Halo saved Hamilton’s life in potentially “horrible accident” – Wolff

2021 Italian Grand Prix

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Formula 1’s Halo saved Lewis Hamilton from serious injury in his collision with Max Verstappen during today’s Italian Grand Prix, according to his team principal Toto Wolff.

Verstappen’s Red Bull landed on top of Hamilton’s car when the pair tangled at the Rettifilio chicane halfway through the race. The back of Verstappen’s car rode across Hamilton’s damaging the roll hoop, while the right-rear wheel landed on the Halo, a crash protection structure which was introduced to improve driver safety in 2018.

“The Halo definitely saved Lewis’s life today,” said Wolff. “It would have been a horrible accident that I don’t want to even think about if we wouldn’t have had the Halo.”

The stewards are investigating the role played by the pair in the lead-up to the collision. Hamilton and Verstappen each blamed the other for the crash. Wolff said the pair need to find a way to avoid future clashes after their collision at Silverstone earlier this year.

“Both of them need to leave space for each other, race each other hard but avoid accidents,” said Wolff.

“It was good fun until now but we have seen a Halo that saved Lewis’s life today and Max had this heavy impact in Silverstone and we don’t want to come to a situation to intervene when somebody gets really hurt.”

Hamilton said he was “a little bit stiff and sore in my neck” after the crash. “It landed on my head, but I’ll be okay.”

Verstappen’s team principal Christian Horner also praised the role played by the Halo in protecting Hamilton.

“It was a very awkward accident,” said Horner. “You can see Max’s car ride up the Mercedes, and I think without the Halo, there would have been no protection for the weight of that wheel coming down on top of Lewis.

“So I think the Halo has again demonstrated, as it did at Silverstone, it’s demonstrated its purpose in Formula 1.”

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2021 Italian 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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50 comments on “Halo saved Hamilton’s life in potentially “horrible accident” – Wolff”

  1. Thank god for the Halo.

    1. No one blame the stupid sausage kerbs? LoL!

      Reply moderated
    2. @yaru I’ll have to admit, when there was talk about implementing a halo into F1 I was adamantly against it!

      That was foolish, my preference as a fan was wanting to keep seeing the drivers in the cars more and more and not lose what we knew as open racing and that it was wrong to have it. I have to say, that sentiment of mine was clearly wrong and since then there has been so many incidents in F1, Indy and other open wheel racing series where the Halo has saved lives and much more than just one occasion. I’m glad no one listened to my sentiment about it back then.

      When you watch todays incident and how it preserved life and how it’s going to save many more lives in the future, I have to thank the ones who implemented it. Well done!

      1. Same for me but to be fair i was more against the central bar and that it didn’t protect against small debrie but for these things is the halo made for.

        But they should check those curbs launching a car so high that a wheel contact got amplified.

      2. I think today demonstrated that even with a halo, the driver is not protected from a wheel coming from above. The gap at the top is too large.

      3. My god how biased are you? Hamilton is one in a long line of people who have been saved by it.

        You had nothing to say when it saved Grosjean’s or Leclerc’s.

        Disgusting

  2. What is an appropriate penalty for Max for failed attempt to murder Hamilton?!

    1. You can be a better person than this.

      1. You don’t get the reference to Neanderthals calling the Silverstone incident a failed attempt to murder Verstappen and clamoring for a bigger penalty?

    2. Everyone talks about the risks inherent in auto racing. And then when something risky happens everyone loses their minds.
      Do you (anyone) want it to be risky or want it to be no risk?
      F1 drivers didn’t get to F1 by ceding space on track.

    3. Regardless of whose fault it is (I say racing incident, maybe slightly more on Max but only slightly; they both made a misjudgement: Max could have backed out, Lewis could have given more room), I am getting fed up of fans on both sides calling this and Silverstone respectively a ‘murder attempt’

      1. It’s as if these type of semi-intentional crashes are anything new, while we have seen many of them, mainly between championship rivals, throughout the years

  3. I forget who commented it, but it was intriguing. Something about how the halo, whilst in the end being the saving grace, also exacerbated the way the car flew up. I’ve not done a play-by-play, but for this type of contact, it’s possible that at times it happens. Anyway, thank god for the result.

