Zhou Guanyu said the halo safety device “saved me today” after he escaped uninjured from the horror multi-car smash at the start of Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
Zhou’s Alfa Romeo was catapulted upside down, the Chinese rookie’s head saved by his car’s roll hoop-halo as it skidded off across a gravel trap and over tyre barriers into the catch fencing, where it bounced back to finish semi-upright in a stationary position.
Marshalls rushed to Zhou trapped in his stricken car.
Detailed replays of the accident were not available immediately until Zhou had been rescued from his car.
The field filed back to the pits after the collision as a specialist extraction crew attended Zhou, who remained in his car, until he was lifted clear.
George Russell’s Mercedes, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri) and the Williams of Alex Albon were also involved in the pile-up that triggered a one hour red flag delay.
Other drivers including Russell climbed from their cars to assist Zhou following the collision.
In a radio statement, Alfa Romeo told Zhou’s teammate Valtteri Bottas: “Zhou is conscious, he is talking, there are no fractures. Considering the circumstances, he is pretty good, pretty well.”
Albon was also taken to the medical centre before being transferred to Coventry Hospital by helicopter for further precautionary tracks.
The sport’s ruling body the International Motoring Federation (FIA) advised that both drivers were conscious and were being checked over and evaluated.
They later announced that Zhou was “in good health and has left the medical centre”.
The normal speed for Formula One cars in that part of the circuit is around 240 kph.
In re-runs of the start, it appeared that Russell, starting eighth, moved to his right after a poor start and collided with Zhou’s Alfa Romeo as the pair strove to stay ahead of Pierre Gasly.
This triggered Zhou’s wild excursion off-circuit and dragged other cars into further less serious multiple collisions around them.
He later returned to the pits to watch Carlos Sainz register his maiden F1 win, tweeting to his fans: “I’m ok, all clear. Halo saved me today. Thanks everyone for your kind messages!”
This was not the first collision in which the ‘halo’ device was instrumental in saving a driver from serious injury on Sunday—Roy Nissany survived after another car driven by Dennis Hauger landed on top of his cockpit in which he was saved by the halo in the Formula 2 race. Both escaped unhurt.
Last season Lewis Hamilton had singled out the halo for saving him from serious harm after Max Verstappen’s Red Bull ended up on top of his cockpit in a scary incident at Monza.