Lewis Hamilton slams new halo head protection device as new design splits opinion in the paddock
Formula 1’s new halo cockpit protection device split opinion between the sport’s top drivers after making its public debut in Barcelona.
Ferrari brought a prototype design to the final two days of running at the Circuit de Catalunya for both Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel to briefly try. The FIA is intent on bringing in some form of driver head protection for 2017 onwards, with the halo design being the current frontrunner to be implemented.
Ferrari’s device was simply a prototype design, so ran without the hinged system a final fixture would have to allow drivers easier access to and from the cockpit.
The system received the biggest criticism from triple world champion Lewis Hamilton, who posted a photo on Instagram of Raikkonen’s car with the device, along with the message: “Please no! This is the worst looking mod[ification] in F1 history. I appreciate the quest for safety but this is F1, and the way it is now is perfectly fine.” He later added: “I hope we have an option to use it or not because I will not be using it.”
Raikkonen quashed initial concerns over the device limiting drivers’ field of vision after his first run, insisting there was little difference.
Vettel backed the design: “I agree it doesn’t look very nice, but if it helps safety and save lives – there would be at least two drivers who would still be around, Henry Surtees and Justin Wilson, if we had this system.”