BARCELONA (Reuters) - French driver Pierre Gasly expects to be ripping through racesuits this season after complaining on Tuesday that Formula One’s new halo head-protection device had torn holes in his overalls as he got in and out of the car.
The 22-year-old Frenchman, starting his first full season with Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso, expressed his frustration after completing 82 laps of a cold Circuit de Catalunya on the second day of pre-season testing.
“I don’t like it (the halo). It’s just a big mess to get in the car and get out,” he told reporters. “I think my suit is already broken. We’ll have to ask for many suits from (supplier) Alpine Stars this season.
“It’s only the first day (in the car) and I have many holes on the back. You need to be a lot backward to slide into the car. It’s actually quite weird.
“With all the winglets you have on the halo you cannot really pull, to get out you cannot really touch it,” said the Frenchman.
The halo, which extends up from a central pillar to circle the driver’s head, is designed to protect against flying objects and is making its debut this season as a mandatory safety addition.
Getting in and out, particularly for taller drivers, is more awkward than when cockpits were completely open.
Toro Rosso have switched engines this season, linking up with McLaren’s former partners Honda.
While the three years of the McLaren-Honda partnership were plagued by reliability issues and a lack of performance, Toro Rosso have impressed with two solid days of testing so far this week.
Gasly’s team mate, New Zealander Brendon Hartley, did 93 laps on Monday.
“We didn’t have any troubles,” said the Frenchman, who raced in Japan with a Honda team last year before making his Formula One debut.
“The first feeling is really good, it’s really positive.
“I didn’t want to expect anything, it’s a new car and you always need to work at the beginning but straight away I could feel that the potential is great. I would say we have some positive things to take from today.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis