There were two horror crashes in the Formula One and Formula Two races at Silverstone today, with experts saying both could have been deadly but for a life-saving “Halo” device.
Formula 2 drivers Roy Nissany and Dennis Hauger collided on the opening lap at Silverstone on Sunday morning, as Hauger’s car was launched over the “sausage” kerb and sent airborne towards Nissany.
Hauger’s vehicle landed on top of his rival at speed, before both cars came to a stop in the gravel.
Incredibly, both drivers escaped unhurt and television replays showed it was the Halo – the cockpit-fixed safety device introduced to Formula 1 and Formula 2 in 2018 – that had saved the life of Nissany.
In the later Formula One race also held at Silverstone, Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu was involved in another first-lap crash that saw his car flip multiple times at great speed and skid upside-down across the gravel on top of its Halo device.
Zhou’s car ended up flipping again over a tyre barrier before getting wedged between the barrier and fencing at the first corner, delaying extraction efforts.
The race was red-flagged and George Russell, one of the drivers involved in the crash, ran to check on the Chinese driver.
Russell, who described it as “one of the scariest crashes I’ve ever seen”, was not allowed to return to the race because his Mercedes was taken back to pit lane while he was checking on Zhou.
Mercedes protested the call, but the FIA did not budge.
Zhou’s teammate Valtteri Bottas initially confirmed that his colleague was talking and conscious and had not suffered any fractures.
Alfa Romeo stated that he had been released from the circuit’s medical centre following checks.
After the crash between Nissany and Hauger, F1 journalist Chris Medland tweeted: “The Halo absolutely saved Nissany’s life. 100%.”
F1 commentator Tom Gaymor wrote: “Thank goodness for the Halo, unequivocally the saviour yet again.”
The Halo is a protective barrier that helps to prevent large objects and debris from entering the cockpit of a single-seat racing car.
It has proven controversial with critics saying it spoils the “purity” of a single-seat, open-cockpit racing car.
Some have also claimed it can get in the way if a driver needs to get out of the car quickly. In practice, this has proved to not be an issue.
Lewis Hamilton credited the Halo for saving him after he was involved in a crash at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix with fierce rival Max Verstappen.
Verstappen’s Red Bull car was sent out of control and airborne into the path of Hamilton, with the rear-right wheel crushing the top of the Briton’s Mercedes.
Afterwards, Hamilton said: “I feel very, very fortunate today. Thank God for the Halo which saved me, and saved my neck.”