Jenson Button says Fernando Alonso’s scary crash in the Australian Grand Prix should not trigger a rethink of the Halo cockpit system slated for introduction in 2017.
The Spaniard’s McLaren was sent into a series of rolls in the gravel trap after hitting Esteban Gutierrez’ Haas on the run to Turn 3. Despite the car being upside down, Alonso still managed to find a way out of the wreckage.
Some are concerned that the Halo device would have prevented the double world champion from making such a swift exit. Button admits that his team-mate probably could not have left the car in the same way, but thinks the positives of the head protection system outweighs the negatives.
“He didn't need to get out in that situation,” the Briton commented. “There's more safety risk of things hitting our head than anything happening when the car's upside down.
“It's very unusual they'd be an issue with fuel spillage, because of the safety cell and the tank. It just won't happen.
“It's better to have a Halo system. They would tip the car over, of course, to get him out. It would take a bit longer, but he was OK, so it doesn't matter.”
Button adds that Alonso's crash serves as a valuable reminder of how vindicated the FIA’s fresh safety push is.
“When you go past the incident there was so much smoke and dust so I didn't know what had happened,” the 2009 world champion added.
“I thought 'it’s strange to have a red flag' and then I saw Fernando walking away, and then I saw the incident, and I'm amazed that he did walk away.
“It just proves how far we've come with the cars in terms of safety – as it proved, there's still a lot of possible danger, especially in a braking zone, it's always the worst. The closing speed, if one car is braking and the other one isn't, it's massive.
“It shows how strong the safety cell is now but still it's a scary old incident.”