FIA underlines importance of halo in saving Charles Leclerc’s life

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If anyone still had any doubts about the objective of the halo's presence on F1 cars, they were spectacularly put to rest at Spa in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix.

Leclerc was involved in a stunning three-way crash on the first corner at the Spa racetrack on Sunday, when Fernando Alonso's McLaren flew over the top of Leclerc's Sauber after being shunted into by Nico Hulkenberg.

Formula One breathed a sigh of relief on Sunday after the sport's new "halo" head protection device saved Charles Leclerc from what might have been a potentially serious impact.

Onboard camera showed Alonso's auto flying onto and over the cockpit of Leclerc's vehicle, now protected by the Halo device. "I am happy it was there", said Leclerc, a 20-year-old driver from Monaco.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel sped clear of first corner carnage to celebrate a commanding Belgian Grand Prix victory and trim Lewis Hamilton's Formula One lead to 17 points with eight races remaining.

Leclerc, Alonso and Hulkenberg all retired from the race on lap 1, and Kimi Raikkonen later retired due to issues stemming from a lap-1 incident. "It was lucky", said Leclerc, whose family have close ties with that of the late French driver Jules Bianchi who died of head injuries in 2015.

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Motorsport governing body FIA made the head protective device mandatory in F1 this year in order to protect drivers from potentially fatal impacts such as loose tires barreling at high speed, other flying debris and - in this case - one auto landing on another.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who had said before the season that he would happily take a chainsaw to the unattractive device, sounded like a convert. "I think for him, it helped, looking at the replay", commented the double world champion.

Alonso said the accident reminded him of a similarly spectacular crash in 2012 that resulted in a race ban for Romain Grosjean.

Hulkenberg also received three points on his superlicence, which brings his total to four for the year.

The dramatic collision was caused by Nico Hulkenberg after the experienced Renault driver missed his braking point at La Source and, in a plume of tyre smoke, careered into the back of Alonso.

"We didn't need any proof but it is a good thing".

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