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The F1 halo saved Zhou Guanyu – but there’s long way on safety to go



SHORTLY before the British GP, I held the halo that sat perched above Lewis Hamilton’s crash helmet at last year’s Italian GP at Monza.

It was cracked and you could see the scuff marks and the black Pirelli tyre rubber from Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, which had been launched on top of his Mercedes.

Zhou's car was horrifically wedged between the safety barrier and the fence

You may recall that Hamilton was left with a sore neck after being fractionally whacked by the tyre – but it could have been a lot worse but for the halo.


I’d actually forgotten about just how close he’d come to a serious accident until seeing the halo from his car.

But there was a striking reminder of the halo’s benefits; in fact two examples a few days later on Sunday, on why its inclusion has been such a blessing to motorsport.

Quite how Zhou Guanyu walked away without even a scratch – and was able to share a joke with his Alfa Romeo team minutes after – is a miracle.

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Watch moment Russell comes to aid of Guanyu after horror British GP crash

Just a couple of hours before, Formula 2 veteran Roy Nissany also had the halo to thank for saving him from Dennis Hauger that had launched on top of him in a similar incident to the Hamilton/Verstappen crash in Monza.

I remember when the halo was first being introduced, it attracted plenty of criticism.

The titanium structure, which is wrapped in carbon fibre and can withstand the weight of a double-decker bus, was initially blasted for being ugly.


In 2016, Hamilton said the halo was the “worst looking modification in Formula One history” while his Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said “if you give me a chainsaw I would take it off”.

I also recall Romain Grosjean saying in July 2017 that “it was a sad day for Formula One when it [the halo] was announced. I am still against it. I still don’t think it has a place in Formula One.”

It was, don’t forget, the halo that saved Grosjean too when he pierced through the crash barriers in his fiery smash in Bahrain.

So credit where it is due, to the FIA and their safety improvements, which came about following tragic accidents to Indycar drivers Justin Wilson and Henry Surtees, plus Jules Bianchi’s fatal crash in Suzuka.

It might not please the purists, but I think we can all agree that it absolutely has a place on every racing car.

Zhou Guanyu incredibly escaped unhurt from the horror crash

But, really, this is not a time for backslapping.

The FIA will look into Guanyu’s accident – and in particular how the roll hoop – the primitive version of the halo – seemed to disintegrate.

There is a real concern that this year’s new, heavier cars, are too much for the roll hoop to manage, so I expect plenty of questions on this ahead of this weekend’s race in Austria.

Also, they need to analyse how Guanyu ended up wedged between the catch fence and the barriers – which made his extraction more difficult.

For, heaven forbid if his Alfa Romeo had caught fire, it could have been an entirely different story.

Lewis Hamilton was saved by the halo in this shocker with Max Verstappen last season

IT was great to see Nadine Lewis, a Motorsport UK Marshal and Chair of the British Motorsport Marshals Club, present Sergio Perez with his trophy on Sunday.

The marshals, who are volunteers, are the unsung heroes of the British GP. Responsible for the safety of drivers – and ejecting protestors – they are the backbone of the event and seldom get any recognition.

Also, credit too to Silverstone’s catering team. We attend 22 races over a year (as it stands) and the service at the British GP is second to none.

FERNANDO ALONSO has now driven the furthest distance in the history of F1.


The Spaniard, 40, has notched up a whopping 92,643 kilometres racing – or almost 57,567 miles.

That is a quarter of the way to the moon or 2.3 times around the Earth.

Fernando Alonso just keeps on going

OVER one million people watched the W Series race on TV at the weekend – a new record for the single-seater motor racing championship for women.

The race, which was won by Brit Jamie Chadwick, was shown on Sky Sports and Channel 4 for the first time.


Catherine Bond Muir, CEO of W Series said: “We had big ambitions to make 2022 W Series’ biggest season so far.

“To achieve a peak of more than one million viewers is a landmark achievement in our history and a real statement of our intent.

“Seeing our drivers — including six British women racing on home soil — line up on the grid in front of a sell-out crowd at Silverstone was an emotional moment, and fans watching at home enjoyed comprehensive live television coverage across both Sky Sports and Channel 4 for the first time ever.”

EDOARDO MORTARA won the Marrakesh ePrix at the weekend and now tops the championship.

The Swiss driver has won three races this season and drives for the ROKiT Venturi Racing, managed by Susie Wolff.

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BRITISH speedway track ace Dan Bewley had a miraculous escape after being catapulted over the catch fence in his Polish league match in Wroclaw on Friday night.

The 23-year old was caught by Czestochowa rider Jonas Jeppesen and flipped him over the barriers.

Incredibly, scans revealed only trauma to his left leg and a bruised lung. Bewley wrote on Twitter: “Feeling pretty beat up all over but thankful it wasn’t worse.”

Source: The Sun


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