Jenson Button says team-mate Fernando Alonso's massive crash at the Australian Grand Prix cannot be used as an argument against the introduction of the Halo cockpit protection device.
Alonso was sent into a frightening barrel roll in the early part of the Australian Grand Prix, coming to rest upside down against a wall at the end of the Turn 3 gravel trap. In the immediate aftermath Alonso climbed out from his McLaren through a small gap between the cockpit and the wall.
The FIA plans to introduce some form of cockpit device next year to protect drivers from flying debris, with Ferrari testing the Halo device over winter. One criticism of Halo is that it might make extracting a driver from an upturned car difficult, but Button thinks that is irrelevant when looking at Alonso's crash.
Asked if concerns over driver extraction are fair after seeing Alonso's crash Button said: "He didn't need to get out there to be fair, there was no need for him to get out in that situation. There's more safety risks of things hitting our heads than anything happening when you are upside down in the car. It's very unusual that there will be something...
"A fuel spillage or anything like that with the safety cell and the way that the fuel tanks are, it won't happen. So 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."
Button says he was amazed to see Alonso walk away from the crash unharmed.
"I didn't see the incident, I saw the red flag and the team said both drivers were OK and I was 'OK, strange to have a red flag', but I saw Fernando walking away and I saw the incident and I'm amazed he did walk away.
"I think it just proves how far we've come with the cars in terms of safety, as it proved there is still a lot of possible danger, especially in the breaking zone it's always the worst, because the closing speed to one cars breaking to another is massive and that looked like what happened. Slight misjudgement from one of the drivers, the tyres touched and then it's just a bullet without the suspension."