Formula 1
Formula 1
28 Mar
FP1 in
26 days
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
Race in
49 days
09 May
Next event in
67 days
23 May
Race in
84 days
R
Azerbaijan GP
06 Jun
Race in
98 days
13 Jun
Race in
106 days
27 Jun
Race in
119 days
04 Jul
Next event in
123 days
18 Jul
Race in
141 days
R
Hungarian GP
01 Aug
Race in
154 days
29 Aug
Race in
182 days
05 Sep
Race in
189 days
12 Sep
Race in
196 days
26 Sep
Race in
210 days
R
Singapore GP
03 Oct
Next event in
214 days
10 Oct
Race in
224 days
R
United States GP
24 Oct
Race in
239 days
31 Oct
Race in
246 days
R
Australian GP
21 Nov
Race in
266 days
R
Saudi Arabia GP
05 Dec
Race in
281 days
R
Abu Dhabi GP
12 Dec
Race in
287 days

Exclusive: Halo saved Leclerc from visor strike in Spa crash

The FIA's official investigation in to the first corner crash at this year's Belgian Grand Prix has concluded that the halo saved Charles Leclerc from being hit on his visor by the front wing endplate of Fernando Alonso's car, Motorsport.com can reveal.

shares
comments
Exclusive: Halo saved Leclerc from visor strike in Spa crash

Following weeks of analysis of video footage and data from the cars involved, the final report in to the accident has concluded that the halo did play a crucial role in saving Leclerc from injury or worse.

The report by the FIA Global Institute, the findings of which are revealed here for the first time, have given the clearest indication yet of how well the halo stood up to the crash.

For not only did the cockpit protection system remain ‘structurally intact and in a usable condition’ following the 58kN impact from Alonso’s right front wheel – with Sauber able to remove it without issue after the event – it also helped deflect the McLaren away.

For Prime users:

Pictures of the accident captured by the FIA’s high-speed cockpit camera showed that Leclerc was only hit by small pieces of carbon debris from Alonso’s car as it flew over his cockpit.

Without the halo, however, the incident would have been worse – even though the front-wheel trajectory would not have brought it in to contact with Leclerc’s head.

Speaking exclusively to Motorsport.com about the results of the investigation, the FIA’s Safety Director Adam Baker said: “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.”

Tyre marks on Charles Leclerc's Halo and chassis, Sauber

Tyre marks on Charles Leclerc's Halo and chassis, Sauber

Photo by: FIA

Crash data

The official crash report in to the Spa accident, put together by the FIA Global Institute, confirmed that the main point of contact was Alonso’s right-front wheel striking the right-hand upper side of Leclerc’s halo.

Analysis shows that the relative velocity between the two cars was approximately 30km/h, with an estimated impact angle of 90 degrees.

This clash with the halo was enough to break the suspension on Alonso’s car, but the right-front wheel rim remained intact and the tyre appeared to have remained inflated. Leclerc’s right rear suspension was broken in the accident.

The key findings from the report are:

* 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 close to the load application point for the homologation tests.

*If the wheel had contacted Leclerc’s helmet with a similar force, there would have been potential for a very serious head or neck injury.

* The energy and force of a wheel impacting the Halo are inherently limited by the speed and mass of the wheel assembly and strength of the attached suspension. If the full mass of the car had impacted the Halo loading through the primary structure, the impact energy would have been approximately 30kJ (based on 840kg at 30km/h). Such energy would have devastating consequences if it loaded directly onto the driver. However, the Halo would not be able to absorb all this energy without significant deformation and probable failure.

*An investigation by Sauber has confirmed that the Halo structure, its attachments and the chassis were not damaged or deformed due to the engagement with the wheel.

Tyre marks on Charles Leclerc's Halo and chassis, Sauber

Tyre marks on Charles Leclerc's Halo and chassis, Sauber

Photo by: FIA

F1 tweaks penalty rules to curb qualifying no-shows

Previous article

F1 tweaks penalty rules to curb qualifying no-shows

Next article

The highs and lows of F1 2018's top drivers

The highs and lows of F1 2018's top drivers
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Charles Leclerc
Teams Sauber
Author Jonathan Noble
How McLaren F1’s new investors have already made an impact Prime

How McLaren F1’s new investors have already made an impact

The deal McLaren concluded with MSP Sports Capital last year which will help the cash-strapped Formula 1 team pay for much-needed infrastructure upgrades, also points toward the future for F1 itself, says GP Racing's Stuart Codling.

Why Verstappen isn't interested in the hype game Prime

Why Verstappen isn't interested in the hype game

In a pre-season where Red Bull has been unusually quiet, Max Verstappen has also been guarded about the team's fortunes in 2021. Even after trying the RB16B for the first time at Silverstone, the Dutchman was careful to manage expectations

Formula 1
Feb 26, 2021
The pros and cons of F1's 2021 rule changes Prime

The pros and cons of F1's 2021 rule changes

In the strategy for grand prix racing's future, 2021 represents a significant step towards the goal of closer racing and a more level playing field. That's the theory behind the latest raft of changes, but will they have the desired effect?

Formula 1
Feb 24, 2021
What Red Bull is trying to hide with its RB16B launch Prime

What Red Bull is trying to hide with its RB16B launch

Red Bull made no secret of the fact its 2021 F1 car is an evolution of its predecessor, but in keeping the same foundations while hiding some tightly-guarded updates with its RB16B, the team aims to avoid suffering the same pitfalls of previous years

Formula 1
Feb 23, 2021
How Albon plans to fight his way out of Red Bull limbo Prime

How Albon plans to fight his way out of Red Bull limbo

Alex Albon has faced the media for the first time since he lost his Red Bull drive at the end of 2020 and dropped out of a Formula 1 race seat altogether. He has a history of bouncing back from setbacks, so here's what he must do to rise again

Formula 1
Feb 23, 2021
Ranked! Carlin's greatest F1 graduates Prime

Ranked! Carlin's greatest F1 graduates

Carlin has helped guide enough drivers to Formula 1 to fill out an entire grid, plus a handful of reserves, to create a remarkable alumni list. With Yuki Tsunoda set to join that group, Motorsport.com has ranked its graduates to grace the grand prix scene...

Formula 1
Feb 22, 2021
Why Alfa's 2021 launch says more about its 2022 plans Prime

Why Alfa's 2021 launch says more about its 2022 plans

Alfa Romeo launched its C41 with a revised front nose, but there's little to suggest it will surge up the leaderboard in 2021. As the team frankly admits, it's putting its eggs in the basket labelled 2022 and hoping to hold the eighth place it earned last year

Formula 1
Feb 22, 2021
Why Gasly’s AlphaTauri haven is a blessing and a curse Prime

Why Gasly’s AlphaTauri haven is a blessing and a curse

Red Bull opted not to re-sign Pierre Gasly even before it decided to drop Alex Albon and so the Frenchman's Formula 1 journey will continue at AlphaTauri. This has positive and negative connotations for one of last season's star performers.

Formula 1
Feb 20, 2021