Palmer: You cannot put a bubble around the drivers

Date published: August 11 2017

Jolyon Palmer believes F1 shouldn’t try to “put a bubble” around the drivers as the sport pushes ahead with plans to introduce Halo in 2018.

Next season the Formula 1 cars will all carry the cockpit protection device, which has divided opinion in the paddock.

Palmer is one driver who is against it despite seeing the FIA’s presentation on Halo and how they believe it could have saved Henry Surtees who was killed by a loose wheel in a Formula 2 race.

“I have to take onboard what they say. I have not experienced it but it should help,” he said.

“Maybe we’ve been very lucky, but for 60, 70 years in Formula 1, there has not been a fatality because of that reason.

“Maybe it could not happen in the future. I am not ignoring the risk because I have raced every time knowing there’s a bit of risk.

“But you cannot put a bubble around the drivers. There’s always going to be some problems.”

And Palmer is well aware of the risks as he was competing in that Formula 2 race at Brands Hatch in 2009.

“I was literally the car ahead of Henry, and saw the wheel that hit him in my live view. At the time, I didn’t even imagine that could happen to be honest,” he said.

“I was a young, naive, racing driver. When that happened then of course it surprises you that there is actually some danger in motorsport, but I’ve carried on racing in my career for eight years and not had a worry at all about that, and that incident couldn’t have happened closer to me.

“I am not naive or disrespectful to that. I just think the whole essence of single-seater racing is open top and I think Henry’s incident, we were racing on Brands GP, there were very fast corners, very little run-off, we were doing high speeds.

“The wheel tethers, they were already up to FIA spec at the time and they got improved after that, in Formula One we have even stronger wheel tethers.

“I think the problems from F2 back then and in IndyCar with Justin [Wilson’s] incident, they’re not problems we experienced in modern Formula 1 circuits where you’ve got huge run-offs at Copse or something.”

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