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
Load comments
The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021