New video shows “very impressive” Halo performance in Leclerc crash

2018 Belgian Grand Prix

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A new video released by Formula 1 has revealed more about how the Halo may have helped protect Charles Leclerc when he was hit by Fernando Alonso’s car at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix.

Alonso’s McLaren was launched onto the Sauber when he was hit from behind by Nico Hulkenberg at the La Source hairpin. The video shows Alonso’s front-right wheel struck Leclerc’s Halo as it passed over the car, breaking the Mclaren’s suspension.

Pierre Gasly, who watched a video of the crash after the race, was among those who praised how the Halo performed.

“Actually looking at the image it looked very impressive,” he said. “It wasn’t so clear, I just saw Alonso flew over Charles which is never so nice to see but everyone seemed to be fine in the end.”

Gasly’s team mate Brendon Hartley, who had a clear view of the collision, said the device has the support of drivers despite initial concerns over its appearance.

“We saw a case in [F2] as well with a tyre, [in] Barcelona,” he said. “I think the drivers in the paddock have said from day one it’s a safety device.

“Initially, visually it looked strange. I think now everyone got used to it and I don’t really blink twice when I see it on the cars. I guess it’s like any change in Formula 1, visually you get used to it but it’s very clear why it’s there and today it did its job.”

FIA race director Charlie Whiting said the sport’s governing body is studying how significant the Halo was in protecting Leclerc during the crash. “It doesn’t take much imagination to think that the tyre marks [on the Halo] could have actually been on Charles’s head [helmet],” he said.

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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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  • 33 comments on “New video shows “very impressive” Halo performance in Leclerc crash”

    1. It’s important to recognise that the halo saved Leclerc’s life only if he would have been killed without it. I’ve been a lot of armchair ‘experts’ jump to conclusions about this. I hope the FIA conduct a full investigation into this accident. But wow, Alonso’s car came very close to Leclerc’s head and they were both fortunate to escape without injury!

      1. How can you ever determine that he would have been killed? And is such justification even needed?

        Either way, the halo is here to stay so it doesn’t even matter.

        1. @pastaman I think it would be difficult to determine whether he would have been killed without the halo. However an alternative question is would he have been hit on the head without the halo, because he would have survived with complete certainty if he wouldn’t have been hit. I think this is an easier question to answer and I hope a full investigation will answer it.

          I feel the justification is needed. The battle to improve safety should be ongoing and the motorsport community needs to be looking for better, safer solutions to protect the driver rather than standing still. That’s why it’s important to conduct an investigation rather than close the debate into the halo. This is the first iteration of a cockpit safety device and I hope in the future they improve it because that will lead to better safety. I disagree with your comment ‘the halo is here to stay so it doesn’t even matter’ because I think what you mean is ‘cockpit safety features are here to stay’ rather than the halo specifically, which is something I agree with completely. The quest to improve safety needs to be ongoing and we need to be looking for even better ways to improve cockpit safety.

          My main concern is that people are trying to shut down the debate about the halo, rather than thinking about ways to improve safety in the future.

          1. @georgeod nobody tries to close the lid on the halo. Everyone is just happy and relieved to see Leclerc safe and nobody would try to replay the scene without it. Of course the fia is investigating toroughly, that’s what they already did in the first place and came with the halo solution for now. And they will improve the safety like they did for the last two decades and more now.

      2. When you look at that video it seems to suggest the tyre mark on Leclerc’s halo was from a tyre that had broken suspension arms, so it was being dragged along by the body of Alonso’s car. That tyre hit the radio aerial as well as the halo.

    2. Without the halo the dynamic of the crash would have been different. Who knows if Leclerc Sauber wouldn’t have slid under the floor of the McLaren?
      Halo indeed did its job.

      1. more than that. It did well in something it wasn’s supposed to do. It was designed to fend off heavy debries, like a wheel. But not a wheel still attached to the car! that’s even more impressive!

        1. And the car it self as well!

        2. It was. One of the design parameters was that it needs to withstand a force equal to 15 times the weight of a Formula 1 car.
          I bet this impact came close to that parameter…

          1. That is actually impressive, like 8 tons or so I’d say, considering how small the device is.

    3. The best angle to prove Halo’s worth is from Hartley’s onbord camera. This is the Halo that prevents the car from touching Leclerc’s helmet. It even rotates Alonso’s car. Impressive and scary.

      1. From that angle you also see how the McL’s front right suspension brakes when the wheel makes contact with the Sauber’s halo.
        The way Alonso’s car rotates before the contact it was on course to hit Leclerc’s head with either the wheel or the front wing.

        Did the halo safe Leclerc’s life? Maybe. Did it prevent him getting injured? Probably. Did it stop the other car from hitting his helmet? Almost certainly.

      2. Michael Brown (@)
        27th August 2018, 21:27

        https://youtu.be/KAGmnnc6DUg
        Even though the suspension broke on Alonso’s car the wheel tethers kept the wheel attached.

      3. It’s the best angle I’ve seen, but it doesn’t clarify much. At first sight it looks like without the Halo it would have been a near miss, but only a comprehensive analysis of the physics of the impact can tell for sure.

