Charlie Whiting feels it is “a little bit speculative” at this stage to suggest the Halo cockpit protection device prevented Charles Leclerc from suffering a serious injury in the start-line crash at Spa, with the FIA set to investigate the incident.

Leclerc’s car was struck by Fernando Alonso’s McLaren as it flew through the air in a multi-car incident on the opening lap of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.

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The McLaren was seen to have struck the bulkhead of Leclerc’s Sauber, with tyre marks also being left on the Halo, which was made mandatory in F1 for the 2018 season.

All drivers walked way from the incident unharmed, but FIA race director Whiting said it was too early to pass judgement on the role of the Halo in protecting Leclerc.

“A little early to say,” Whiting said when asked about the role of Halo. “The high-speed camera won’t tell us an awful lot, the on-board camera that we’ve seen so far is not particularly clear.

“What is clear is the significant tyre marks on both the tyre and the Halo. We take a lot of photographs, and our researchers will be contacting Sauber tomorrow morning to make sure we understand, for example, when they take the Halo off, to see if the fixings and the bolts that fix it are in good shape, and more importantly to see if it’s been distorted. [It’s] being held in by the bolts at present, but see if it springs into a different shape.

“Let’s hope we can try and learn whatever we can from that. Looks like it’s had a fairly hefty whack though.”

Asked if he agreed that a potentially serious injury had been avoided, Whiting said: “I think it would be a little bit speculative, but you can see it doesn’t take much imagination to think that the tyre marks could have actually been on Charles’ head.

“It would have been a bit of a miracle if they weren’t had the Halo not been there. There’s a huge extent of the tyre marks, as you’ve all seen I’m sure.

“So it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to think that that probably would have made contact with his head. But it is slightly speculative.”

Whiting confirmed that a detailed report would follow the incident, as conducted following a Formula 2 crash in support of the Spanish Grand Prix in May that saw the Halo protect a driver.

“We went right through that to try and gather as much as we could from it,” Whiting said.

“Our researchers have done a fairly detailed internal report, but all we’re trying to go is try and gather as much information as we can, which helps us, because we’re in the process of beginning the development of Halo 4.

“So the more we can get, the better.”

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