F1, halos and inconsistent rules

A lot has happened in F1 since my last post on the subject. With Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas the 3 main contenders for the World Title this year, the sport has at least changed in the sense that it is no longer a Mercedes snooze-fest, at least for the moment.

But two of the more hot topics of conversation lately have been the introduction of halo devices on cars starting from 2018 and the blatant and annoying inconsistency of stewarding rules.

Let’s start with the one that has gotten the community in a teasy. The helao device has been officially made mandatory on next year’s cars. In case you’ve missed it, it looks something like this. The two biggest problems people have had with the halo is that it looks ugly and no team was in favor of this solution, other than Ferrari. Others however were in favor of this device mostly because it should help with protecting the drivers from flying debris, and with accidents such as Felipe Massa’s and Jules Bianchi’s, it’s understandable that such protection be put in place. The only gripe I have with this is that I think there would have been other, better solutions. And also, Jules Bianchi’s fatal accident was more down to organizer incompetence, with them NOT releasing a Safety Car in those wretched conditions and them having a bloody tractor in the middle of the gravel trap. I’m not against driver protection, but maybe next time, implement a solution that most people agree on? I don’t know, just saying.

The second topic of conversation I see tossed around is the inconsistency of stewarding rules, and boy was that obvious in yesterday’s race. Some 3 races ago, Sebastian Vettel intentionally rammed into Lewis Hamilton because he thought that Lewis had brake-checked him before the safety car restart. Seb then received a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for his actions. Fast-forward to yesterday’s Hungarian Grand Prix and you have Max Verstappen making an honest mistake and being too optimistic and as a result, he took out his team mate. So what did the stewards do? Deemed it a racing incident, which it was, albeit caused by a silly move on Max’s part? No, they gave him a 10 second time penalty. Which in truth is not as bad as a stop and go penalty, but to give him 10 seconds for that is just…a joke. Mostly because there were other incidents which, for the time being, have been warranted no further action (Nico Hulkenberg vs. Kevin Magnussen comes to mind, although those two seem to have sorted it out by themselves afterwards).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that this inconsistency in rule applying and rule making is making F1 fans angry. Sometimes justified, sometimes not, but there needs to be a rule book with more consistent rules that are applied in the same manner for all drivers. Because at this point, it’s like drivers are on “Wheel of Penalty”, in which for a racing incident a wheel is spinned and the result is then applied to the driver. One can only hope. And no, saying you’re giving up on F1 is not the solution I have in mind.