Chinese driver Zhou Guanyu who was involved in a frightening first-lap crash on Sunday in the British Grand Prix said he was safe and the 'halo' safety device saved his life.
The race came to an immediate halt as safety crews attended to the only Chinese driver in Formula One. Associated Press reported Zhou's car slid upside-down across the gravel and his Alfa Romeo seemed to be wedged between fencing and a tire barrier at the first corner. The race was red-flagged and George Russell, one of the drivers involved in the crash, sprinted from his car to the tire barrier to check on Zhou.
Team manager Beat Zehnder told German broadcaster Sky Sport that Zhou was speaking and was being transported to the medical centre at Silverstone. He was conscious and was released having been declared fit, The Guardian reported.
The Guardian reported that George Russell was clipped by Pierre Gasly in the incident also involving Yuki Tsunoda, Esteban Ocon and Alex Albon and the Mercedes driver then collided with Zhou, turning his car over, causing it to hurtle at high-speed upside down across the gravel trap, with impact on the halo which protects the drivers’ head, before hitting the barriers and sailing over them into the fence. Albon was taken to the hospital for a check-up but was also pronounced unhurt.
The F1 driver later informed through that he was safe. “I’m ok, all clear. Halo saved me today. Thanks everyone for your kind messages!” Zhou Guanyu tweeted.
'Halo' was a protective device introduced by FIA in 2018. Though it faced resistance when FIA announced it first in 2018, the halo has been instrumental in saving the lives of three drivers on track since then. Halo is a protective barrier which protects drivers by preventing entry of large objects and debris into the driver's cockpit. It also shields the driver if the whole car flips and lands on another.
Researches were conducted for about seven years for some form of cockpit protection. Both Red Bull and Mercedes presented their concepts and following tests, Mercedes' was chosen for implementation.