Friday 21 July at 09:35 :
Jul.21 (GMM) Mercedes and Red Bull bosses have hit out at the FIA's decision to impose the controversial 'Halo' frontal protection concept for 2018.
Many fans are outraged with this week's news that the era of fully open cockpits is set to end, with 78 per cent of Auto Motor und Sport readers opposed to Halo.
It is believed that, of the ten teams, only Ferrari voted to introduce Halo.
F1 legend and Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda said of Halo: "It is absolutely a mistake.
"There is no doubt that safety must improve where possible, but we tried the Halo, the Aeroscreen of Red Bull and now Ferrari tried the Shield. None of them were 100 per cent convincing, but Halo is just wrong," said the triple world champion.
Lauda said one problem is driver visibility, but explained: "The aesthetics are fatal. The Halo destroys the DNA of a formula one car.
"The FIA has got F1 as safe as it gets, and the danger of flying wheels is largely nonexistent because they are always attached. Thankfully, the risk for drivers has become minimal," he added.
Lauda also said the Halo is arriving at an awkward time, just as F1's new owner Liberty Media is determined to improve the sport.
"We have these faster cars, we're getting closer to the audience and trying to attract new fans, and now we destroy it with this overreaction," he said.
"There is 100 per cent a better solution than the Halo, otherwise we would not have tried three things. So the most sensible would be to continue our research and if we find something that does not destroy the appearance, introduce it in 2019.
"It's that simple. There is no reason to rush into something that we regret later," added Lauda.
Red Bull official Dr Helmut Marko told Bild newspaper: "This decision is against the DNA of formula one.
"Technically, it is also not mature. If an injured driver has to be rescued or a car is on fire, there are still no clear guidelines as to whether the cockpit becomes even more dangerous."
And Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said: "I am sceptical about the Halo, but I understand Jean Todt's decision on safety grounds."