After the miracle of Bahrain: The eight guardian angels of Formula 1


The day after, the “Miracle of Bahrain” was the number 1 topic in Formula 1. It is thanks to a huge portion of luck and sophisticated safety measures that Romain Grosjean survived the fire accident in Bahrain with burns on the back of his hand. He is scheduled to leave the hospital on Tuesday, and in the second race on Sunday in Bahrain he will be replaced by the Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi (24), the grandson of the two-time world champion Emerson Fittipaldi.

Grosjean crashed into the guardrail at 224 km / h and broke it. His car was torn in two and went up in flames. The Frenchman sat in a fire that was up to 900 degrees Celsius for 26 seconds. Formula 1 doctor and first rescuer Ian Roberts reports that even the visor on Grosjeans helmet had melted. An accident of this kind would previously have meant the certain death of the pilot.

Death went with them

Safety and Formula 1, that was a contradiction for decades. In the first 25 years of sport there were exactly four mandatory safety measures: in 1952 the crash helmet became compulsory, in 1959 the roll bar behind the driver, in 1969 the seat belt, in 1973 the deformable tank.

In 1975 a headrest behind the driver and a fire extinguisher became mandatory. The pilot’s feet have been behind the front axle since 1976. In 1979 the petrol tank moved behind the driver. That made the cars narrower and was also the perfect fire protection.

But it wasn’t until Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger’s fatal accidents in Imola in 1994 that everything changed. Race doctor Sid Watkins, who saw both pilots die, and FIA President Max Mosley fled to the front. Safety became the most important issue.

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