After the opening days of 2018’s Formula One pre-season, drivers and team bosses have had their say on various topics still dominating the debate around the Halo cockpit device. We’ve rounded up the best of them here.

On the view from inside the cockpit…

Lewis Hamilton: « You definitely notice it, you definitely lose some visibility with it. If you had 100 percent visibility [before] you’ve lost a certain percentage. But you just get used to it and as I started driving your mind learns to work around it.

« It doesn’t really affect you in corners. I think if there’s a car in the distance down the straight you can lose a little bit of that visibility of the car but i think it will become second nature at some stage. »

Fernando Alonso: « I know it’s quite a big thing from the outside — also for myself, when I see the pictures I see the Halo in the middle of the vision. But when while driving for whatever reason you are focused on long distance, you are not that focused on the middle part of the chassis.

« On the corners you are looking to the left and right of the pylon, so absolutely no problem so far. The biggest thing is getting in and out but you try to leave carefully from the garage, you usually have the light panel on top of the garage on top of the car, so there’s a little bit less space there. So far I think the Halo is not a problem for driving. »

Kimi Raikkonen: « It was no different than, say, normal running. I didn’t find any issues last year and now, especially that it has been designed into the car – last year we obviously just put an extra thing in the car that was not designed for it, so it was never going to fit in as nicely as this year. It’s not an issue. »

Kevin Magnussen: It’s very annoying. Ugly. Difficult to get into the car, difficult to get out f the car, difficult to get the steering wheel on and off, just awkward and annoying.

« Once you get into the corner it’s fine because you look to the sides and left and right of the pillar in the middle so it’s not a problem visually to see the corner, but it distracts your eye when you change directions like chicanes and you have to move your vision across the pillar, it’s a little bit distracting but it isn’t any concerns as such. »

Nico Hulkenberg: « You do kinda forget about it, I did one day Abu Dhabi test so knew already what it would be like. It doesn’t affect me driving to be honest, not visually, not in any other way, so for me it’s pretty transparent to have it on. No issue. »

On seeing the start lights when sat on the grid now…

Valtteri Bottas: « We’ve done some testing examples inside the simulator where the Halo is identical on many different circuits and it was no problem on any circuit for the start lights. You can always see them with one eye and that’s enough.

« Otherwise in the car when you are sitting there you only see the centre pillar and a small part of the wider one but you are not looking there anyway. It’s straight ahead. It’s a small thing in the middle and that’s it, I’m completely used to it and it’s fine. It took a little bit of time to get used to it but its ok. It’s not been disturbing anything and there’s been some footage I’ve seen with the visor cam and it doesn’t really look like how we see it from the inside. We only see what’s forward and the small central things. »

On getting in and out of a car with Halo…

Robert Kubica: « Once you are in the car, it is a bit of a challenge, but it is not a problem at all. Once you have to get out of the car it is a bit of an issue. After the first race in Australia I will go to the end of pit lane to laugh at how the people will get out of the car when they are tired. Australia could be easy but the races where they are tough and physically demanding like Singapore I think there will be big artistic movements to get out.

« The problem with the Halo is not so much the issue but the cars are getting wider and there are a lot of complicated bargeboards with limited space in which was you can go out. You can use the step to get in the car but to get out you will jump out by standing on top of the Halo you will see a lot of drivers flying a little bit – or jumping. »

Brendon Hartley: « It is difficult to get in and out of the cockpit especially with my long legs but obviously we know why it is there for safety. We can all agree aesthetically from the outside it doesn’t look as nice as before but the good news is sitting from the inside I don’t have to look at it and I can’t see it. It is pretty much invisible. Getting in and out is a bit trickier but there is a huge benefit on safety from objects. »

On the stranger quirks of Halo…

Carlos Sainz: « After two laps you don’t really see it anymore you just see through it. But when it started raining a bit, the rain… you could not see it on the visor, the halo was not allowing the rain drops to go in the visor so you could not really see if it was raining a lot, feeling it in your hands, in your ass, it’s a consequence to see how the grip was.

« This kind of rain that sometimes to us drivers really bother us as you don’t know if you can push 100 percent or not, you just had to guess it and see how much rain it was, as our visor was completely dry and outside it was raining, a bit tricky there but visibility was not an issue. »

On remembering the bigger picture…

Lance Stroll: « It’s going to save lives, no doubt. The fact that our head was exposed before at these high speeds, god forbid anything would happen if a piece would hit us in the head — it could end really badly. It’s there to protect us then I’m in favour of it.

« Of course it doesn’t look great, the weight is very heavy and the car is already very heavy – all those things aren’t great, but at the end of the day if we look back on the decision of the Halo and we decided not to go for it and therefore wouldn’t have prevented an accident from happening that would really be a shame. So it’s there to save drivers from running into accidents and things happening and that’s huge and that’s more important than everything else. »

Team personnel have also had their say…

Red Bull boss Christian Horner: « Well it hasn’t got any prettier over the winter. It hasn’t got any lighter. It’s a reasonable weight high up. The team have done a great job in terms of accommodating that within the package. I think from the drivers’ point of view, the concerning thing is that they’re all going to have to be contortionists or yoga experts to even get in the car now. It’s quite a challenge when you see the driver getting in to the car. But from a visibility point of view, I don’t think it’s an issue. »

Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe: « The most difficult aspect was meeting the structural requirements. The mounting of it has to achieve some quite challenging load tests, quite rightly and adoption of the Halo was agreed at a certain point last year but a lot of this definition of the necessary loads for the actual component were agreed quite because that process continued well into the autumn so it was not a tough job but we were chasing regulations that had not really been pinned down, so that was a big challenge. It’s easy to carry a load but the point is doing it with a minimum amount of weight so that’s been probably been one of the more difficult projects of the winter. »

Haas boss Guenther Steiner: « I got to the point of — ‘do I like it personally? No. Is it there? Yes, so get on with it.’ Sometimes in life, there’s no point wasting time anymore. It’s there to stay and it stays. »


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