Fernando Alonso says the crash at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix proved it is right that Formula 1 introduced the Halo this season.
Nico Hulkenberg locked up under braking for La Source on the opening lap and ran into the back of Alonso, pitching the McLaren into a spin that saw it hit launched over Charles Leclerc’s Sauber. All three cars retired from the race and the damage showed Leclerc’s Halo deflected the floor and right-front wheel from Alonso’s car, with clear markings left on the cockpit protection device.
“Obviously it was bad,” Alonso said. “At the start I saw in the mirror Hulkenberg with all four tires locked and he was coming at very high speed. There is no way you can avoid that. He hit my car and then I went over Charles. Obviously [Hulkenberg] missed the braking point, with high consequences. But on the positive side we are all OK; also Charles with the Halo, good news that we all three are OK.
“It’s a good proof [of the Halo’s value]. We didn’t need any proof but it’s a good thing. Something similar maybe to 2012 – the start I think was quite similar. Hulkenberg missed so much the braking point and you hit someone at that speed you need to think a little bit twice next time.”
Leclerc himself spoke less about the impact of the Halo, but says he was pleased to have the added protection in the incident.
“Definitely the Halo probably helped today,” Leclerc said. “But it’s very unfortunate, I think the potential in the race today was big and it’s a shame to finish the race that way in the first corner.
“Our pace was strong and I was in a good place before getting hit from behind. You never know but definitely the pace was strong.”
Hulkenberg was later handed a 10-place grid penalty for next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix for causing the incident, as well as three penalty points.