Ferrari F1 Tests New Semi-Closed Cockpit, Looks Like Face Thong

We’ve been calling for safer racecars. Here’s Formula 1’s half-baked solution.

byBrendan McAleer|
F1 photo

Formula 1 racing is more dangerous than it needs to be, and its sanctioning body, the FIA, has had enough. Perhaps as a result of tragic death of Jules Bianchi from head injuries sustained during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, the FIA is moving towards a closed cockpit design, one shielded against debris. And, naturally, they're doing so in the most F1 way possible. Which is to say: Stupid, dumb, and ugly.

Spotted testing at the Circuit Catalunya in Barcelona, Kimi Räikkönen's Ferrari appears to have been refashioned into a giant flip-flop. The Halo, a device first championed by Mercedes and now being considered by several F1 teams, is a carbon-fibre ring that loops around in front of the driver, with a single central post. It's said not to impair vision despite a single centrally-mounted post.

Let us not fetishize the danger of motorsport: Too many greats have already fallen in F1, and unnecessary risks need to be reduced. Heroics are found in the athleticism of the drivers, not in the chances they take. Skill and courage should be tested against speed and the competition, not against the specter of death.

However, that shouldn't mean the cars should look like Thong Song. Resisting the closed canopy for F1 is just clinging to tradition for tradition's sake. Heritage must be honored, but this is meant to be the most advanced racing series in the world. Instead, it's increasingly made to look like a poorly-run circus, especially when measured against the spaceships running at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and World Endurance Championship series.

F1 cars could look so good with proper clear canopies. They could look like incredible ground-borne F-16 Falcons. They could look like this:

And this:

Instead, the sport's trying to sell us a slow, wheezy, penis-faced beach sandal wrapped in mediocre livery on feeble tires. Lose the Halo, F1, and get a clue.