Expalined: How F1’s Halo Is Saving Lives

Photo: One Stop Racing

As it is widely claimed that “speed kills” but when it comes to Formula 1, speed is everything. Formula 1 is becoming one of the foremost growing and loved sport around the world and to keep this sport running, the safety of the F1 car drivers are the utmost priority for Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) which is the governing body for several racing events, including the Formula One.

After several years of FIA research into the security benefits of front roll structures on single seaters, they introduced Halo a safety device that protects the drivers during accidents.

In 17 case studies of significant accidents disbursed by the FIA, Halo would have resulted in an exceedingly beneficial outcome in 15 while the opposite two would have proved neutral. The structure is meant to prevent cockpit intrusion from large objects, like wheels, another car, or trackside barriers.

What is Halo?

The Halo technology was introduced back in 2018 after concerns over driver safety were on the rise. Halo is a titanium structure that sits above the car’s cockpit to shield the driver’s head from flying debris. One vertical pylon supports the structure in front of the driver and the hoop above the cockpit is mounted to the car’s survival cell and cockpit surround.

Mercedes proposed the Halo concept in 2015. The primary Halo prototype which was a product of steel and underwent static tests at RAF Bentwaters in 2015 where it performed well against a 20 kg tire fired from a nitrogen-powered cannon at speeds of 225 km/h.

How many times has it saved the drivers?

The Halo was brought into the great books of doubters after Lewis Hamilton was saved by the same after a crash with Max Verstappen back in 2021.

In another incident in an exceedingly multi-car pile-up at the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix, the halo deflected Fernando Alonso’s flying McLaren away from Sauber driver Charles Leclerc’s head. Since then, there are at least three other incidents where it has efficiently saved a driver’s life.

In another incident in 2020, Romain Grosjean confessed his dislike towards the Halo but showed gratefulness after suffering a horrific crash within the Bahrain GP.

During a recent event in British Grand Prix, 2022, conducted in Silverstone proved that Halo is a very useful device because it saved the Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu, where his car flipped several times at almost 200mph and smashed into a grandstand barrier during the first lap. He was saved due to the Halo from suffering major injuries. On an identical day, another incident befell on the same circuit where the F2 driver Roy Nissany managed to survive the car crash where Red Bull’s Dennis Hauger’s car crashed onto the top of Nissany’s car.

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