A shock accident at Silverstone shows how safe Formula 1 has become. Alfa driver Guanyu Zhou is already ready for the next race – he knows what he has to be thankful for.
After his horror accident at Silverstone, Formula 1 driver Guanyu Zhou sees his lifesaver in the once controversial cockpit protection. “The Halo saved me,” said the Chinese and reported fit for the next race in Austria.
The images of the departure in his Alfa Romeo upside down in the safety fence caused horror and concern for the health of the 23-year-old at the British Grand Prix. “It was a serious accident and I’m glad I’m fine,” Zhou said.
“Without Halo he wouldn’t be there anymore”
Once again, the “Halo” roll bar, which has been mandatory in Formula 1 since 2018, paid off. Protected by the seven-kilogram titanium ring over his head, Zhou survived the frightening slide over asphalt and gravel and the impact with the fence without major injuries. “Without Halo he wouldn’t be there anymore. Of course he was very lucky, »said world champion Max Verstappen after viewing the accident video.
Before the “Halo” was introduced, there had been heated debates among drivers, some of whom feared a restricted field of vision. “Today showed again that the halo really belongs in Formula 1,” said Verstappen. Alfa team boss Frederic Vasseur stated: “The work to improve safety in our sport is never done. This day reminds us how important that is.”
The cockpit protection was developed in response to several serious incidents. Brazilian Felipe Massa was severely injured in the head by a metal spring in Hungary in 2009. In 2009, 18-year-old Henry Surtees was fatally hit by a flying tire at Brands Hatch in Formula 2.
Fia President: Safety is “top priority”
According to the world association Fia, the “Halo” must withstand the weight of two African elephants (around twelve tons for two male animals) and a full suitcase, which is fired at 225 km/h. “Safety is our top priority,” said Fia President Mohammed bin Sulayem at Silverstone. Williams driver Alexander Albon also survived a serious accident at the start without major injuries and was released from the hospital on Sunday evening.
Even in the junior class Formula 2, the “Halo” had already prevented worse. In a collision, the Norwegian Dennis Hauger’s car landed in cockpit height on Roy Nissany’s car. The Israeli remained unharmed thanks to the titanium bar. “The halo probably saved two lives today,” said Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz after his Formula 1 victory at Silverstone and emphasized with a view to the increasingly comprehensive safety measures: “I’m very happy to be in Formula 1 at this time drive.”