Fernando Alonso crash: Jenson Button in favour of halo device following Australian Grand Prix accident

The device, which was trialled during pre-season testing, is designed to protects drivers from flying debris

Philip Duncan
Monday 21 March 2016 17:00
Fernando Alonso and Esteban Gutierrez talk after their crash at the Australian Grand Prix
Fernando Alonso and Esteban Gutierrez talk after their crash at the Australian Grand Prix

Jenson Button believes Formula One's controversial halo device would have helped Fernando Alonso in his spectacular crash.

The halo, which made its debut in pre-season testing, has attracted some criticism - not least from world champion Lewis Hamilton, who labelled it as the worst modification in the sport's history - but is set to be introduced next season.

It is a concept which has been designed to shield a driver's head from flying debris - in the wake of a number of high-profile incidents - but among its drawbacks is whether it would hinder a driver getting out of the cockpit.

Alonso, after hitting the wall and being catapulted airborne, landed upside down in his McLaren before crawling out of his car.

"He was upside down when he landed and if he had the halo it would have helped him," Button, Alonso's McLaren team-mate, said. "There was no need for him to get out in that situation.

"There's more safety risk of things hitting our head than anything happening when the car's upside down.

"With the halo he would have had less impact on his helmet. It's very unusual that there would be an issue with fuel spillage or anything like that. The halo is the right direction and we need it."

While Nico Rosberg beat Lewis Hamilton to win the curtain raiser in Melbourne, Alonso's incredible crash, which the Spaniard unsurprisingly said was the biggest of his career, has dominated the post-race agenda.

After he careered into the back of Esteban Gutierrez at close to 200mph, Alonso was merely a passenger as he slammed into the wall before barrel-rolling through the air twice.

Kimi Raikkonen tests the new 'Halo' design on his Ferrari during pre-season testing

Coincidentally, two of Formula One's other big crashes in recent times - involving Martin Brundle in 1996 and Jacques Villeneuve five years later - also occurred on the same bit of tarmac. The latter saw a track marshall killed after he was hit by a flying wheel. It is testament to the sport's remarkable safety record that there were no fatalities on Sunday.

"Everything hurts a bit because everything inside your body moves when you are going so fast," said Alonso. "The knees hurt a bit, because you are crashing against the cockpit and the steering column. I'll need some ice but other than that, all fine."

The Spaniard, who was given the all-clear by doctors at the track, also tweeted: "I am aware that today I spent some of the luck remaining in life, I want to thank McLaren, the FIA for the safety on this cars. Also my colleagues and fans for the concern and unconditional support."

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