Kevin Magnussen, Renault, Sepang International Circuit, 2016

Halo no safety threat in Magnussen fire – Wurz

2016 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Kevin Magnussen’s escape from his burning Renault would not have been significantly hindered had he been using the Halo device, according to GPDA chairman Alexander Wurz.

The Renault driver had to leap from the cockpit of his Renault when a fire broke out around his car’s airbox during the first practice session.

Sergio Perez, Force India, Sepang International Circuit, 2016
Sergio Perez tested the Halo during practice today
The FIA has been evaluating whether to introduce the Halo head protection system but the device has raised questions over whether it would hinder a driver’s ability to get out of a car in an emergency.

However Wurz said the increase in time would be negligible. “Maybe he will [take] 0.5 of a second longer to get out,” Wurz told Sky. “With the fire suit which lasts 50 seconds under a real fire.”

Wurz pointed out other safety enhancements have caused drivers similar difficulties. “Maybe ten years ago, if you wanted to see the negatives, you wouldn’t have asked for the headrests because you have to get out with rolling your shoulders and that’s a tenth of a second slower,” he said.

“But thank God here there was no speed urgency to get out. And again, you do have various protection shields against fire.”

However Wurz agreed more could have been done to protect the Renault mechanics who extinguished the fire and suggested lessons haven’t been learned from the Williams pit blaze at the Circuit de Catalunya in 2012.

“I know that the mechanics at teams on a Friday when the refuelling is in the garage they maybe don’t want to wear the fireproofs.”

“But there should always be at least one. Which in this case in Renault there was one, but then we had this brave mechanic jumping in putting the fuel nozzle on.”

“I know they really want to help because they feel for the car, that’s their baby. So a very brave man but from safety rules, he should have stepped back.”

2016 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 8 comments on “Halo no safety threat in Magnussen fire – Wurz”

    1. The halo certainly takes more than 0.5 seconds extra to get out, especially the way Magnussen almost jumped out of his car quickly, he wouldn’t have been able to do that. They definitely have to improve how easy it is to get out of the car quickly with the halo, it’s pretty hard right now.

    2. I get the point Wurz is making, but it’s just pure speculation.

      The solution of course would be some kind of quick-release for the halo which either the driver triggers or it is triggered remotely.

      Or, not bother with the halo at all. I know I’d be happy to take the continuing risks of an open cockpit, and that’s without getting paid a nice wage packet (I’ve self-funded all my single-seater drives to date.)

    3. I want to see them testing just this type of escape to see whether it would have hindered him getting out of the fast. That hasn’t been shown so I don’t know how quickly it can be released.

    4. Halo is all very fine in the case of a pit lane fire, but what if Alonso’s McLaren had been fitted with Halo in Australia and the fuel tank had ruptured?

      Cockpit protection is only engineering in another and far more gruesome death trap in a knee-jerk response. Especially as from what I understand, it wouldn’t have made any difference in three of the four most recent crashes to claim the life of a formula/Indy car driver.

      1. I agree with that Henrik. And nothing is being mentioned if the driver is unconscious and several hundred feet from any safety personnel.

    5. The FIA did an extraction test back in Hungary when the Halo was on Vettel’s Ferrari & while stationary in the garage it took him 12 seconds to get out.

    6. I think, just, no Halo for me. Just keep on trying to strengthen tethers to avoid loose wheels in the first place. I see the Grosjean-Alonso argument, but I would stay it’s a close call as to which is safer, halo or no halo.

    7. Croft (or Di Resta, I can’t remember which) raised the issue of marshals extracting an injured driver from a haloed cockpit in a time-sensitive situation. Perhaps a driver could remove himself from a car unhindered by a halo under his own power, but an unconscious driver would surely be far more challenging to extricate.

    Comments are closed.