F1 spa crash 2018

Halo saved Charles Leclerc from visor strike in Spa, FIA report concludes

Motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, has concluded that the halo device introduced for the first time for the 2018 season, saved Charles Leclerc from being hit by Fernando Alonso’s endplate during the Belgian Grand Prix.

Motorsport Technology concluded after the incident that the halo debate must now surely end and the FIA’s investigation into the matter certainly confirms that.

As reported by Autosport, the findings by the FIA global institute concluded that the halo not only remained structurally intact but it helped deflect the McLaren away from Leclerc’s Sauber.

Crucially, although the report found that Alonso’s front wheel was not on course for Leclerc’s helmet, the front wing endplate was on course for the Frenchman’s visor.

“From the available data and video footage, we are confident that the wheel would not have hit Leclerc’s helmet,” FIA safety director Adam Baker told Autosport. “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.”

The halo initially met with criticism from many quarters on the grounds of aesthetics. But such is the weight of evidence for its benefits, FIA president Jean Todt was honoured for its implementation at the recent Autosport awards, collecting the ‘Pioneering and Innovation Award’ last week.

“I have had a lot of resistance, but if you believe it goes in the right direction you must fight for it,” said Todt. “We were able to demonstrate it would have had worse consequences on Charles [without it]. We saw the loss of Henry Surtees because of one wheel hitting his head. It is worth fighting the resistance to save alife. I want to thank all the people who have been participating in theresearch, the teams. We will implement it in Formula 3 and Formula E and Formula 4 as soon as possible.”

Top image: Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14) McLaren F1 Team MCL33 Renault launches over the top of Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team C37 Ferrari at the start during the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 26, 2018 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.

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