Lewis Hamilton wants Halo to be optional

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Lewis Hamilton thinks drivers should choose whether or not to run a Halo device, saying he would "rather drive without and risk it".

Ferrari ran a Halo on its car for installation laps on both Thursday and Friday morning in Barcelona during testing, causing a stir in the paddock. The safety device, which is being discussed for implementation next year, has the support of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) but has still split opinion in the paddock.

On Friday morning Hamilton posted "Please no" to his Instagram account with a picture of the Halo on Kimi Raikkonen's car, saying it was the "worst looking mod in Formula One history". Hamilton later told the media that he thinks drivers should have a say in whether they run the device or not.

"If it is going to come in I hope we have an option to use it or not because I will not be using it on my car," Hamilton said. "I hope that's not what they're bringing, I really do. Ultimately it's the driver's protection so we should have a choice individually."

Such a choice is unlikely given extra weight and higher centre of gravity Halo brings with it. What's more, the concept of an optional safety measure rather defeats the purpose as the accidents Halo is trying to prevent are random and can affect any one of the cars.

"I like it the way it is now and when I get in the car I know there is a certain risk," Hamilton added. "Safety is a very, very important issue for sure, but there are risks that we take and you have to decide how much of a risk you are going to take. For me I would rather drive without and risk it."

Halo continues to split opinion in the paddock, with Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg comparing critics' views to the backwards-looking opinions of the 1970s.

"I can understand the purists that they will say 'but, but, but', but the purists have probably always been complaining for the last 50 years," he said. "When Jackie Stewart was campaigning for safety in the '70s he was heavily criticised and those things were absolutely lethal, those cars. And at the time even he was criticised for safety. So there's always going to be the purists who want to keep it the way it is. That's respectable, fine, everybody has his opinion, but in my opinion the right way to go is what we're doing."

F1 bosses recently agreed to implement head protection next season. After Ferrari's tests this week, Red Bull plans to run a 'Batmobile-style' Halo, an open-topped shield around the driver, as the FIA continues to explore alternative safety concepts. The F1 Commission and Strategy Group recently pushed the decision on which type of head protection to implement next year back until the end of April.