FIA president Jean Todt believes Halo “demonstrated it was a good decision” to introduce cockpit protection for the 2018 Formula 1 season.

Halo’s mandatory introduction in F1 and Formula 2 for this year sparked controversy, though the driver cockpit protection device was tested on a number of occasions during major incidents throughout the season.

Its most notable impact in F1 came as it appeared to protect Charles Lecerlc when Fernando Alonso’s McLaren was launched over the top of his Sauber on the first lap of the Belgian Grand Prix, while in F2 the Halo on Tadasuke Makino’s Russian Time car was struck by fellow Honda junior Nirei Fukuzumi’s Arden car during an incident at Barcelona.

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When asked in an interview with Sky Sports if Halo saved a life in 2018, Todt said: “Honestly I don’t know.

“It probably demonstrated that it was a good decision. For me all that we can do to improve safety, we need to do it.

“We have seen not only in Formula 1 but in other categories in motorsport, with Sophia Flörsch in Macau, we have seen in Formula 2, we have it in different categories of motorsport, not only in single-seaters or circuit racing but it was important.

“So we will never compromise. We need to see every time how we can look at things better. I am sure we will have a possibility of improving.

“The most important is that we make the right decisions and improve what can be improved. Clearly Halo was among those things.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had been a critic of the device and joked at the start of the season that he would “take it off with a chainsaw” if he could.

But speaking at the FIA’s end-of-season prizegiving ceremony in St Petersburg, Wolff revealed he has now changed his mind on Halo and said he would not have forgiven himself if vetoing it had led to a “potentially catastrophic outcome”.

“I still don’t like the aesthetic of it, and I hope we can find a solution in the future that it looks good, but I really like Charles, he’s a young upcoming racer that deserves to be in Formula 1,” he explained.

“I would have not forgiven myself if we’d voted against the Halo and it would have failed and we’d have had a severe incident with a potentially catastrophic outcome.

“Even though aesthetically it’s not what I like, it’s a super initiative which has shown its merit, and I’m happy that Jean [Todt] pushed through and they didn’t give me a chainsaw at the beginning of the season.”