Christian Horner says Formula One’s Strategy Group decided to vote against the introduction of the Halo cockpit protection system in 2017 because it felt there are still “an awful lot of unanswered questions”.
Halo has been splitting opinions since Ferrari first sampled it during this year’s pre-season testing but the FIA was pushing to have the device on 2017 cars. According to Sebastian Vettel, most drivers had come to agree to race with Halo next year.
However, F1 bosses eventually decided to postpone the introduction of frontal cockpit protection, arguing that more testing was needed.
“Everybody wants to see safety improved and of course the safety of the drivers is paramount,” Horner told Sky Sports F1. “The feeling with the Halo is that there are some benefits but they are an awful lof of unanswered questions. It had only done a couple of installation laps with a couple of drivers.
“What it needs is a really thorough investigation, analysis and testing before we introduce a system like that probably for 2018 and making sure we are not actually introducing anything that could cause some other risks as well.
“[What about] visibility going up the hill in Eau Rouge? Would something actually be deflected off the rim, like Felipe Massa’s accident [at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix]? Would that have hit his torso? It’s all those questions that it poses, and that really need answering before introducing a system like that.
“The common consensus in the room is that we have to do something but it has to be well-conceived, well though-out, researched, developed, rather than just bolting something on that we all have very little experience of.”
Horner also ruled out the possibility of seeing the FIA force the introduction of Halo for next year on the grounds of safety.
“I don’t think they can. We have run out of time after [Thursday]. In terms of the design [for 2017] really we needed an answer by the end of this month. That has now been postponed to 2018, so 2018 is the earliest it will come.
“To introduce an immature system that could be introducing other issues that have not been fully researched, has not been tested - only two drivers and one test driver have done an installation lap with this system - how on Earth could you bring a system for all teams and drivers next year?”