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Steiner praises FIA for ignoring Halo ‘non-believers’

Haas boss Guenther Steiner has praised the FIA for pushing through the introduction of the Halo in the wake of Romain Grosjean’s violent accident at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The head protection device was first trialled in early 2016, following in-depth research, but was met with widespread criticism over its aesthetics.

Other avenues were explored but, after an initial 12-month delay, the device became mandatory in Formula 1 and Formula 2 in 2018, with Formula 3 joining suit a year later.

The Halo has already been credited with preventing serious injury in a handful of accidents and played an influential role in Grosjean’s high-speed crash on Sunday.

Grosjean’s VF-20 penetrated the Armco barrier and the Frenchman, who had previously been resistant to the device when its introduction was being discussed, credited it with saving his life.

“Even if [the cars] are safe, I think we still need to be lucky or somebody needs to be with you,” said Steiner.

“But for sure there was a great amount of work put in in everything.

“Look at the Halo – a lot of us were against it when it was proposed a few years ago but now I think it already saved a few lives.

“So sure, I think we should be thankfully for the people that pushed these things along.

“I actually spoke to [FIA President] Jean [Todt] after the accident and thanked him for keeping on pushing for this.

“It’s the same with Stefano Domenicali who called me up, and I said ‘it’s good that you guys pushed even if we were not believers in it’.

“So absolutely right, without all this hard work this would have had a different ending.”

Haas confirmed on Monday that reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi will replace Grosjean at this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix.

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