Toto Wolff has labelled the Halo cockpit protection device as a "dreadful" addition to an F1 car as his Mercedes team works on the best way to incorporate it into its 2018 design.
Following more than eight years of dedicated research into cockpit protection in single seaters, the FIA will make Halo mandatory on Formula One cars next year. The device is designed to deflect flying objects away from the driver's head and is formed by a titanium structure wrapped in carbon fibre above the cockpit .
In 17 case studies of serious accidents carried out by the FIA, Halo would have had a beneficial outcome in 15 while the other two would have proved neutral. But while Wolff does not debate the need to improve driver safety, he believes a more elegant solution needs to be found as soon as possible.
"It's a dreadful piece!" he told ESPN. "We've had it in the staff briefing and we've shown it. It's a huge piece of metal, much too heavy, it feels completely alien and I'd like to saw it off if I could!
"But then we need to look after driver safety and if there is a device that helps to protect lives, then we need to put it on the car. Maybe in the future we can find a solution that is a little bit more aesthetically pleasing than the halo.
"In terms of aerodynamic development it didn't interfere too much and everyone has the same problem."
The minimum weight of the cars has increased by six kilograms next year to accommodate the Halo, but Wolff predicts the actual weight of the Halo and its fittings will by around 10 kilograms. Mercedes worked hard to bring its car under the minimum weight limit this year and it is likely to face a similar task to do the same this winter in order to start the first race of the season without a weight penalty.
"With all the bolts and nuts it's probably 10 kilos that you have up at the highest point in the car," Wolff added. "So the centre of gravity moves up a large chunk and you need to compensate for that. So it's all wrong!"