In 2018, when the FIA introduced the halo on Formula 1 single-seaters, there were many doubts. Certainly not on its value in terms of the greater security it would have brought; but on the aesthetic impact and how much it would have affected the visibility of the drivers. And following the episode in the Prima Variante between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in Monza, Scuderia Ferrari Spanish driver Carlos Sainz wanted to reiterate the importance of this system.
“It is not known what could have happened without the halo [ed. referring to the incident], but I’m sure it would have been much more serious. It is curious how four years ago we were concerned with aesthetics because the essence of Formula 1 would have been lost. And today he saved the life of a seven-time world champion. It’s a support that is saving someone every two or three years, and it doesn’t affect us very much. To tell the truth, when we drive we don’t think about halo or safety “, the words of the Spaniard to Antena 3 and reported by SoyMotor.
Carlos Sainz refers to the two previous clashes in which the halo was decisive. At Spa in 2018 when Fernando Alonso’s McLaren literally flew over Charles Leclerc’s Alfa Romeo at La Source. In that case, the official investigation ended with the report that the halo was essential to prevent the front wing from hitting the Monegasque’s visor. And the halo was also important last year in Bahrain in the episode involving Romain Grosjean. Here, on the other hand, the protection of the head allowed the Frenchman to remain alert after the impact, giving him the opportunity to escape from the flames.
But it is not only the halo that perfectly withstood the weight of the Dutchman’s Red Bull, as underlined by Motorsport it was in fact the entire chassis that withstood the impact. The crash occurred at low speed brought the RB16B over the Stevenage driver’s W12, impacting first against the roll bar, then sliding over the halo to the front. Roll bar that did exactly what it had to do in terms of safety, and is in fact the part of the car that has suffered the most damage. This is why it will be necessary to replace it at the next Grand Prix.
A banality perhaps, which needs to be reiterated. Motorsport will always be a dangerous sport given the impossibility of completely eliminating the risks that drivers take. But any system aimed at lowering the percentage of danger must always be welcome, without being paranoid about the essence of Formula 1 as was the case in 2018.