    1. @hahostlze I can imagine that being correct. The halo forced Max’s car higher up by stopping it hitting Hamilton’s helmet

    2. I think the only downside to the halo this time is that it might have let a little too much rear wheel in from the top, but i’d be surprised if that was even a design thought. Not that you could do much without restricting the drivers too much which would do worse in other situations (aka Grosjean).

      1. Ahh, Romain, Triggerer off and Saved by, the Halo

    3. I don’t think that is actually true at all when you look at how the incident played out @hahostolze, @randommallard. Max’ car first got its rear wheels up on Hamilton’s airbox and only then did it slide DOWN upon the Halo and got stuck there when the nose dug into the gravel.

  4. Appreciate it’s a discussion that pops up every other year, but should we not be thinking about the suitability of these “sausage” kerbs? We’ve seen a horrible near miss at Turn 1 before with a car out of control careering into the pack at head height having been launched by a kerb and now this today.

    1. 100% Nathan. This is one of the first things that popped into my mind as well. Without that sausage kerb, the two might have banged wheels and carried on with the race. Instead, we end up with one on top of the other. Couple this with Peroni at Monza in F3 in 2019 and the incident you mention, and I think there needs to be a serious look into them. I’m fine with them being across the runoff, perpendicular to the driving line over them, but putting them parallel to the track, right at the track edge just makes them a launchpad

  5. I am not sure this is entirely accurate. The Halo ‘caught’ the side of the Max’s car and may have caused the pivot and slow, and end up resting the tyre on Hamilton’s head. Watch how the Halo impacts the side of Max’s car on the video slowly. Prior to the halo the car may have slid forward and out of harms way. Drivers are offered a lot of protection from the roll over hoop. So while IO am sure many will baulk at this kind of suggestion, but in this case I believe this highlights what might be a halo flaw and could be improved,

    people are saying because the tire was where it was the Halo saved his life, I’d put forward the potential that the car was there because of the halo.

    This isn’t an argument against the halo, but these kind of incidents need to be looked at rationally otherwise things get overlooked.

    1. Yeah, it’s very hard to say how it would have panned out without the halo. It is higher at the front than in the back and the tyre still pressed on Hamilton’s helmet. Maybe there is room for improvement there.

      1. Either way, if the car had landed on top of Hamilton’s head and there was no halo then he’d be in pretty bad shape.

        Arguing about whether the halo led to the car landing where it did doesn’t change the fact that it saved Lewis’s life.

    2. Bigger issue was the floor of Max’s car slamming into the halo next to Lewis’s head. Without the halo, it’s possible the car would have rotated around the roll hoop, and Hamilton would have a bit more than a headache right now.

      1. I was afraid the floor would get to Lewis head as the halo caught the floor smashing through it but the car was still moving towards Lewis.

  6. This Max kid will not shy away from deliberately crashing into Lewis in the last race if it means he will win the championship. Calling it today.
    Just wait till Lec, Sainz, Lando have competitive cars, Max will have crashes every other race.

    1. I don’t think Verstappen is that kind of driver. He’s too aggressive at times for my liking (see said accident), but he’s not stupid and won’t copy Schumacher 94 or 97 antics.

      1. Everyone had their own antics.

  7. In this ‘slow speed’ accident it seems that the halo impede Redbull’s car trayectory while keeping it on the top of Mercedes car. Then gravity plays its role. At the end the halo did its job, but surely they will need to double check halo angle and height to avoid such kind of vertical impact on drivers head.

    1. I am of the same mind to some extend that the Halo helped create a problem here, and then offered protection from the problem it may have helped cause. it’s way more complex than “halo saved Hamilton’s life” which will gain the most traction.

