Friday, 07 december 2018, 10:45 , by Matthew Scott
Toto Wolff says he has altered his opinion on the introduction of the halo safety device into Formula 1 after an FIA investigation strongly suggested it had saved Charles Leclerc from a serious injury in the huge crash at the start of this year's Belgian Grand Prix.
Mercedes' team principal has previously joked of his desire to take a chainsaw to the halo, adding his voice to the many detractors over its aesthetic impact on Formula 1 cars.
However, opinion has shifted significantly after the Spa-Francorchamps weekend, which saw the McLaren of Fernando Alonso skate over the top of Leclerc's car after contact with Nico Hulkenberg on the opening lap.
The FIA's investigation into the incident determined that Leclerc had likely avoided being hit in the head by Alonso's front wing – enough to convince Wolff that the halo belongs in F1.
"Yes, I have changed my mind," Wolff said at the FIA Prize Giving gala.
"I still don't like the aesthetics of it, and I hope we can find a solution in the future that looks good.
"[But] I really like Charles, he's a young, upcoming racer that deserves to be in Formula 1 and I would not have forgiven myself if we would have voted against the halo and it would have failed, and we'd have had a severe incident with a potentially catastrophic outcome.
"So, even though it's aesthetically not what I like it's a super initiative that has shown its merit.
"I'm happy that Jean [Todt, the FIA president] pushed through and they didn't give me a chainsaw at the beginning of the season.
"We need to get the right balance between aesthetics and safety. I personally like the closed canopies like fighter jets.
"Between the teams and the FIA and the commercial rights holder, we just need to work proactively and in a collaborative manner to find solutions that look great and save lives."