Charlie Whiting has ruled that IndyCar's aeroscreen device that it has tested this year would only have been 10% as effective as the halo in Leclerc's Spa crash. Leclerc was involved in a heart-stopping incident two weeks ago, when the McLaren of Fernando Alonso flew over the top of him.
Alonso's right front tyre made contact with the halo, which broke the suspension on Alonso's car. After the race, Leclerc admitted that he was never a big fan of the halo, but said that he was happy it was over his head that day.
IndyCar is also looking at introducing head protection in the future. In 2015, Justin Wilson was killed following a hit on the head with debris at Pocono. The series has tested the aeroscreen twice this year - however Whiting says that the device would have been much less effective in the Leclerc crash.
"You’ve seen the sort of protection that they have been proposing and they’ve tested, similar to the Shield I think that Sebastian tried a couple of years ago in Silverstone,” said Whiting. “But I think what we’ve seen with Charles’ accident in Spa is that sort of thing wouldn’t have been nearly as effective. We’re looking at 10 percent of the protection that the Halo can offer, generally speaking.”
Robert Wickens was involved in a major crash at Pocono last month, which has left him with major injuries. Wickens' car was flung into a catch fence after making contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay. Despite IndyCar not being governed by the FIA, Whiting says the two are in contact over the performance of the catch fence.
“I think there are lessons that we can probably both learn from that because I think one of the things that was interesting about the accident was the way in which the car, after it hit the fences, what the fences can do at those speeds depending on the angle the car hits the fences.
“It’s supposed to deflect it but it gets hit on those very, very strong uprights which are necessary to stop it going into the crowd, but obviously it can also do things to the car and driver, as we saw with Dan Wheldon, for example,” Whiting added.
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing