Toto Wolff would cut off the mandatory Halo with a chainsaw given the chance.
Mercedes launched the W09 on Thursday at Silverstone, the sixth team to unveil its car which features the Halo after the FIA forced through the cockpit protection device on safety grounds. Despite the concept originally being suggested by Mercedes, Wolff has urged the FIA to come up with a better-looking solution as soon as possible.
“I’m not impressed with the whole thing and if you give me a chainsaw I would take it off,” Wolff said. “I think we need to look after the driver’s safety but what we have implemented is aesthetically not appealing. We need to come up with a solution that simply looks better.
“It’s a massive weight on the top of the car, you screw up the centre of gravity massively. As much as it’s impressive to look at the statistic that you could put a bus on top, this is a Formula 1 car.”
The FIA has already stated it is looking at improving the aesthetics of the Halo when developing a second version while also monitoring the windscreen tested by IndyCar, and Valtteri Bottas says it doesn’t have a major impact from a driver’s point of view after testing the W09 for the first time.
“It was OK,” Bottas said. “It’s definitely…no Halo or Halo, you can spot the difference. When you’re running it all the time and it’s fixed, it is what it is. For me, in those laps I did, it wasn’t causing any issues for me. No problem with visibility.
“It is more difficult [to climb out], definitely, and it takes a bit more time, but with practice you will definitely get better at it. At least now it’s the proper Halo, because previously we’ve been trying mock-up Halos and you can’t really lean on those or grab those. This one is strong enough to grab it and get out of the car.”