The safety of Formula 1 came under a magnifying glass during and after the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Italy when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton crashed together. With the halo that often saved the day, former Formula 1 driver John Watson suspects that some of the current drivers are becoming complacent.
Simply put, John Watson thinks that current Formula 1 drivers take more risks than drivers from earlier eras, prompted by the increased safety of the sport. Formula 1 introduced the halo in 2018 and it has played a crucial role in preventing serious injuries several times, most recently at the Italian Grand Prix. Max Verstappen’s Red Bull slid over Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes there and hit the driver’s head, which would have been much more true if the halo hadn’t been there.
The FIA has since confirmed that an investigation into the accident is underway to see if any new lessons can be learned. John Watson, multiple Formula 1 Grand Prix winner in an era when fatal accidents in the sport were much more common, fears that drivers in 2021 bullet proof delusions by the tightened security measures.
“Drivers seem to be blind to the dangers, but no matter how safe these cars are, you can still get seriously injured,” he said in an exclusive interview with Fpal. “It seems that some of the younger drivers currently feel they are bulletproof simply because the cars have become safer.”
“That awe of fear and danger that we still felt in my time no longer exists. Now the thought prevails ‘nothing can happen to me, so I can do what I want,'” continues Watson, who thanks the halo for its added value: “Luckily this was a slow corner, but who what what would have happened if this had happened in every other corner.”
“The halo worked great. I can see very well what people have tried to do with the halo and what it has contributed to saving lives. I know Hamilton complained of neck pain and at first I thought he was feeling a bit like a wimpy, but now I understand very well why he wanted to be treated by a physiotherapist.”
“Had it not been for the halo, Hamilton could have had potentially life-threatening injuries,” said Watson, who labeled Verstappen’s move an “act of desperation”.