FORMULA 1 MOTORSPORT NEWS

FIA investigation into Spa crash reveals Leclerc’s vital luck

The FIA’s investigation into the crash that marred the start of the Belgium Grand Prix last summer has led to an obvious conclusion: Charles Leclerc was a very lucky man, thanks to the halo.The governing body’s forensic analysis of the incident that occurred at La Source hairpin – when Fernando Alonso’s McLaren was hit from behind by Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and then flew over the top of Leclerc’s Sauber – was supported by video footage and data from the cars, and its conclusions send once again shivers down one’s spine.

Motorsport.com has revealed that the findings by the FIA Global Institute underscore the protective role fulfilled by the halo cockpit safety device.

During the commotion, Leclerc was sparred any injury as Alonso flew over his head, but the McLaren’s right-front wheel did make contact with the Sauber’s halo.

“From the available data and video footage, we are confident that the wheel would not have hit Leclerc’s helmet,” FIA Safety Director Adam Baker told Motorsport.com, referring to how events would have perhaps played out in the absence of the halo.

“But, as Alonso’s car continued to yaw relative to Leclerc’s, we believe that Alonso’s front wing endplate would have just contacted Leclerc’s visor. It is difficult to predict the severity of the contact with any precision though.”

Among the key findings noted in the FIA’s report:

“The estimated peak force imparted on the Halo was 58kN, this being 46% of the 125kN FIA prescribed load requirement for the Halo and chassis attachment points. The contact position during the crash was close to the load application point for the homologation tests.

“If the wheel had contacted Leclerc’s helmet with a similar force, there would have been potential for a very serious head or neck injury.”

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Much controversy surrounded the halo during its development period and when it was formally introduced into F1 at the start of the 2018 season.

In hindsight, FIA president Jean Todt, who fiercely fought for the safety element’s integration, feels vindicated by the Spa incident.

“I had a lot of resistance, but when you think you are going in the right direction, you have to fight for it,” Todt told the German broadcaster RTL.

“We were able to demonstrate that without Halo, there would have been worse consequences for Charles.”

Source: Fi