    2. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
      12th September 2021, 18:47

      A trident halo design could be the way forward. One bar extends from the Y-bifurcation and attaches below the roll hoop. It should be detachable for the purpose of entry and exit. Basically, some sort of impedance to prevent the tyre from dipping into the cockpit.

  8. People can be over dramatic when F1 crashes but I completely agree with Wolf here. I’m not saying that Max did this deliberately or deserves more penalty because of it, but the fact is without the halo that wheel is hitting Hamilton much harder which could easily be a fatal accident. I’ve typed that a few times over the years and I’m so glad it’s been introduced dispute the initial backlash.

  9. Wolff avoided answering some interesting questions. Why Mercedes waited with the stop for another lap? Had they pitted Ham lap earlier they would most likely covered both Norris & Verstappen. Such a shame because after the Sprint disaster it was looking very promising for Hamilton/Mercedes today.

    1. Promising because of verstappen’s pit stop being slow? What happened to driving well and overtaking the mclarens?

    2. If they didn’t have such a slow pitstop they would have covered both Norris and Verstappen easily too.

  10. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
    12th September 2021, 19:02

    Wouldn’t be surprised if Lewis reviews this incident, thinks it over, and calls it a day after this season. Such brushes with death tend to change perspectives.

    1. @asleepatthewheel ..and blame it on low energy following covid after effects

  11. I don’t understand why the Halo design is at the right height in front, but it starts to slide down as it goes backwards, so much that the helmet goes higher at the seat rest’s point. But there are plenty of engineers who might even redesign it to avoid a potential similar accident as today.

  12. I’ve never been a fan of the halo, because I don’t think it offers enough protection– but watching Max’s floor crumple in slow motion against the outside of the halo, I’m very, very glad it was there.

    1. But stii i was afraid the sides whould reach Lewis head.

  13. The sausage kerbs are getting a 10 place grid penalty for causing an accident and blaming 2 other drivers.

    1. I don’t get the references to the sausage curbs, they are there as a deterrent.

      Knowingly driving over them is going to slow you down amongst other things.

  14. That’s halo saving 3 driver’s bacon now by my reckoning.

    All those against the halo are surely feeling stupid now, and that includes Hamilton.

    1. @balue yes, I think that’s a sign that F1 is becoming too dangerous. But then again, Max is allowed to compete in it and he’ll cause a super crash on every corner when fighting for position. The worst F1 driver of all time.

      1. @freelittlebirds What a joke comment when Hamilton has deliberately crashed in Copse at over 200 kph which should have caused a race ban, but then what can you expect from a Hamilton fan. The comment is not even on topic. It’s just spewing as usual.

        1. @balue if you think this is a joke, then you must have a hard time watching comedies. F1 is becoming too dangerous. The Halo was designed to save lives but not every season. In my opinion, that makes F1 too dangerous.

          As for the crash kid, he has sought a collision all 4 times the cars have been next to each other over the course of 5 races with Lewis avoiding 2 crashes. 2 of those incidents were life threatening and completely avoidable by Max who is always the one trying to make contact.

          Max’s a loaded gun the likes of which has never been seen in any sport. But let’s listen to the pearls of wisdom you have to offer.

          let’s listen to you. It’s akin to saying let’s listen to Goebbels as opposed to Churchill…

          1. @freelittlebirds
            You just forgot (again) that Lewis collided four times with another driver from the same team (coincidence?) in less than two years, being held mostly to blame in three of them. Max might be unwilling to avoid incidents as well, but, as Toto said, it takes two to tango. And it has becoming too often.

  15. One of the most bizarre accidents ever. Hard to remember something like this at least in recent Formula 1 history.

    Reply moderated
  16. So that’s (possibly) 3 drivers saved by the halo, now:

    Leclerc in Spa (2018)
    Grosjean in Bahrain (2020)
    Lewis in Monza (2021)

    I was against it as most people were but I’m so glad we have it! Just imagine Charles and Lewis very likely to be seriously injured and Romain certainly killed. What a nightmare that would have been!

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