Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2018

Leclerc says his Halo “probably helped” in Belgian GP crash

2018 Belgian Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc praised the role of his Halo after Fernando Alonso’s McLaren went over the top of his car at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix.

The introduction of the Halo this year in Formula 1 and other categories came amid debate over whether the safety innovation was necessary. However Leclerc was grateful he had the Halo on his car.

“Definitely the Halo probably helped today,” he said. “But it’s very unfortunate.

“I think the potential of the race today was big and it’s a shame to finish the race at the first corner.”

The collision was triggered when Nico Hulkenberg ran into the back of Alonso. The Renault driver later admitted the crash was his ‘misjudgement’.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff also believes the crash shows the importance of introducing the Halo. “It could have been very nasty,” he said. “Insofar, I’m happy that we have the Halo.”

The serious crash suffered by Robert Wickens, a former Mercedes DTM driver, in last weekend’s IndyCar race at Pocono prompted questions over whether that series should also introduce the Halo. However Wolff doesn’t believe the Halo would have made a significant difference for Wickens.

“I don’t think that the Halo would have changed anything,” he said. “I think he hit this nasty concrete pole that gave him so much energy that broke his bones. I think the way the catch fences work in IndyCar is something they need to look at.

“But obviously I’m speaking as a Formula 1 idiot who tries to comment on an oval race, who hasn’t seen one live.”

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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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22 comments on “Leclerc says his Halo “probably helped” in Belgian GP crash”

  1. It’s impossible to tell for definite from the replays but judging from the damage it looked as though Alonso’s rear tyre hit the front of the halo, in front of and higher than Leclerc’s head, in which case it made little difference.

    1. Doesn’t matter how close it is to Leclrec’s head as long as he has more protection even inches away from his helmet. It helps in protecting the driver.

    2. Had another much closer look and I’m wrong it seems. I can’t tell if the plank hit the halo or missed it. The front right tyre did hit the front though

    3. Btw Keith this website is great, but almost unusable on the iPhone. It jumps around all over the place and sometimes you end up redirected to an advert, especially while writing a comment which can be very laggy

      1. I have the same… logged it on the tech help but but not got a response.

    4. Michael Brown (@)
      26th August 2018, 18:26

      Looking at it in slow motion, Alonso’s car bounced off of the halo which pushed him away from Leclerc’s cockpit. I think if the halo were not there, Alonso’s car would have landed right on Leclerc’s steering wheel, and if he was turning, would have crushed his fingers.
      Though for me the best thing the halo did was push Alonso’s car away from Leclerc’s. It could have sat there on the monocoque.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        26th August 2018, 18:37

        Also one more thing to add: at the moment Alonso’s car is over Leclerc, Leclerc is actually moving faster than Alonso. So in the hypothetical situation with no halo and Alonso’s car landing right in front of the cockpit, it could have ended up in the cockpit because Leclerc would have unintentionally driven into it.

  2. #PraiseTheHalo. BTW:
    “But obviously I’m speaking as a Formula 1 idiot who tries to comment on an oval race, who hasn’t seen one live.”
    – LOL.

  3. It is a moot point whether the halo saved Leclerc today. However, what today showed is that flying cars can get very close to drivers’ heads and that is not acceptable, hence I am a reluctant supporter of halo.

  4. I’m confident it saved a horrible incident today. The worse part to me is actually the final part where Alonso spins off Leclerc. On F1 YouTube replay of the crash it’s around the 42-43 second mark. Here the wheel and front wing hit the halo which forces Alonsos car further from Leclercs head. Without Halo that contact would have been right on Leclercs head. 100% either the tyre or wing would have hit him depending on his forward momentum.

  5. Late in the race the feed showed a close look at Leclerc’s parked damaged car, in particular the halo. It showed a lot of scarring from the tire and possibly contact from other parts of Alonso’s car. It seems obvious from that look and the video footage of the wreck itself that the halo did indeed protect Leclerc from potentially catastrophic injuries.

  6. I’m curious if the halo naysayers are more relieved today than they have been distraught by the poor aesthetics?

    Or are we just going to see a bunch of denial that it would have been ok and that from their expert video analysis it actually would have missed him by an inch and is still pointless?

    1. @philipgb

      Well I’ve only seen a lot of the latter so far, I am sure some people may have realigned their thoughts on the halo but haven’t said anything on forums yet.

    2. Michael Brown (@)
      26th August 2018, 21:15

      On the F1 YouTube, someone actually argued that Hulkenberg couldn’t see because of the halo.

      Which is to be expected because the F1 YouTube and Facebook pages are pure cancer.

  7. Toto Wolff is correct that the halo would not have helped mitigate Wickens’ injuries, but if you watch the replays from Ryan Hunter Reay’s cockpit camera, Wickens’ car goes right over his head and breaks the bodywork off the roll hoop behind him. At a slightly different angle, it could have been very bad for RHR.

    1. Furthermore, if you watch the over-the-shoulder cam for Hinchcliff, you can see body work intruding into his cockpit from the left. Don’t know if it hit him lightly or not, but if that was a tire or suspension piece instead he would have sustained injuries, and a halo would have prevented it.

  8. Halo proved it’s worth today. As @bullmello says the damage could have been catastrophic.

    Without halo LeClerc’s life would have changed or ended. His family would have been devastated. The fans would have been robbed of a rising star. The race, if it finished at all, would have been somber. No champagne would have sprayed on the podium.

    Instead there was an interview with a disappointed rookie. The race went on. Champagne was sprayed. We’ll continue to wait and see where he races next year.

    I (almost) get opposing halo as not worth the ugliness, weight, or brake with tradition. But today the real choice was displayed. Seems pretty obvious F1 made the right choice.

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      26th August 2018, 21:17

      I doubt Leclerc would have suffered a life-threatening or career-ending injury, but I think the halo helped him escape with no injury and thus he can race next weekend in Monza.

  9. The halo didn’t saved him also impossible coming from behind. The damage on the halo is from a tyre which glimps the halo. The wingbuffet on the halo is even whole. The halo is toughed because it is so big otherwise only air was hit.

  10. Correct :-)

    The drivers are now SAFER than the spectators driving to and from the circuit!!! :-|

  11. FIA believes Alonso would’ve hit Leclerc’s head in Spa start crash:


  12. On a side note: Does anyone notice the halos anymore? I don’t.

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