How the halo's London bus load requirement saved Hamilton

As Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen collided at Monza's Variante del Rettifilo during the Italian Grand Prix, it proved to be another win for Formula 1's halo device.

How the halo's London bus load requirement saved Hamilton

Verstappen's Red Bull was launched into the air by the array of sausage kerbs, precipitating contact between the underside of his car and Hamilton's halo.

Had the halo not been introduced to F1's regulations in 2018, there is a very real chance that Hamilton would not have walked out of the incident unscathed.

However, the strength of the secondary roll structure ensured that Hamilton's head was kept away from being touched by the full weight of Verstappen's car, and was only briefly tagged by the Dutchman's right-rear wheel as they both came to rest in the gravel.

The halo was initially devised to limit the chance of larger-scale debris entering the cockpit space and injuring drivers, such as Justin Wilson's fatal IndyCar incident at Pocono in 2015.

It has also proved to be a valuable asset in situations with larger loads too, keeping Charles Leclerc safe at Spa in 2018 and protecting F2 driver Tadasuke Makino from a crash with countryman Nirei Fukuzumi at Barcelona the same year.

The strength of the halo also ensured that, when Romain Grosjean sustained his horror crash at Bahrain in 2020, it was able to tear through the Armco barrier and keep the French driver's head out of the firing line.

Although teams may manufacture aerodynamic fairings for the halo, the internal titanium structure must be made by an FIA-approved supplier – so this is a part of the car that the teams do not build themselves.

Titanium has a high tensile strength, and offers a desirable strength to weight ratio. This ensures that the entire halo structure weighs around 7kg.

Furthermore, the FIA's official crash tests mandate a peak maximum vertical loading of 116kN, which roughly equates to 12000kg.

Mercedes W12 halo detail

Mercedes W12 halo detail

Photo by: Uncredited

"There are changes that we needed to do to accommodate it to ensure the overall car would still stay below the weight limit," Mercedes technical chief James Allison explained back in 2018.

"It's also not light because it takes really high loads. We had to strengthen the design of the chassis so it would be able to take roughly the weight of a London double decker bus sitting on top of the halo.

"We needed to make sure it would be strong enough to withstand the type of event it was designed to protect the driver against."

For further reference, that 12000kg would also be enough to fend off three full-size Indian elephants, 109 Arnold Schwarzeneggers, or 550,000,000 grains of rice.

Thus, the 752kg Red Bull car of Max Verstappen ensured that Hamilton was well defended against a shock impact, protecting his head from injury.

Read Also:

"I don't think I've ever been hit on the head by a car before," Hamilton said after the impact.

"And it's quite a shock for me because if you've seen the image my head really is quite far forward. I've been racing a long, long time.

"I'm so grateful that I'm still here and felt incredibly blessed that obviously someone was watching over me today. His rear wheel landed on my head, it landed on the halo.

"I think the inside of the most cambered part of the tyre landed on my head. I think that's going to be travelling with me these next days but I probably will need to see a specialist just to make sure I'm good for the next race because it is getting tighter and tighter.

"As I said, I'll live."

Although the halo was much maligned when F1 first introduced it, it has more than proven its worth on multiple occasions – and Sunday's incident between the two title contenders has added to its list of testimonials.

shares
comments

Related video

Portimao added to F1 2021 video game in first major update
Previous article

Portimao added to F1 2021 video game in first major update

Next article

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings
The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Plus

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history? Plus

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history?

Who are the quickest drivers in Formula 1 history? LUKE SMITH asked a jury of experienced and international panel of experts and F1 insiders. Some of them have worked closely with F1’s fastest-ever drivers – so who better to vote on our all-time top 50? We’re talking all-out speed here rather than size of trophy cabinet, so the results may surprise you…

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2023
One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1 Plus

One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1

OPINION: During what is traditionally a very quiet time of year in the Formula 1 news cycle, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been generating headlines. He’s been commenting on massive topics in a championship that loves them, but also addressing necessary smaller changes too. Here we suggest a further refinement that would be a big boon to fans

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
How can McLaren keep hold of Norris? Plus

How can McLaren keep hold of Norris?

Lando Norris is no longer the young cheeky-chappy at McLaren; he’s now the established ace. And F1's big guns will come calling if the team can’t give him a competitive car. Here's what the team needs to do to retain its prize asset

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make? Plus

What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make?

While a quick pitstop can make all the difference to the outcome of a Formula 1 race, most team managers say consistency is more important than pure speed. MATT KEW analyses the fastest pitstops from last season to see which ones – if any – made a genuine impact

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2023
When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter Plus

When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter

Modern Formula 1 fans have grown accustomed to a lull in racing during winter in the northern hemisphere. But, as MAURICE HAMILTON explains, there was a time when teams headed south of the equator rather than bunkering down in the factory. And why not? There was fun to be had, money to be made and reputations to forge…

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2023
What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure Plus

What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure

Porsche whipped up a frenzy thanks to a cryptic social media post last week and, although it turned out to be a false alarm, it also highlighted why manufacturers remain such an important element in terms of the attraction that they bring to F1. It is little wonder that several other manufacturers are bidding for a slice of the action

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2023
Why the new Williams boss shouldn’t avoid ‘Mercedes B-team’ comparisons Plus

Why the new Williams boss shouldn’t avoid ‘Mercedes B-team’ comparisons

OPINION: Williams has moved to replace the departed Jost Capito by appointing former Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles as its new team principal. But while he has sought to play down the idea of moulding his new squad into a vision of his old one, some overlap is only to be expected and perhaps shouldn't be shied away from

Formula 1
Jan 17, 2023