Everyone is currently losing their minds over the fact that Formula 1 will be implementing the Halo for 2018. While I will agree it is not the most aesthetically pleasing instrument to look at, I will argue to the death that aesthetics shouldn’t matter.
Look, the Halo is grotesque. I get it. Most of us look at Formula 1 cars like a supermodel, with all the right curves. But just like supermodels, our expectations are met with harsh reality. We are asking Formula 1 to do the impossible. We have hit a point where performance can no longer be matched by beauty, and we are doing the entire series a disservice by keeping that trend.
With Formula 1 being hailed as the pinnacle of motorsports it should have one job and one job only, going fast. That means the shark fins, and the silly noses and any other crazy idea they can come up with should be allowed, regardless of how ‘appealing’ it is. This is a competition of speed after all, not a beauty contest. So how does the Halo tie into all of this? Well for starters it’s a safety measure that could potentially save lives. This alone should be a good enough reason to use it until something more efficient and aesthetically pleasing can be developed.
I know a lot of people see canopies as the answer. Well, we were greeted with a harsh reality this last round when Sebastian Vettel tried the new windscreen concept for the first time, but was forced to leave before the session was over because it made him ill. The reality is looking through curved glass with that much peripheral stimuli could easily make anyone sick, and Vettel is the perfect example of such.
So with glass solutions out we are left with but only one option, the Halo. As a fan of the sport we should be embracing it, not condemning it. Who here would rather a racer get seriously hurt or killed for the sake of it looking a little bit better? I know I wouldn’t. If anything the implications of the Halo being put into use will be nothing but positive. After practical race usage they may find a much better way to solve this problem and one that doesn’t look as bad, but we won’t know unless we start now.
Styling should never be a dictating factor for a sport like Formula 1. They need to stop trying to sell Formula 1 on its aesthetics at a stand still and focus on their performance at full clip, and part of that equation is driver safety. Innovation is not always pretty, look at the picture above for proof of that. But from bad ideas come great ones. Think back over Formula 1’s history and you will see a dozen examples that by today’s standards are ‘ugly.’ Yet everyone of those terrible ideas has impacted the sport in one fashion or another, it’s about time the Halo gets its chance to change things for the better.