DEREK WARWICK BRDC president
“Some of the excitement of F1 has been eroded by safety issues over the years. Do we have to do the safety work? Of course, but F1 is about an open-wheel car that’s the most difficult car in the world to drive, driven by the best drivers on the planet. Why are the TV viewing figures down? Because there’s not enough overtaking and not enough noise. The sport and its drivers have lost the feeling of gladiators driving racing cars. We need to find a way back to that and soon.
That’s not to say F1 isn’t any good. When I watched the race in Singapore, you could really see that these cars are the best in the world, but I feel that gradually we are losing some of the essence of what makes the sport great. We have to be vigilant and make sure we maintain a level of excitement that keeps the fans on board. Speaking specifically about the halo, I think that F1 as a whole is at fault for its introduction. All of the testing should have conducted behind closed doors. Once it made an appearance, then, for insurance reasons alone, the sport was left with no option but to implement it. Imagine if we had a serious crash and the sport hadn’t introduced an existing solution that could have prevented an injury or fatality: the repercussions would be huge.
We went down a road we never should have gone down and that’s because we have not specifically regulated F1 as an open-cockpit formula. It’s a difficult balance. We can’t make Formula 1 too vanilla. If you make it too bland, we will lose fans. But on the flip side, you have to ask whether the halo device will save lives. The answer is almost certainly ‘yes’, so, whether we like it or not, it has to be implemented.”