The formula of salvation, or What is "Halo"

Categories: Auto | Catastrophes | Sport |

Despite the fact that Formula 1 cars are getting faster and more powerful every year, their pilots no longer put themselves in such danger as they did 20 or 30 years ago. It may seem strange, but the revolution in the field of security occurred at the time of the introduction of a simple and very effective cockpit part — the "halo". How did the accident statistics on Formula 1 race tracks change, and how many pilots had to suffer and even die before protection was installed?

The formula of salvation, or What is "Halo"
Source: CNN Sport

On August 26, the spectators of the Belgian Grand Prix witnessed a terrible accident on the track when the car of Spaniard Fernando Alonso hit the car of Nico Hulkenberg and, taking off into the air, crashed into the cockpit of Charles Leclerc's car. The titanium structure on Leclerc's cockpit, the halo, withstood the blow of colossal force with honor and McLaren Alonso flew to the side.

The experts examined the defense that took the blow and were convinced that it had suffered huge damage. It's hard to imagine what could have happened to Leclerc, if not for the ingenious durable bracket made of Grade 5 titanium.

The accident in which the halo saved Leclerc's life

The appearance of the "halo" is one of the most effective innovations of recent years, created to ensure the safety of pilots. But how many athletes had to suffer and die in order for the designers to finally take care of protecting their heads?

The most terrible in the history of Formula 1, without a doubt, was the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. Then motor sport lost two legendary pilots at once — Roland Ratzenberg and Ayrton Senna.

It is known that after the death of Ratzenberg, who died in the qualifying race, Senna was in a depressed state and was ready to refuse to participate in the race. But the miracle did not happen, and a day later Ayrton died after being hit on the head by a part of the suspension that broke off in a collision.

The formula of salvation, or What is "Halo"

Ayrton Senna's car after a fatal accident

In 2014, the lack of head protection cost the life of Jules Bianchi during the Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit. The fatal accident was the result of another incident — the Sauber car of German pilot Adrian Sutil was damaged and a special car with a crane was called to evacuate it from the highway. It was this special equipment weighing 6.5 tons that Bianca's car hit. From the collision, which occurred at a speed of only 78 miles per hour, the French racer's car was almost not injured, but he himself hit his helmet on the lower section of the crane beam. The sensor built into the rider's helmet showed a colossal 92g overload at the time of the collision. The Frenchman miraculously survived, but could not recover from the terrible injury and died 9 months later.

The formula of salvation, or What is "Halo"

Medics remove Jules Bianchi from the car after a collision with a crane

Niki Lauda, one of the most revered racers of the old school, has been trying his luck all his career.

The formula of salvation, or What is "Halo"

Niki Lauda. Consequences of the Nurburgring accident

After a terrible accident on the track at the Nurburgring, at the German Grand Prix in 1976, having lost an ear and eyelids in a fire, having been in a coma, the Austrian participated in the race again after 6 weeks. The damage received by the Austrian could have been significantly less if at the time of the accident he had not lost consciousness from a head blow and was able to get out of the burning Ferrari before the arrival of technicians and medics.

The formula of salvation, or What is "Halo"

The German company CP Autosport, the largest of the three manufacturers of "halo" for Formula cars, guarantees that the structure will withstand a load of 125 kN, which corresponds to 12 tons of weight. Of course, no measure taken today guarantees complete safety, but the developers are not standing still, improving the devices that protect pilots.

Keywords: Accident | Auto racing | Grand prix | Defense | Formula 1