Lewis Hamilton says he remains unconvinced by cockpit protection devices in F1 as Red Bull prepares to run its 'Aeroscreen' interpretation during practice for the Russian Grand Prix practice session, reiterating the 'risk' of racing is a critical part of why he competes.
The three-time world champion has been an outspoken critic of the plan to introduce cockpit protection devices, saying he would refuse to race the 'halo' device debuted by Ferrari during pre-season testing.
With Red Bull set to debut its own version in Sochi, a still sceptical Hamilton says the aesthetics of the 'windscreen' style device remains an issue for him, describing it as looking like a police 'riot shield'
"If they're going to do this, close the cockpit like a fighter jet," Hamilton said. "Don't half-arse it. Go one way or the other. Tha screen looks so bad. It looks like a bloody riot shield!
"You've got this cool, elegant futuristic Formula 1 car, and you've got a riot shield sitting on top of it. The other one [Ferrari's halo device], the carbon fibre structure was obviously good but Fernando Alonso wouldn't have been able to get out of the car potentially in his crash in Melbourne.”
Indeed, Mercedes driver Hamilton maintains he is a firm supporter of the FIA's commitment to investigating and raising safety standards in F1, but he feels the element of 'risk' is a conscious choice for him and should continue to do so.
“It is a good thing to see the FIA does take safety seriously. It is a constant thing that always needs to be worked on - as long as it doesn't affect the aesthetics, the style and the coolness of Formula 1."
"When I get in that car, I know that there is a danger. That's been the same since I started when I was eight years old.
“That's a risk that I am willing to take and that every single driver that's ever got in the car has been willing to take. You look at Formula 1 as a kid and think 'these guys, they're crazy, they could die at any moment.
“Everyone comes to me who's just started watching Formula 1 and says 'oh it's so dangerous'. That's a large part of why they are so in awe of what you do. Take away all that and that person could do it, almost."