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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff would take 'a chainsaw' to F1's new halo

Team principal not impressed with new feature, which would protect drivers from flying debris and crashes

Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes GP in his car featuring 'the halo', a new safety feature that will be mandatory this season. Christopher Pike / The National
Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes GP in his car featuring 'the halo', a new safety feature that will be mandatory this season. Christopher Pike / The National

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff criticised Formula One's controversial new halo head-protection device as the double world champions unveiled their new F1 W09 car for the 2018 season on Thursday.

After years of research and development, the FIA settled on the halo to protect drivers from flying debris and crashes following the fatal accidents of Jules Bianchi at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix and Justin Wilson in a 2015 IndyCar race.

"I'm not impressed with the whole thing and if you give me a chainsaw I would take it off," said Wolff, who complained about the weight of the new device. "I think we need to look after the driver's safety, but what we have implemented is aesthetically not appealing and 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 and, as much as it is impressive to look at the statistic that you could put a bus on top, this is a Formula One car."

Toto Wolff, centre, is not happy with the addition of 'the halo'. Justin Tallis / AFP
Toto Wolff, centre, is not happy with the addition of 'the halo'. Justin Tallis / AFP

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