Nico Hulkenberg admits he has changed his attitude toward the Halo after seeing it protect Charles Leclerc during the Belgian Grand Prix.
On the run to the first corner, Hulkenberg outbraked himself and ran into the back of Fernando Alonso, with the McLaren in turn being launched over Leclerc’s Sauber. Alonso’s floor and right-front wheel made contact with the Halo in front of Leclerc, with the rookie able to walk away from the crash unscathed.
Having previously been a vocal opponent of the Halo, when asked if the start at Spa had changed his mind, Hulkenberg replied: “For sure, I think it has proven pretty useful and a good device.
“We can only speculate what would have happened without it but it looked pretty clear from the point of the tire mark which was obviously all over the Halo. From my point of view it has done a good job to keep the head safe. So yes.”
When later pressed on whether he stood by comments that the Halo wouldn’t prove useful, Hulkenberg suggested he still does not like the aesthetics but sees its protective value.
“I think while I am still not a big fan of Halo and the device I have to see the facts and admit that it does bring something to Formula 1, especially with the safety that we appreciate in the car. Divided, mixed feelings about it still but it is not down to me anyway. It is what it is.”
Alonso was asked for his views having seen replays of the incident, and says the Halo proved its worth even if it is unclear whether Leclerc would have been struck or not.
“It’s difficult to be 100% sure where my front tire will land on Charles’ cockpit, but I would like not to know or not to even think,” Alonso said. “If it’s the head or if it’s the hands or the steering wheel or whatever in the cockpit that my front tire could hit the Sauber, it’s good to have the Halo and have this doubt.
“Because it’s a quite fragile part of the car, the cockpit area, and I think the Halo did what it’s supposed to do. Even after seeing the replays I think we should all be happy and have no concerns about the Halo.”