Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff gave very different assessments of the new Halo safety system when asked about it at the launch of the team’s new car.
Asked if he was impressed with what he’d seen of the structure Wolff said he’s “not impressed with the whole thing and if you give me a chainsaw I would take it off.”
“I think we need to look after the drivers’ safety but what we have implemented, this is definitely not appealing,” he continued. “We need to come up with a solution which simply looks better.”
“It’s a massive weight on the top of the car, you screw up the centre of gravity massively with the thing and as much as it’s impressive to look at the statistic that you could put a bus on top, this is a Formula One car, whether you put a bus on top or not.”
However Wolff endorsed the work which had gone in to ensuring Halo offers a step forward for driver safety.
“The FIA has very thoroughly conducted all kind of test and possible scenarios,” he said. “And overall the Halo makes it much more safe for the driver.”
“Where there is scenarios where a drivers is trapped, probably very few scenarios exist, but overall it is safer with the Halo than without the Halo.”
Hamilton, who described F1’s final race without Halo in 2017 as ‘the last time the cars will look good’, said Mercedes had done the best they could to improve the appearance of the device.
“Honestly I think the team have done a great job to integrate it and make it look as nice as it can look,” he said.
“It’s a fact, something we’ve known for some time is coming. It’s the beginning of the season, I think it’s the beginning of the season, I think after a few races we’ll forget it’s even there.”
“We’ll look at the old car and think it’s so dated. This is the new one now, I’m sure it’s only the first step of evolution and development for this safety safety level. But it is heavy, the cars are getting heavier. It’s a big car, but it’s streamlined as much as it can be.”
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2018 F1 season
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