Mercedes tester George Russell says he was surprised by the visibility of the F1 ‘halo’ cockpit protection device, after running it at the Hungaroring.
The British driver was at the wheel of the Mercedes W08 on both days of the post-Hungarian GP test, and on the second day his car was fitted with the halo for several runs.
With the FIA recently confirming the halo will be introduced in 2018, Mercedes tried the device out with Russell in Hungary. We haven’t seen all that much of the halo in recent months.
Talking to media after the end of Wednesday’s testing, Russell said he was actually surprised with how well the visibility of the halo was. He explained:
“The halo was surprising, I had a much better view than I ever imagined. One very funny positive was that at the end of the day, when the sun was coming down, the halo actually blocked the sun from my eyes, so I actually saw more than I would usually see on circuit at 5.30pm when the sun is low.
“To be honest, from a drivers’ perspective, when you’re doing a quali lap the visibility is completely fine. The only hindrance could potentially be the start lights, but I was extremely surprised by the Halo and by what I could see.”
He thinks it’ll take some time for drivers to get used to getting in and out of the cockpit with the halo in place:
“It was tricky to get in and out of the car, it just takes a bit of experience, finding the right techniques, where to put your arms and stuff. I struggled initially but towards the end, after a few trial runs, I was fine getting in and out.
“You can hold on to the Halo as you pull yourself up. The only thing is getting your leg into the car, it’s quite high. But I think most people would just have a step to stand on to get in and out of the car.”
Russell is currently a junior driver at Mercedes and is racing in the GP3 series with ART. He’s currently leading the championship.