FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Italian Grand Prix - Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy - September 12, 2021 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton after crashing out of the race with Red Bull's Max Verstappen REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini/File photo
September 13, 2021
By Alan Baldwin
(Reuters) – Formula One’s governing body will investigate Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix crash between title contenders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton because it was ‘unusual’, according to race director Michael Masi.
The Australian said that although the collision was relatively low-speed, the FIA’s safety experts would still take a look.
The crash had Verstappen’s Red Bull lift up off a kerb and land on Hamilton’s Mercedes with the inside of a rear wheel hitting the seven-times world champion’s helmet through the protective halo.
“Incidents that are different, so it’s not necessarily high G impacts or anything like that, but are unusual, we do look at,” said Masi.
“Our safety department does look at them in detail, investigate and see what we can learn and what we can improve for the future. That’s how we have a whole lot of the safety features that we have today, and will continue to evolve into the future.
“We are already collecting all of the data, so we have all of the information and that will all go to our safety department together with any photographs and anything else we have along the way.”
The Monza stewards blamed championship leader Verstappen and handed the Dutch 23-year-old a three place grid drop for the next race in Russia.
Hamilton said it had been a shock to be hit on the head and the titanium ring had saved his life.
“I’m so, so grateful that I’m still here. I feel incredibly blessed. I feel like someone was watching over me today,” said the Briton.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the halo had saved Hamilton’s life and Red Bull boss Christian Horner agreed the device, made mandatory in 2018 to considerable opposition from some drivers, had done its job.
“It was a very awkward accident and you could see Max’s car ride up the Mercedes and I think without the halo there would’ve been no protection for the weight of that wheel coming down on top of Lewis,” said Horner.
“I think the halo has again demonstrated its purpose in Formula One.”
FIA president Jean Todt posted on Twitter a photograph of the Red Bull on top of the Mercedes with the comment “Glad the halo was there”.
Several F1 drivers have credited the device for saving their lives, including Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and former Haas racer Romain Grosjean.
“I wasn’t for the halo some years ago but I think it’s the greatest thing that we brought to Formula One,” he said after the device shielded his head when his car penetrated the barriers in fiery crash in Bahrain last year.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Christian Radnedge)