Hulkenberg Roll - Halo Helped, or Hindered?

Hulkenberg Crash.jpg

Nico Hulkenberg suffered a terrifying accident on the opening lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but did the Halo prove more of a hindrance than help when trying to extract him from the car?


"Get me out, I'm hanging like a cow" was a rather confusing statement from Nico Hulkenberg immediately after his accident with Romain Grosjean on the opening lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the German Renault driver collecting the Haas Ferrari of Romain Grosjean and rolling to the outside of the circuit before eventually finishing upside down in his car as the field streaked by the stricken Renault machine.

With the Halo, a device no doubt having proven its worth in other accidents, Hulkenberg would find it impossible to extract himself from the upturned Renault without the aid of the marshals pulling the car back onto its wheels, begging the question of how much of a hindrance the halo device actually proved to be in this incident, and leaving many wondering if in fact it would be more dangerous to have a halo installed in this type of scenario.

Despite what looked to be a worrying situation, Race Director Charlie Whiting believes the Halo didn't provide any obstruction to Hulkenberg:

"Quite clearly that's one of the sort of accidents the halo was designed to help with," Whiting said when asked by about the situation by Motorsport.com.

"It provides more space for the driver once the car is upside down. That was one of the things we wanted to make sure was still possible

"When you have an accident like that the radio from the car is automatically routed to race control so we get immediate information.

"Drivers normally say 'I'm OK' or 'I'm fine,' and we relay that to the doctors on their way to the scene. Then they can take their time to get the car righted and let him get out."


What do you think?

 
 
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formidable

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has greatly hindered his exit in this case.
 
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Nick Gregory

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"It provides more space for the driver once the car is upside down. That was one of the things we wanted to make sure was still possible."

I think not as he couldn't get out.
 

Littlefysh

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The fact that he can wave his hands in front of his face as he's hanging upside down in the cockpit is all well and good until the car catches fire and stays on fire while he can't remove himself from it.
 

Will Mazeo

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There isn't a perfect solution if they want the cockpit to remain open, only fully enclosing it like a prototype you'll have proper doors with space for them to leave.
 

Jimlaad43

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Halo reduced the chance of damage to Hulkenberg in the crash. However, it did obstruct his exit.

However, this is was definitely one of the maybe 5% of accidents where the halo is worse than no halo. That said, without it, I doubt there would have been space for him to get out anyway.

When was the last time you saw an F1 car catch fire near the cockpit after a big crash. What direction does fire and smoke move in? The marshals were near the car pretty soon, with the extinguishers ready, and they put any small fire out. As someone who's had to run out to flaming cars, the larger the fire, the faster you bloody run.

The drivers wear fire suits that are supposed to survive infernos. If the fire is big and the driver is trapped, first off, the extinguishers would have been directed towards the driver, and then there would likely have been less care rolling the car back over to get him out sooner.


Still the Halo is currently 3-1 up after the season. It showed its strength for Makino in Spain (F2), Hartley at Silverstone and Leclerc in Belgium, while trapping Hulkenberg where he'd have probably been trapped anyway (remember Wehrlein in Monaco last season?)

It had no effect on the racing whatsoever this season. The halo is obviously not the best solution, despite getting used to it, most of us agree it looks horrible, but aesthetics can't really be a reason to remove a device that has proven itself to be a lifesaver. Regardless of if you think Alonso's wheel would have missed Leclerc's head in the Spa crash, the tyre was going to rip across Leclerc's hand without a doubt, likely causing some serious damage.


But of course, the Halo haters are going to run with this crash for years and completely ignore every time it was good and take a "Halo did a tiny bad thing in a situation that was safe and under control" moment and blaze it as "Halo is going to kill someone", dismissing the "proof Halo works" examples because they're ignorant.

The Halo exists because it is the best currently available solution to the problem of allowing head protection for the drivers while still keeping the cars open cockpit. That last bit is important. Once the aeroscreen or shield or better looking alternatives can prove themselves to be stronger than the Halo, they will be introduced, but we're just going to have to grin and bear the Halo in the meantime, and just be happy we haven't seen some pretty nasty head injuries this season.
 
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Dr. Death

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Well this is just the true thing about racing isn't it? You cant add one thing without messing something else. Closed F1 cockpit would be even better against impact but be even more of a jail for the driver and the other way around too. You cant have something that magically protects you from everything while being able to let you exit quickly.
 
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InsaneOzzie

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The halo is a catch 22 situation, It protects against large objects like flying wheels but wheels are tethered to the cars and rarely fly off. The only real protection the halo offers is in those situations when another car gets air and crosses the path of the cockpit, which we've seen during the season as @Jimlaad43 mentioned above. The halo would fail miserably in a repeat situation similar to Massa's, but thankfully F1 cars are so well built and maintained components can/would only fly off if the car had sustained some damage.

