Lewis Hamilton would prefer a fully closed cockpit rather than the current solutions being trialled for implementation in 2017.
Following the debut of the Halo device on the Ferrari during pre-season testing, Red Bull will run its own cockpit protection solution during FP1 at the Russian Grand Prix. Having seen both devices, Hamilton says he would prefer either a fully closed cockpit or no additional protection at all.
“I don’t really have too many thoughts on it, I like the way it is," Hamilton said. "When I get in my car I know that there is a danger, that’s been the same since I started when I was eight years old and that’s the risk that I am willing to take and that’s the risk that every single driver who has ever been in the car has been willing to take.
"It has come along so far over the years which is amazing, we haven’t really seen many deaths and I mean, if they are going to do this, close the cockpit like a fighter jet.
“If you are going to do it close the cockpit like a fighter jet, don’t half-arse it. That [Red Bull] screen looks like something from a ... I mean jeez, it looks so bad. It looks like a bloody shield from the policeman, the riot shields, it’s like a bloody riot shield."
While praising the FIA's push for safety, Hamilton believes the danger of open cockpit racing is one of the attractions of the sport which make the drivers stand out.
"You’ve got this cool, elegant, futuristic Formula One car and you’ve got a crappy riot shield sat on top of it, and the other one, the carbon fibre structure was obviously good but obviously Fernando [Alonso] wouldn’t have been able to get out of the car potentially in his crash in Melbourne.
"But on top of that it is a good thing to see that people are, the FIA do take safety seriously. It is a constant thing that always needs to be worked on but as long as it doesn’t affect the aesthetics and the style and the coolness of Formula One, because the reason you look as a kid, you look at Formula One [and think] ‘wow, these guys, they are crazy, they could die at any moment.’
"Everyone who comes to me who has just started watching Formula One is like ‘ah it’s so dangerous’ and that’s a large part of why they are so in awe of what you do. You take away all that and that person could do it almost.”