Jenson Button has lent his support to the aesthetics of Red Bull's 'aeroscreen' cockpit protection, but admits that looks cannot be the sole determinant of use going forward.
The four-time world champions introduced their alternative to Ferrari's controversial 'halo' design' during Friday morning practice at the Russian Grand Prix and, although it only got a single lap in the hands of Daniel Ricciardo, Button admitted that he already had a favourite in the beauty stakes.
“I prefer the look of it [to the halo],” the McLaren man revealed, “I think it looks pretty – in fact, I think it looks better than a normal F1 car - but we have to look at safety and which one is better for safety.
“I think, in a couple of years, if we did go for that design that was on the Red Bull today, we'd look back and think that the cars look weird without it. I used to watch the F1 powerboats in Bristol, and they had the open cockpit for many years but, when they had the closed cockpit, they looked so much cooler. That's not a reason to have that option – it's for safety and we have to have the right option for safety.”
Button also admitted that implementing the Red Bull option may also give the Milton Keynes team a headstart in designing around it for the future.
“I think it looked a lot more 'aero' and that's going to be a lot more tricky for other teams to build for their windtunnels, for their cars, where I'm sure Red Bull have tested it a lot already,” he noted.
The opening day in Sochi provided yet more optimism for the Briton, who recorded the eighth fastest time of the day, but again he sounded a note of caution, having flattered to deceive in earlier rounds.
“The car feels pretty good and, on the prime tyre, we were even quicker – I think P4 or P5,” he reported, “We were a tenth off fifth place, but it is only Friday and we've been very quick on Friday's before, so we will see tomorrow, but I think we have a positive feeling. We didn't get the best out of the option tyre, but we will and I'm looking forward to what we can do this weekend.
“We know we're not going to be setting the world alight, as it is a tough circuit for us, especially in the race, but we'll do our best and hopefully we'll be knocking on the door of Q3 and have a chance of scoring some points. If you can qualify well, and can get to P8 or something, you'd take it. I think it is nice for the team and you can still race well from there.”