One thing I did notice was how panicked Hulk sounded when he first came on the radio and saying, almost yelling "the cars on fire, tell them to put out the fire" I got the impression he was genuinely distressed over not being able to extract himself knowing the car had a fire, unlike Alonso at Melbourne in 2016 who's car ended up in a similar position against the tyre barrier, although his car wasn't on fire, without the halo he was out before the marshals arrived on the scene.

A solution to engine/turbo fires during these rare accidents would be to implement a small automatic extinguisher system, like they use in NASCAR this would at least eliminate the fire risk when trapped inside the cockpit.

I don't hate the halo, but I don't agree with it either.
 
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Slowdive

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If the car had caught on fire as it almost did, there's no doubt the halo would've killed him. Pick your poison.
 

michelforest

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If the car had caught on fire as it almost did, there's no doubt the halo would've killed him. Pick your poison.
Where was the last time that a fire caused serious injuries, let alone kill, a driver? If my memory serves me well, the last big injury caused by fire was Berger at the San Marino GP in 1989. His hands were slightly burned. Nowadays, marshalls have fire extinguishers with them everywhere and the threat of fire is much, much less severe than it used to be. I agree the halo looks like crap, but as Jimlaad43 wrote, it's the best option right now.
 

Ole Marius Myrvold

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Where was the last time that a fire caused serious injuries, let alone kill, a driver? If my memory serves me well, the last big injury caused by fire was Berger at the San Marino GP in 1989. His hands were slightly burned. Nowadays, marshalls have fire extinguishers with them everywhere and the threat of fire is much, much less severe than it used to be. I agree the halo looks like crap, but as Jimlaad43 wrote, it's the best option right now.
And in that time, I can't think of too many times where a driver have been unable to get out of the car(while in perfect health) - Diniz and Wehrlein are the only ones that spring to my mind.

The last time a driver was unable to get out of a burning car, was Berger in 89. We don't want that again.
 

Fanapryde

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Hulk was lucky that the fire did not spread.
The only way to get (help) him out of the cockpit was turning the car over. That worked now because there was no fire. If there had been, I fear for the guys chances.
Btw: where were the Marshalls ? Panic all over the place and none of them seemed to actually know what to do. Reaction time was massively slow during all 'interventions', not only in Hulks case. All of their actions were not coordinated at all... Really bad imo.
 

Richard Hessels

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Still don't understand that the did not started with the halo intruducing it in lower formula classes.
Seen more accidents there where it could have made a difference than in F1 actually.
For Sophia Flörsch it might have saved her from neck-injury.
 
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RobertGracie

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The way the car landed it hindered the extraction of the driver since it came to rest upside down, I would have a rethink of the design of the halo to make sure if the car is upside down the driver is able to get out, also if that fire had got hold how would the driver have gotten out, so I would consider it a double edged sword in this case, it saved his life, yes BUT it also hindered the extraction since the car needed to be rolled over but again to get the Hulk out of there....
 
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Before the Halo was allowed to race, strict FIA safety protocols had to be met. Among other things, getting out of the car upside down.

Halo failed its own protocol now. Since it was a requirement before implementation and it failed now, it can´t be implemented, correct ?

2016 Australian GP: Halo wasn´t implemented yet, Alonso turns his car upside down in an accident and escapes from the car quickly. FIA security chief Laurent Mekies arguements "It (Halo) is actually preserving a better space for drivers,because the car is resting on the front part of the halo, offering more space than they currently have compared to the ground."

What works in the FIA laboratory, does not work in the harsh reality.

The current Halo has to be further developed, which from what i know is not happening. And thats bs.
 

LeSunTzu

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The halo was obviously a hindrance because the car had all four wheels in the air. In most cases it stands on the roll hoop and two wheels, and then the driver can extract himself.

There is no real reason to be so harsh on marshalls. They were a bit slow with the fire extinguisher but they did it in time. And I don't think they were allowed by procedures to do anything with the car before the doctor had checked Hulk.
 
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Rot Teufel

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The Halo exists because it is the best currently available solution to the problem of allowing head protection for the drivers while still keeping the cars open cockpit. That last bit is important. Once the aeroscreen or shield or better looking alternatives can prove themselves to be stronger than the Halo, they will be introduced, but we're just going to have to grin and bear the Halo in the meantime, and just be happy we haven't seen some pretty nasty head injuries this season.
best avaible between only two tested solution sadly... FIA doesn't even care about Scalabroni's Active Windscreen (wich have, unfortunately only on paper, a saefty sleeve pin wich can be released by pilot inside or marshall outside), they always want Halo and they do it so...
Anyway this was an edgy situation where Halo should have a button that made possible the release of the structure, wich i was thinking was implemented since beginning and not made it attached to the car.
 

LeSunTzu

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A detachable halo might create too much of a hazard. Things can fly and hit buttons. For example at Dijon in 2005 there was a small accident in GT at the first corner and debris flying hit the engine kill button on Prost's viper arriving behind the crash.