Max Verstappen fears that he and other taller drivers could be penalized by Formula 1’s new Halo due to the additional weight of the device.
“The Halo is quite heavy – I think it’s more than 6 kg [13lb],” said the Dutchman, who at 5’11” stands shoulder-to shoulder with teammate Daniel Ricciardo, Romain Grosjean and Marcus Ericsson, and a shade below Nico Hulkenberg [6’0″] and Esteban Ocon [6’1″].
“I think it’s definitely not favorable for me, but I’m not going to change my training for it, because otherwise I won’t feel well during the races. For me being a taller driver, and also a bit of a heavier driver than most, it’s definitely not ideal.”
The Red Bull driver is also not a fan of the device from an aesthetic standpoint, but said that he is heading into 2018 more concerned about whether the team can avoid a repeat of last year, when it began the new season with a clear performance deficit to its rivals due to wind tunnel correlation problems. Verstappen won two of the final six races as Red Bull closed the gap over the course of the season, but the Dutchman is keen to avoid a similar scenario this time around.
“The halo that will be very ugly – not looking forward to that,” he said. “I hope the [rest of the] car will look great. Hopefully it’s going to be fast. Hopefully it’s a good step forward that we get straight away; a really good car from the beginning of the year, and not really chasing like we did last year. That’s the most important for us.”
While Verstappen is clear about his desires for the new car, he is keeping an open mind about where things will stand once Red Bull begins to measure itself against Mercedes and Ferrari on the timing screens.
“We don’t know, because you don’t know how good of a job the team has done compared to the other teams,” he said. “At the moment, I have no expectations because you don’t really know where you are until you’re testing and actually until the first race, then you really know where you are.
“You always try to do the best you can, and I don’t need particular goals to motivate myself. Every race is a chance to win. Some of course are better than other tracks, but that’s what we have to find out with the new car.”