Lewis Hamilton urged to 'think about all ramifications' before ruling out Halo

09 Mar 2016 13:23

Lewis Hamilton has been urged to reconsider his stance on Formula One's controversial proposed new safety device, the Halo, by former world champion John Surtees.

Surtees saw his son Henry tragically killed in a Formula Two race at Brands Hatch nearly seven years ago after he was struck on the crash helmet by an errant tyre.

The Halo, which is designed to shield drivers from flying debris, made its debut at last week's pre-season test at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

But world champion Hamilton described it as the "worst looking modification" in the sport's history. He later added that he would refuse to use the concept if it became mandatory.

"Lewis could perhaps think a little more about the Halo and think about the responsibility he does have as a world champion," Surtees, 82, told Press Association Sport.

"He could actually consider this and, if possible, give the maximum input into making certain that it is as less intrusive as possible.

"Lewis is a superb driver and his input is valued. He is speaking from a traditional point of view and the enthusiasm of sitting in a single seater without anything around you.

"But change comes about and sometimes changes are forced upon one. It may be that the governing body, just because of the momentum and the fact that they have gone this way, will have no option but to impose these regulations."

The FIA has already signalled its intention to improve driver head protection for the 2017 season with the Halo, first pioneered by Hamilton's Mercedes team, its preferred option.

Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen trialled the concept at last week's Barcelona test with the former claiming it would have saved Henry Surtees' life.

"Sebastian hit the nail very clearly on the head with what he said," Surtees, who remains the only man to be crowned world champion on both two and four wheels, added.

"Henry was hit by a wheel that weighed 28 kilograms so there would have been a chance there (had the Halo been installed).

"I can appreciate those initial reactions that Lewis has got because if I'd still been racing I think I would have been the same. But in turn with these sort of things you need to sit down and think carefully about all the ramifications of going along and just ruling it out of hand.

"I suffered the tragedy of losing Henry which certainly could have been prevented by a development like this."

The FIA has explored a number of designs aimed at protecting drivers from flying debris after Felipe Massa was struck by a spring from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn during qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Jules Bianchi also succumbed to the devastating injuries he sustained at the Japanese Grand Prix in July, although it is not believed improved head protection would have saved the Frenchman.

British driver Justin Wilson was killed in August after he was fatally struck on the crash helmet by a nose cone from another car during an IndyCar race in America.