Philippe Bianchi calls on FIA to “go further” than ‘Halo’

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Philippe Bianchi has called on the FIA to “go further” than the ‘Halo’ prototype in its bid to improve driver safety in Formula 1 and prevent serious head injuries.

Philippe’s son Jules Bianchi died last year from serious head injuries sustained in an accident at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix nine months earlier, where he collided with a recovery vehicle after going off track in wet conditions.

Bianchi’s death was followed by that of IndyCar driver Justin Wilson, who was killed after being hit by debris during the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 23.

In response to these deaths, the FIA has stepped up its bid to improve driver safety in F1 by inviting teams to submit possible designs to increase cockpit protection.

The Mercedes-designed ‘Halo’ prototype made its public debut in Barcelona on Thursday, and was greeted with a mixed response after being tested on Ferrari’s SF16-H car.

Speaking to French TV station Canal +, Bianchi Sr. said that although ‘Halo’ was a definite step in the right direction, more needs to be done as he doubts it would have saved either his son or Wilson.

“I consider that this is a step forward in term of security. It is obvious that in the case of when a wheel comes off, this system would be effective,” Bianchi said.

“However, in the case of small debris, as Felipe Massa and Justin Wilson had, that wouldn’t have changed anything. So this is a step forward, but it does not solve everything.

“For Jules, it would not have changed nothing, because it’s the extremely violent deceleration that caused the damage that we know to his brain.

“I think developments of the HANS system to better absorb big deceleration in a severe impact could help in this case.

“The FIA ​​wished to act after Jules’s and Justin’s accidents, but it must go further.”