Hamilton: Halo a first step towards closed cockpit in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes the introduction of the Halo for 2018 will be the first step towards Formula 1 car cockpits becoming fully closed in the future.

Multiple drivers have voiced their negative opinion on the controversial decision by the FIA to implement the additional protection for next year, but the Mercedes driver has always more objective about the idea admitting at one point last year he'd be happy to race with the Halo.

Asked about the device on Thursday, Hamilton admits that while it is a major change that will be hard for many to accept, the benefits however small justify its implementation.

“I think the thing is it’s been talked about for some time so we knew it was coming,” he said.

“It’s a difficult one as when they introduced it, talked about it, they mentioned a 17 percent improvement in safety and it’s difficult to really ignore that.

“It definitely doesn’t look good, we know that we’ve said that.

“Also the weight of the cars goes up, the cars are already way too heavy, we have these little brakes trying to stop this heavy car, I just hope they do a better job and bring the weight down so when they put this thing on it doesn’t get heavier and harder to stop."

Ahead of the full-scale introduction next season, Hamilton admitted more running would be preferable to help drivers make the transition.

“We’ve all tested it but they should, for a couple of FP1s, [put it] on every single car and see how it goes, I don’t think it’s going to change their [the FIA’s] opinion.

“I think we’re moving towards a closed cockpit, I think that would look better, there’s some real great concepts online of a closed cockpit.”

Meanwhile, the FIA is also confident the aesthetic concerns that many have about the Halo can be addressed as the design is developed and due to the slight leeway that will be allowed to improve aerodynamics.

"I think teams haven't explored the full range of possibilities to make them look a little more pleasing to the eye," race director Charlie Whiting told the press on Thursday. "We've only seen the bare designs [so far] and even when Williams ran with a white one (see photo above) it looked a great deal better, I think you'll agree.

"Personally, I think fans will get used to it but there is a little bit of pushback at the moment. The possibilities the teams have will allow a 20mm distance from around the main tubes at the top in order for them to fit fairings. I think they will come up with some different designs. I don't think it will be quite as bad as you think."