Scuderia Ferrari Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen has moved to quash any concerns regarding Formula 1’s controversial Halo cockpit system, insisting it has no impact on driving following the first race of the 2018 championship, the Australian Grand Prix, which took place last weekend in Melbourne. The mandatory introduction of the Halo for this season sparked huge debate during the winter, dividing opinion of fans and those within the paddock, as well as prompting criticism of the device on aesthetic grounds.
But Kimi Raikkonen thinks that a lot of fuss has been created over nothing, citing similar changes to the look of F1 cars in the past which have had no impact on the quality of racing, such as unpopular stepped nose concepts seen in 2012 to ‘ugly’ nose designs in 2014, as well as 2017’s shark fins and T-wings: “That’s what the rule is now – I don’t think it makes any difference driving-wise.” – Kimi said, as reported by the Italian media earlier today – “It looks different but people get used to it very quickly. Every year you have a different rule and the cars look different and it’s odd but driving-wise it makes no difference whatsoever.”
The 2007 world champion revealed the new safety device provided him with an unexpected benefit during the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, in which he finished third: “I was no different than in testing or at any other point and I think it definitely doesn’t disturb you at all. I think it was helpful here because of the sun; when it’s coming in at the right height, it’s blocking the sun in the eyes.”
His Scuderia Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel agreed that it helped with the low light in Melbourne, adding the only negative he noticed was when attempting to wave to the fans: “I think it was only beneficial here, and it’s safer” – the German driver added – “Maybe people don’t like how it looks but you know, it might make a difference for us one day and it’s a good thing to have. During the race, it was no issue. As Kimi said, it even helped. It worked like a sun visor, so that helped. In the parade lap, that’s when it was bothering because you couldn’t see so well the people in the grandstands. I was trying to find, is it better to look below, or… wasn’t tall enough to get above. Other than that, no difference.” – Formula 1 championship leader Sebastian Vettel concluded.