Daniel Ricciardo is confident racing will not suffer and drivers will still get the same thrill out of driving a Formula 1 car when the Halo is introduced next season.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix marked the final race of the current generation of open-cockpit F1 cars before additional protection in the form of the Halo is implemented in 2018. While the aesthetics of the device has led to a lot of dissent, the FIA forced the change through on safety grounds and Ricciardo says racing will still carry risks that make it spectacular even with the addition.
“I think there’s been very mixed feelings between drivers and within the media and among fans,” Ricciardo said. “It doesn’t look as nice as how the cars look now, but I think when the cars changed between 2008 and 2009 they also didn’t look very good but people got used to it, and then it became normal to have the tall and narrow rear wings even though it was a very strange Formula 1 car.
“I think people will get over Halo quite soon, and it’s more to save the freak accidents and if any part of the car flies off it can stop a fatality. I think people forget, and it’s easy when there hasn’t been one for a couple of years – people say it’s all fine and safe, but every time something happens it highlights the dangers.
“It won’t change the adrenaline of the sport, the excitement, all it’s really doing is protecting us from a freak accident and the racing will still be the same. The risks we take are still the same, so I don’t see any real big change. For the fans, it’s only the look they will need to adjust to but the racing shouldn’t change one bit.”
Sebastian Vettel agreed with Ricciardo’s comments that observers will get used to the change, and the four-time world champion expects the aesthetics to be improved over time.
“The cars will look different next year,” Vettel said. “Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand I think it’s something that we all get used to. It’s no doubt that the cars look better the way they are now but I’m sure that we’ll get used to it and we’ll work on the aesthetics, so it will look fine as well. So, in the end it’s probably less of a big deal.”