Todt: 'Sooner or later we knew that something would happen'

ยฉWRI

FIA president Jean Todt faced a tough opposition when the halo was introduced into F1, but never gave in, convinced its day of recognition would come.

The controversial cockpit safety device fulfilled its protective purpose during its first full-scale real life test at Spa last month, when Charles Leclerc was spared injury - or perhaps something worse - when Fernando Alonso's McLaren flew over the top of the Sauber, one of its wheels hitting Leclerc's halo.

For Todt, there's no doubting the amazing level of safety achieved by F1 in the past few decades, as there is no doubting what was at stake for motorsport before the halo's implementation.

"If you see Alonsoโ€™s crash in 2016, if you see Ericsson [last] Friday, you should spend some time and realise how amazing it has become and the progress that has been done. It is not taken for granted," Todt told Motorsport.com.

"A few decades back, after [crashes like] that, drivers would not be there.

"It would be a big pain, because what was acceptable 40 years ago would not be acceptable now. And it could maybe mean that motor racing would be banned. Things have changed. So we must consider that."

The president of motorsport's governing body dealt with fierce opposition when the halo was first considered, mainly from fans and drivers.

Imposing the safety element was a difficult process in terms of public relations, but Todt remained undeterred in the face of staunch criticism.

"Sometimes, the frustrating thing is that when it was done, they [drivers] were not so much convinced," added Todt.

"But in a way we respect what they do and they should respect what we try to do. We did it because we were convinced it was a good thing.

"And maybe you know, it changed a little bit the design of the car. But honestly I love racing, I love F1. I am not in shock when I see a car with the halo," added the Frenchman.

"My concern was, do they miss some visibility because of the halo? We did not want to introduce something where you improve some safety side, but you may jeopardise another one.

"And they did not have any concerns. So for me it was obvious. And sooner or later we knew that something would happen."

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