Jenson Button believes that cockpit halo system should still be introduced in 2017, despite critics’ claims that the design will impede driver extraction.
Button’s teammate Fernando Alonso landed upside down in the gravel trap after his crash with Esteban Gutierrez, and was able to exit the car unassisted almost immediately.
When asked if the halo protection system would have hindered the Spaniard’s exit from the McLaren, Button dismissed the suggestion by replying, “Well he was fine wasn’t he?”
The Briton recognized that Alonso would have had to change the way he exited the car, but said there are more dangers presenting themselves in an open cockpit car than exiting a car if it has rolled over.
“There was no need for him to get out in that situation,” Button argued.
“There’s more safety risk of things hitting our head than anything happening when the car’s upside down.
“It’s very unusual that there would be an issue with fuel spillage or anything like that because you have 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.”
Alonso reserved a bit more judgement on the issue, emphasizing the importance of researching all possible outcomes before the system is introduced as a mandatory device.
“It’s a good question and I hadn’t thought about it. It’s something that we need to look at and we need to investigate because obviously I had a little space to get out and it was easy for me to get out,” Alonso said.
“We need to see if with the halo that would become more difficult.”
Image via George Hitchens Photography