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What is it? How Mercedes’ design “saved two lives” at F1 British GP


Guanyu Zhou’s terrifying crash on the opening lap at Silverstone came after F2 driver Roy Nissany was involved in a scary incident.

Carlos Sainz, who won the Grand Prix, said that halo “probably saved two lives”.

What is the halo?

It is a curved bar, made of titanium, in the cockpit of an F1 car around the driver’s head.

It was initially designed by Mercedes.

F1 made it mandatory for every car, in every class, from the 2018 season onwards.

Mercedes’ James Allison has said: “We had to strengthen the design of the chassis so it would be able to take roughly the weight of a London double decker bus sitting on top of the halo.”

Red Bull had designed an alternative option to the halo which was described as F1 as similar to a fighter jet’s cockpit canopy.

The FIA extensively trialled both options – tests included firing an F1 wheel and tyre at the cockpit – before opting for the halo.

Why was the halo controversial?

Its introduction was criticised by some purists who thought that it went against the essence of single-seater racing, because it partially obscured the sight of the driver.

There was speculation that it may impede a driver from escaping his car, if needed. But this has proven not to be a problem.

What did drivers say after F1 British Grand Prix?

Zhou made it clear that “halo saved me”.

Sainz added: “We sometimes criticise the FIA [F1’s governing body] but you need to give it to them, how much they’ve been helping us.

“They’ve saved probably two lives.

“We need to give it to them, [for] the amazing work in safety.

“When I saw [Zhou’s crash], I was completely shocked. It was incredible. The fact he came out of it… is crazy. I find it incredible that you can come out of it.”

Russell, who rushed to the scene, called it: “One of the scariest crashes I’ve ever seen.”

Lewis Hamilton last year: ‘Halo saved me’

Lewis Hamilton thanked the safety device after a crash involving Max Verstappen at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix.

Hamilton said: “I feel very, very fortunate today. Thank God for the Halo which saved me, and saved my neck.”

Who has been saved by halo?

Romain Grosjean was caught in a fireball last year in Bahrain after his car snapped in half.

He said: “I wasn’t for the halo some years ago, but I think it’s the greatest thing that we brought to Formula 1 and without it I wouldn’t be able to speak to you today.”

Charles Leclerc paid tribute after crashing with Fernando Alonso in Belgium in 2018. Leclerc said: “I have never been a fan of the halo but I have to say that I was very happy to have it over my head today.”



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