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Stewart sees 'halo' as necessary pre-emptive measure

Jackie Stewart
©WRI2

Sir Jackie Stewart doesn't have a negative thing to say about F1's 'halo', considering the device as a important 'pre-emptive medicine' for the sport.

Beyond his outstanding achievements as a driver, Stewart's greatest contribution to motorsports was his relentless quest to improve safety in Grand Prix racing in the 1960s.

The great Scot's endeavour was not a popular one however as it often forced circuit owners to implement costly changes while Stewart also found himself at odds with some of his colleagues.

The negative comments about the 'halo' and its mandatory presence in F1 next season remind him of the backlash he received when he campaigned for improved safety back in the '60s.

The triple world champion believes however that fans and drivers should not condemn the introduction of a safety element which could save lives.

"My view is: if you can save a life and if some of these people – if they had been to as many funerals as I’ve been to and wept as much as I have and seen close friends die [they wouldn’t object]," he told Motorsport.com.

"That’s all finished because we’ve got technology that’s taken away that.

"I’m afraid I don’t have a negative of the Halo. I read correspondent’s columns that [say] ‘this is the end of Formula 1 for me, I’m out of it, I can’t stick with this.’

"Well that was like people saying ‘Jackie Stewart’s going to kill motorsport’ because of track safety.

"I think that you have to have as much safety as you can find and to think that you are destroying motorsport and Formula 1 – I mean, the full-face helmet was criticised because you couldn’t see the driver’s face so much."

George Russell (Mercedes) testing a new version of the Halo cockpit protection device at the Hungaroring - August 2 2017.

Stewart believes that relying on luck to avoid tragedies is the wrong approach, with pre-emptive measures the way to go.

"Preventive medicine is considerably more important than corrective medicine," he said.

"Corrective medicine is [also] considerably more expensive than preventive medicine.

"The Halo, in my opinion, [is necessary] because Henry Surtees got killed – not by his wheel but by somebody else’s – well, that can happen any time.

"That was just bad luck – but why depend on luck?"

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