Guanyu Zhou, Alfa Romeo, Silverstone, 2022

Zhou says “Halo saved me” in shocking British GP crash

2022 British Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Zhou Guanyu said Formula 1’s Halo saved him from injury in his enormous crash at the start of the British Grand Prix.

The Alfa Romeo driver flipped upside down at the start of the race following contact with George Russell. The car skidded towards a barrier resting on the Halo, a structure which was added to cars four years ago to improve safety.

Zhou’s car then hit a tyre barrier, rolled over the top of it and struck a debris fence. It fell down between the two where it came to a rest, upside down.

“It was a big crash and I’m glad I’m okay,” said Zhou in a statement released by his team. “The marshals and the medical team at the track were fantastic with their quick response.

“I also owe my thanks to the FIA and Formula 1 for all the work they have done, and they keep doing, to improve the safety of our cars,” he said. “The Halo saved me today and it goes to show that every step we take in improving our cars has real, valuable results.”

He said he is looking forward to returning to action in practice at the Red Bull Ring on Friday. “I’m keener than ever to get back on track and do what I love: I’m fit and I’m looking forward to Austria next week.”

Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur also praised the FIA’s safety standards. “I think we can all agree that the most important thing today is seeing Zhou come out of such a huge crash without any injury,” he said.

“What we witnessed were dramatic scenes and once again we have to thank the great improvements in safety spearheaded by the FIA and Formula 1 for a positive outcome. The work to improve safety in our sport is never done and today reminds us of just how important this is: Zhou is okay and fit to race in Austria next week, and this is the big victory of the day.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2022 British Grand Prix

Browse all 2022 British Grand Prix articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

20 comments on “Zhou says “Halo saved me” in shocking British GP crash”

  1. Great to hear that he seems to be quite fine, the safety has really come very far for that.

  2. I’m all for the halo, there were too many near misses before it’s introduction for my liking

    That said I find it really strange how many incidents there have been since it came in that would almost certainly have been fatal like for like without it

    I do wonder if there’s anyway to explain the phenomena of the increase in what would almost certainly have been the drivers head being hit compared to so few actual occurrences before it’s introduction

    1. maybe drivers feel invisible with halo and take more ridiculous risks?
      Also people like to jump the gun quick to hype the halo and say every close call would be instant decapitation in the ‘bad’ old days

    2. I think it’s less “more accidents” and more the fact we’re more acutely aware of it.

    3. You must have missed Surtees,Wilson and Boanchis fatal accidents and the many many near misses in all levels of single seaters. The aeroscreen in Indycar has also saved lives already.

  3. I would like to know why the roll hoop collapsed – I always thought they were meant to be one of the strongest points of the car, but it wiped out in this crash.
    Thankfully the halo stood up.

    1. yep exactly. without the halo, he could/should have been ok / protected by the roll hoop. Needs looking at for sure.
      PS. not against the halo, it’s amazing, but just alarmed a key defence structure pre-halo failed.

  4. Everyone quoted is praising the halo not criticising the roll over structure failure – not even mentioning it.

    1. probably why liberty media constantly pushing the ‘hail halo’ to drown out valid critique.

      IF the roll hoop didn’t fail the car wouldn’t slide like a bobsleigh at full speed. eventually pole vaulting over the tyre barrier.

      My guess is that the resin that connects the roll hoop failed due to the heat friction and partly due to the budget cap forcing teams to cut safety corners similar to micks car at Monaco

      1. What is your valid critique? Not liking the look of the halo is not valid. The more safety the better. Roll hoops failed pre halo also you do realise?

        1. ok, is that supposed to be a reason why roll hoop failing now is acceptable?

      2. That is a wild guess and a weird conspiracy theory. I’ll wait for the team to explain thankyou.

      3. Lmao there is zero evidence to support this

  5. The roll structure didn’t have time to heat up through friction. As soon as it hit the ground it simply broke off and was left behind.

    The Alfa Romeo is the only car on the grid that still runs the ‘roll blade’ design that originates from I think Mercedes in 2010. I hated that back then, and wish that they will now finally realise this design, whilst it passes the regulatory static load test, is weak when exposed to a real world dynamic impact. A roll blade is a single cantilever structural element, whereas a normal roll hoop now used by all the other teams features two elements that support each other and provide a cleaner path for impact loads to be absorbed.

    Note that Alpine construct their roll hoop using additive manufacturing (3D printing). I suspect that its resulting complex geometry is also likely to be highly optimised to only pass the specific load tests and also probably wouldn’t as well as more conventional designs in a real world crash that diverted from the tests’ conditions.

    Perhaps the FIA should force the adoption of a standard FIA roll hoop forged from titanium, as that’s clearly worked well with the halo (except when drivers’ helmets have struck the halo).

  6. Rob (@standbyexp)
    4th July 2022, 9:28

    Keith, no print media appears to be asking Alfa Romeo why their roll hoop failed which to me seems like a massive safety issue and not something we have seen since Pedro Diniz in 1999.

    Can you press the team on this and ask them why this safety structure failed? No one seems to be asking the difficult questions.

    1. Garry Anderson at the-Race, Autosport and others all starting to ask these questions now.

  7. The last time ground effect was standard there were some very scary moments when a car came unstuck from the track and instead of being sucked down was instead thrown up into the air.

    We saw it again this weekend.

    “Study the past if you would define the future.”
    ― Confucius

    1. That does not really seem specific to ground effect cars. When a car is on its head, downforce becomes upforce.

      1. (and the ground effect will stop when there is no ground close, so traditional wings will probably be worse in this regard)

  8. That’s the end of the single support roll bar. It’s not easy to see why this design would perform poorly in response to a shear force. The halo certainly saved his life in part because the roll hoop was not there.

Comments are closed.