F1 looks set for a showdown between Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA over the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection system for 2017.
The drivers are split over whether the titanium device should be brought in, and Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko calls the concept “idiocy” in the context of spicing up the sport.
Now, F1 supremo Ecclestone has also raised his clear objection ahead of Thursday’s vote in Geneva of the strategy group.
“We don’t need it because it won’t do any good,” he told the Telegraph. “It could cause more damage than it’s going to save.”
This is totally at odds with F1’s governing body, after the FIA showed a detailed presentation of the benefits of Halo to the drivers in Hungary last weekend.
“The presentation was quite clear. The outcome was positive in all crashes,” said Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel.
Still, the sport appears totally split on the issue of Halo.
“I don’t like it,” Mercedes’ Toto Wolff told Stuttgarter Nachrichten newspaper, “but I still have not decided (how to vote).”
Ecclestone, however, is clear.
“Most of the drivers don’t want to see it. It’s a case of us and the teams will decide in the end,” said the 85-year-old.
If the teams vote no on Thursday, it is believed the FIA could overrule their wishes by invoking the safety argument.
Jenson Button agrees that it shouldn’t be the teams casting their vote.
“It’s a safety issue,” he said. “If the FIA decide it’s a safety issue, we should have it on the car.”
But Ecclestone hit back at opinions like Button’s. “They’ve got a small problem: they don’t own the teams and they don’t own the cars. If they (the drivers) don’t want to drive, they don’t have to.”