SILVERSTONE, England (WFRV) – Going 200 miles per hour in a vehicle is already dangerous as is, but what about going that speed upside down.
Well, that is exactly what Formula 1 rookie Guanyu Zhou did at the British Grand Prix in Silverstone over the weekend on Sunday morning.
After the start of the race, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly knocked into George Russell’s Mercedes, which then smacked into Zhou’s back wheel. The Alfa Romeo went airborne and flipped upside-down, zooming across the gravel trap and into the barriers.
Zhou escaped the horrific accident with only minor injuries thanks to advancements in safety, but 20 years ago, we might’ve been talking about another fatality in the sport.
With the invention of the halo that was protecting Zhou’s helmet, the rookie was safe from any damage the surface would have caused.
The halo is shaped like a wishbone and is made of titanium. The bar sits on top of the cockpit and wraps around the driver’s head. It was designed to sustain massive amounts of weight for any extreme accident and in the case of Zhou’s, it saved his life.
While initially met with negative reviews from the fans due to the way the halo looked aesthetically, the safety device has been crucial in many crashes.
The 2018 Belgian Grand Prix saw Fernando Alonso’s McLaren flying over Charles Leclerc’s head. Had the halo not been there, Alonso’s vehicle could have fatally injured Leclerc.
Romain Grosjean had one of the most famous accidents in recent years when his Haas went crashing into the barrier in Bahrain. Grosjean’s vehicle split in two and erupted in flames. Without the invention of the halo, he would have been decapitated.
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s battle at Monza in 2021 saw Verstappen’s vehicle land right on top of Hamilton’s head. Without the halo protecting Lewis, he would have been crushed by the wheel.
Formula 1 continues to be one of the world’s most dangerous sports. With vehicles exceeding 200 miles per hour, safety is one of the most crucial things the league has been working on. Although met with negative reviews in the beginning, the halo has been one of the most successful inventions in Formula 1 history.
For more information about Formula 1’s halo invention, click here.