Lewis Hamilton says he will accept the halo cockpit protector if it becomes part of the 2017 F1 regulations despite his dislike of the aesthetics and believes in the future the sport will move to completely closed cockpits.
The Mercedes driver was one of the vocal objectors against the initial halo design, claiming he'd 'rip it off if it was attached to his car', but after seeing an open presentation on the safety improvements the device can potentially make Hamilton has dialled down his oppositions.
Despite still calling the halo ugly and not in the spirit of F1, Hamilton is willing to accept the safety device if it is introduced as early as next year if it can prevent dreadful accidents like Felipe Massa suffered in Hungary in 2009.
“I paid very, very close attention to the briefing we were given on it and I take safety very, very seriously,” Hamilton said. “The interesting thing is while the halo system doesn't look great and doesn't look in the racing spirit the fact it chances are 70% better on saving a driver's life in the incidents that have happened in the past.
“If it is the regulation, it is the regulation. As I said you can't ignore the fact that if it is going to save one of us in a serious incident.”
Hamilton also feels when the regulation is eventually introduced it will start the wheels in motion towards completely close cockpits in F1, similar to those used on the World Endurance Championship LMP1 cars.
“At some stage we will most likely have to close the canopy completely I think because that would be 100% [safer],” he said. “I think they were saying there were still some areas of issue. For example, in Felipe's issue here in 2009 or when it was, it wouldn't have stopped him from being hit.
“I think with Justin [Wilson], I believe they said it wouldn't have saved him because it was a pointy object from above. A close canopy perhaps would have.
“I don't think we can ignore it. If there is any way to make it look better but if not then fine as it is a safety thing and we have to all accept.” - crash.net