Zhou praises Halo after horror Silverstone crash

Jamie Woodhouse
Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo, upside down. England, July 2022.

Zhou Guanyu upside down in the Alfa Romeo during a terrifying crash. England, July 2022.

Zhou Guanyu said the Halo device had saved him during a terrifying crash on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix.

At the race start, George Russell clipped the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly in his Mercedes, which was the catalyst for a truly frightening incident to come for Zhou.

The impact for Russell sent his Mercedes spearing into the side of Zhou’s Alfa Romeo, flipping Zhou upside down as the car skidded into the gravel.

And as the airbox dug into the gravel, Zhou’s Alfa Romeo was launched into the air, clearing the tyre barrier completely and hitting the catch fencing, coming to rest between the two.

Russell quickly ran over to the scene as the red flags came out and the wait for news began.

It was a huge relief to hear Zhou was unharmed, the Chinese racer taking to social media after the race to confirm this.

He claimed the Halo device was a life-saver, as many drivers have also said since its introduction in 2018.

“I’m OK, all clear,” Zhou posted.

“Halo saved me today. Thanks everyone for your kind messages!”

It was a British Grand Prix to forget for Alfa Romeo, with Valtteri Bottas retiring the other C42 mid-race.

Graeme Lowdon, Zhou’s manager and former Manor F1 sporting director, was pleased to hear quickly that the Alfa Romeo driver was conscious and able to move in the car.

“I mean the main thing is that is he’s alright, and also that we found out reasonably quickly that he’s okay as well,” Lowdon told Channel 4.

“For everyone in the team that’s what they want to hear and you know, motorsport, it’s an exciting sport but you know anything can happen and the main thing is that all the drivers come here to race and also go home, and then go to the next event or race as well.”

Zhou was also spotted walking around the paddock once he left the medical centre, and Lowdon revealed that the Chinese driver wanted to reassure his team that everything was okay.

“He’s absolutely fine,” Lowdon said. “He wanted to come back see his mechanics, talk to the engineers. He went across to the pit wall to talk to the guys on the pit wall and he couldn’t work out why there was a big noise, and it was the crowd acknowledging [him].

“You know, he’s a racing driver and he’s doing an absolutely fantastic job this year and you know, I’m sure that’s going to continue.”

Lowdon was at Manor at the time of Jules Bianchi’s tragic accident at Suzuka, with his untimely passing proving to be a key reason why the Halo was introduced in Formula 1 – and Lowdon was quick to praise the FIA for this safety measure.

“I think [Zhou’s] sent the message out already to say that the Halo was really important in that instance, so from that point of view, you never want to see these accidents, but the fact that the FIA are continuously improving safety is obviously a fantastic thing,” he concluded.