Former world champion Nico Rosberg believes that all the HALO naysayers will have to eat their words. He is convinced that the device saves lives, especially after seeing it in action at the Turn 1 crash in Belgium.
A huge misjudgment under braking from Nico Hulkenberg sent Fernando Alonso soaring over the top of Charles Leclerc’s Sauber. Alonso’s car bounced off the Halo device mounted above and around Leclerc’s head. The device was made mandatory for 2018 despite much controversy and opposition from some drivers and a significant number of fans. Halo was introduced after years of research into cockpit protection by the sport’s governing body, the FIA.
After the race, Rosberg replied to a tweet from the official F1 account showing the tyre marks on top of Leclerc’s Halo with the message: “We can end the HALO discussion now. It will save lives! #thanksFIA”
After the crash, Alonso said “we don’t need to prove it’s a good thing to have”, in reference to the device.
However, F1 race director Charlie Whiting believes it’s too early to ascertain its role. the FIA will investigate in the coming days — but believes it is easy to see what the worst case scenario would have been without it.
When asked if he agreed serious injury had been avoided, Whiting said: “I think it would be a little bit speculative, but it doesn’t take much imagination to think that the tyre marks could have been on Charles’ head. It would have been a bit of a miracle if they weren’t had the Halo not been there.
“There’s a huge extent of the tyre marks, as you’ve all seen I’m sure. So it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to think that that probably would have made contact with his head. But it is slightly speculative.”
Whiting said the initial viewings of both the high-speed and on-board cameras on the Sauber had been inconclusive.
Leclerc himself said he was just relieved to walk away unscathed.
“I don’t know how it will have ended up without it but looking at it I’m happy it was there,” he said. “I’ve been lucky on this one.”