who brought the technology into F1. Mekies recently talked about the efforts it took to get Halo past the criticism and finally into the F1 car. The Ferrari director presented the data behind the working of the device before it was brought into effect in 2018. Since then, Halo has saved a lot of lives during tragic accidents. Mekies took a trip to memory lane recently and revealed his journey to bringing Halo into Formula 1.
Ferrari Racing Director Talks About The Halo Struggles
Laurent revealed that many teams were concerned about bringing a cockpit protection system to F1. He claimed that every single person was against the idea at the start due to the part’s unpleasant aesthetics. Moreover, there were false feelings of adequate safety in the sport. And he was often asked the reason behind him pushing those boundaries. However, despite the negativity, Mekies remained focused on developing the technology. He added, “We pushed the boundaries. We wanted to be productive, we wanted to go to the next step.”
Laurent also reckoned that the then-FIA president Jean Todt was key to bringing the Halo into F1. The FIA had been looking for protective systems after the tragic death of John Surtees’ son Henry in 2009. Mekies insisted that they took the FIA’s work over the years. Then, they turned it into the Halo with the help of the teams and groups. Laurent concluded, “But ultimately, it comes from the top. It comes from the incredibly strong push from Jean Todt.”