At the Formula 2 race at Silverstone, Dennis Hauger and Roy Nissany collide with serious consequences. Without the cockpit protection, the crash would probably have been fatal. It is not the first accident that confirms the initially harshly criticized introduction of the Halo system as potentially life-saving.
Max Verstappen once called it "ugly", Lewis Hamilton publicly spoke out against it, Romain Grosjean even called its introduction a "sad day for Formula 1". When the world motorsport association FIA made the halo system mandatory for its most important racing series for the 2018 season, the majority opinion was clear. The cockpit protection, whose name translates to "halo" in German, is unaesthetic at best, destroying the cars' visual elegance, and Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff even joked that he would remove the roll bar around the driver's head with a chainsaw if necessary.
However, the Formula 1 supporting program at Silverstone once again showed why the criticism has not only died down for a long time, but why the initially unpopular introduction of the halo is now being praised as one of the most important and best rule changes in recent history. Because without the stable cockpit protection, Formula 2 driver Roy Nissany would have been at least seriously injured - although with every repetition of his accident with Dennis Hauger, the feeling grows that the Israeli probably would not have survived. "The halo definitely saved Nissany's life," tweeted motorsport journalist Chris Medland immediately after the violent collision: "100 percent."
At the end of lap one of the feature race, Roy Nissany in the Dams and Prema Racing's Dennis Hauger battled for positions as Nissany pulled inside and the two cars touched under braking for a left-hander. Hauger's right front tire detaches from the rim, the 19-year-old comes off the track and from that moment on is just a passenger as he slides almost unchecked in the direction of the field that is going through the left-hand bend. A so-called "sausage notch" is attached to the inside of this curve. A protruding curb that becomes a dangerous ski jump for Hauger's Prema.
Because Hauger not only takes off, but his trajectory also leads right through the middle of the passing competition - and directly to the head of Nissany. The Dams driver has no chance to evade, Hauger's car lands on the Israeli. Right on the once despised halo. Without this cockpit protection, Hauger's underbody would have landed on the Israeli's helmet, which has been used several times in Formula 1 Friday practice sessions at Williams since 2020. Once again at Silverstone, the halo does exactly what it was introduced to do: withstand impact and protect the driver's head. Both Hauger and Nissany then get out of their cars on their own and are likely to have gotten away with the shock.
The victory of Logan Sargeant, also a Williams junior driver, ahead of Sauber junior Theo Pourchaire and Red Bull test driver Liam Lawson is almost irrelevant. Instead, expressions of gratitude are piling up on social media again and again that the FIA has asserted itself in its quest for more safety and has made the Halo system mandatory.
Like in 2018 at the Belgian Grand Prix, when the cockpit protection prevented Charles Leclerc's head from being hit by Fernando Alonso's tires. Or 2020, when the sturdy bar made a significant contribution to Romain Grosjean surviving his fire accident at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Or in 2021, when Max Verstappen's Red Bull comes to a stop on Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes during the race in Italy, and even slight tire marks can be seen on his helmet. The Formula 1 record world champion says afterwards: "I must consider myself very lucky. Thank God there is the halo. He saved me." Roy Nissany should feel similarly now.