The three-time F1 champion says the recent halo criticism reminds him of the backlash he faced with his safety push in the 1960s.
Back in the 1960s, Jackie Stewart attempted to improve the safety of Formula 1, but it wasn’t met with positivity from many fans and people within the paddock.
It’s similar to the current situation with the planned introduction of the ‘halo’ cockpit protection device to F1, which is set to be introduced next season.
The reaction to the news from those within F1 and the fans has been extremely mixed, reminding Stewart of his safety push half a century ago.
He told Motorsport.com:
“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].
“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.”
He thinks the halo is necessary, as it’s important to focus on preventive methods when it comes to driver safety:
“Preventive medicine is considerably more important than corrective medicine. 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?”