        1. The angle the wheel hit not just the halo but the side was from the front moving rearwards. I cannot see how it would not have hit Leclerc’s helmet. The video from Hartley’s car and also the camera on the hairpin both show the wheel impacting the Halo from the front.

    4. While this is certainly an interesting case to study (sorry for using such words to describe a dangerous accident), it is clear that drivers need more head protection than they had before 2018. Even if Leclerc would have survived this unscathed, some day there will be another incident where a car or a wheel flies over a driver’s helmet from a different angle and the conclusions will be different.

      I believe that halo must be kept for now (not that anyone is planning to scrap it anytime soon). But I also believe that the FIA should keep researching and looking for alternative solutions.

    5. Duncan Snowden
      27th August 2018, 15:41

      Yes, that’s my feeling too. I’m still not 100% convinced about this one, but of course similar situations can be imagined in which it would certainly be a life saver. It’s still ugly, though, and there must surely be a better solution.

    6. It really annoys me when people in a position of influence – bloggers, YouTubers, media writers etc. make these comments without understanding how scientific procedure works or what “evidence” actually means.

      The only “evidence” we have is that the McLaren hit the halo. The halo however is a fair distance away from the hands and helmet and due to the setup of the rollbar and cockpit sides, it’s very unlikely that a car can strike a driver’s head. The frenzied claims that it made any difference here are embarrassing.

      Here we are with more supposed “evidence” which is actually just people seeing what they want to see. I’m still yet to see any accident in recent times where the halo would have been of any benefit at all.

      But so many people are beyond reason.

      1. Clearly, we’ll have to wait for data to see whether the halo was deformed by the impact and in what direction when they remove it from the chassis and give it over to the FIA for analysis.

        But to say there is no evidence is absurd. This is called visual evidence, where we see the front right of Alonso’s car strike directly on the halo, breaking the suspension and changing the attitude of the car as it rebounds. It’s not definitive, but it certainly counts as evidence. If visual evidence doesn’t matter, why would the stewards routinely bother to look at replays of events on video when making their decisions?

        People often see what they want to see, but equally so, people often don’t see what they don’t want to see.

      2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        28th August 2018, 7:27

        I agree strongly with your first statement. The BBC news this morning had a similar thing. They certainly seem to be saying that is stopped it hitting Leclercs’s head. We don’t actually know anything. We can’t judge that that won’t have happened, but from the angles, it looked unlikely. Some people just seem so sure that thingswill have gone worse without the halo just because it is clear that it got hit hard. I believe it helped and would have prevented it being worse, but we don’t know how much worse it will have been.

      3. I think your comment is just as erroneous as the ones you are criticising.

        What we know is that the car hit the halo very hard. We know Leclercs head was very close to that impact. We know that it was a very close call and that it may have hit him if the halo was not there. We also know that the halo did its job in deflecting the impact so even if in this particular case the car might have missed his head anyway, in another similar incident that it would indeed protect the driver from death.

        That has to be a good thing.

      4. M A: I for one agree with your comment completely.

        1. So a quick question you need to ask every driver on the grid. Would they be prepared to sit in a car and recreate the incident without the halo. I am confident the vast majority if not all would say no way.
          The wheel hit the halo from the front moving backward toward Leclerc’s head that is a fact. It is clearly seen in the video from Hartley’s car and also the hairpin camera. Slow them both down frame by frame the direction of impact is 100% heading towards Leclerc’s helmet. It hit with enough force for break Alonso’s suspension and rotate the car. it wasn’t a glancing blow. It hit with substantial force.

    7. Beast overtake of the decade: Fernando Alonso on (top of) Charles Leclerc yesterday at Spa

      Reminded me of the best overtake of the millennium: Ralf Schumacher on (top of) Rubens Barrichello. Melbourne 2002

      1. The “Beast” that dare not speak its name !?

        1. haha you got me there. “Beast” was just a typo, but kinda works

      2. I preferred Mark Webber overtaking Kovalainen in Valencia 2010. He made that one stick too ;-)

        1. Good one too, kinda overtook Kova, but did not go on top of him

    8. Interesting fact: the halo came into racing after the accident of Jules Bianchi. And now it seems Charles LeClerc is the first driver to escape serious injury because of it. And who was one of the men helping Charles LeClerc in his earlier career? Yes it was Jules Bianchi!

      We miss you Jules.

    9. Califormula1fan
      27th August 2018, 23:21

      There are probably a half-dozen or more safety improvements, including the halo, since Imola ‘94 that led to three F1 drivers walking away from the incident at Spa. I hope that safety of the drivers continues to improve while they run in one of fastest circuit racing series ever. Now if they could make it more exciting too. The start, Vettel’s pass of Hamilton on L1, the question of Hamilton being able to undercut Vettel at the pit-stop… that was all the interesting events: otherwise Spa ‘18 was 40 boring laps.

      Qualifying is the most exciting part of F1 unless it rains in race day.

    10. I have personally been very much against the Halo, hated the idea. I also don’t think it saved Leclerc’s life on the weekend as the angles look as if it would have narrowly missed him, but who knows? But that was far too close! I wont bad speak about the Halo again. I don’t think it would have saved Jules at all, but ironic it just may have helped his mate from injury or worse.

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