The FIA’s investigation for the Belgian Grand Prix start crash has concluded, that the halo saved Charles Leclerc from being hit on the visor by Fernando Alonso‘s end-plate.
Following the incident, weeks of analysis of video footage as well as data from the cars involved, the final report regarding the accident has concluded that the halo did play a crucial role in saving Charles Leclerc from injury or worse.
Reports by the FIA Global Institute, the findings of them are revealed for the first time here, have given a strong indication of how well the halo stood up to the crash. The cockpit protection system remained “structurally intact and in a usable condition” after the 58kN impact from Alonso’s right front wheel – with Sauber able to remove the halo without any issue after the event – it had also helped deflect the McLaren away.
Pictures of the accident that were captured by the FIA’s high-speed cockpit camera showed that Leclerc was barely hit by minor pieces of carbon debris from Alonso’s car as it flew over his cockpit.
The investigation concluded that the front-wheel trajectory, would not have brought it into contact with Charles Leclerc and his head. However, it also believes that the McLaren’s front wing end-plate was on course for Leclerc’s visor.
In an exclusive interview with Autosport about the results of the investigation, the FIA’s safety director Adam Baker has said that- “From the available data and video footage, we are confident that the wheel would not have hit Leclerc’s helmet. But, as Alonso’s car continued to yaw relative to Leclerc’s, we believe that Alonso’s front wing endplate would have just contacted Leclerc’s visor.”
“It is difficult to predict the severity of the contact with any precision, though”, he continued. The report, in the end, confirmed that the major point of contact was Alonso’s right-front wheel hitting the right-hand upper side of Leclerc’s halo. The analysis also shows that the relative velocity between the two cars was approximately 30km/h (19mph), with an approximate impact angle of 90 degrees.
This clash with the halo was more than enough to break the suspension for Alonso’s car. However, the right-front wheel rim remained very much intact and the tyre appeared to have remained inflated. Leclerc’s right rear suspension was also smashed in the accident.
Here are the key points from the analysis
* The estimated peak force imparted on the Halo was 58kN, this being 46% of the 125kN FIA prescribed load requirement for the Halo and chassis attachment points. The contact position during the crash was very close to the load application point for the homologation tests.
* Had the wheel contacted Leclerc’s helmet with a similar force, there would have been a potential for a very serious head or neck injury.
* The energy and the force of a wheel impacting the halo is innately limited by the speed as well as mass of the wheel’s assembly and the strength of the attached suspension.
If the complete mass of the car had impacted the halo loading via the primary structure, the impact energy would have been approximately 30kJ (based on 840kg at 30km/h). Such energy would have had devastating consequences if it was loaded directly onto the driver.
* Investigation by Sauber has revealed that the halo structure, and its attachments as well as the chassis were not damaged due to the engagement with the wheel.