In the wake of Fernando Alonso’s horror crash, Jenson Button says having the halo cockpit protection is worth taking a bit more time to get the drivers out of the cars.
Alonso suffered a massive crash in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.
— Matt Somerfield (@SomersF1) March 20, 2016
He clipped the rear of Esteban Gutierrez’s Haas before slamming into the wall and sliding into the gravel at speed. That caused his McLaren to flip twice before coming to a rest on its side against the wall.
Alonso crawled out of the car, saying he did it “quickly just to make sure that people at home were not too worried about me.”
His crash has raised questions about how he would have been extracted from the car if the halo cockpit protection device had been in place.
Button, though, says that is not an argument for scrapping plans to introduce the device.
“He didn’t need to get out there to be fair, there was no need for him to get out in that situation,” said the McLaren driver.
“There’s more safety risks of things hitting our heads than anything happening when you are upside down in the car. It’s very unusual that there will be something…
“A fuel spillage or anything like that with the safety cell and the way that the fuel tanks are, it won’t happen.
“I think it’s better to have a halo system. They would tip the car over of course to get him out, so it takes a bit longer, but he was OK so it doesn’t matter.”
Button added that it was a testiment to Formula 1’s safety that Alonso was able to walk away from the crash unhurt.
He said: “I didn’t see the incident, I saw the red flag and the team said both drivers were OK and I was ‘OK, strange to have a red flag’, but I saw Fernando walking away and I saw the incident and I’m amazed he did walk away.
“I think it just proves how far we’ve come with the cars in terms of safety, as it proved there is still a lot of possible danger, especially in the breaking zone it’s always the worst, because the closing speed to one cars breaking to another is massive and that looked like what happened.
“Slight misjudgement from one of the drivers, the tyres touched and then it’s just a bullet without the suspension.”