Halo system is drivers’ guardian angel
The idea of a Halo around racing drivers’ heads may seem an unlikely image, but the new Halo system, developed by the FIA with support from the FIA Foundation, has been protecting drivers since the start of the 2018 racing season.
The new safety device which was added to the race car chassis to create a barrier across a driver’s head has already prevented a number of serious, and potentially fatal, injuries.
During the Barcelona round of the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship, a collision between Tadasuke Makino and Nirei Fukuzumi caused by an aggressive overtake on a corner could have had tragic consequences. At speeds of over 250km/h, the cars collided and Fukuzumi’s car was spun, which resulted in the car driving over Makino’s cockpit. Tyres marks on the Halo showed extensive contact was made, but that Makino’s head was shielded. The Global Institute report for the FIA Safety Department concluded that the Halo “likely prevented contact between the tyre and the drivers head,” going on to add “without the Halo there would have been potential for a very serious head or neck injury.”
A second crash occurred during the Belgium round of the 2018 Formula 1 Championship. The collision launched driver Fernando Alonso’s car into the air, landing on top of Charles Leclerc’s car. Alonso’s front-right wheel struck Leclerc’s Halo, and the initial evidence is that the Halo helped to deflect it away from Leclerc’s head. The FIA is in the process of a full investigation, to study how significant the Halo was in protecting Leclerc during the crash, but both drivers involved were grateful for it being there.
Leclerc confirmed the worth of the device saying, “Definitely the Halo probably helped today,” while Alonso added: “The positive side is we are all OK, especially Charles. I flew over his car and the Halo was a good thing to have today.”
Former F1 champion Nico Rosberg added his voice to the new system, tweeting: “We can end the Halo discussion now. It will save lives! #thanksFIA.”
The new technology is all part of the FIA’s safety focused work across motor sport - the FIA with the support of the FIA Foundation is determined to ensure that safety always comes first.