The Frenchman was squeezed into the guardrails in his car for 27 seconds. It is thanks to various security systems that he was almost unharmed.
If you saw the pictures, you won’t forget them anytime soon. The car: split in two. The driver’s cab: squeezed into the guardrails. And all around: a huge fireball. Romain Grosjean was caught in the flames for 27 seconds before he was able to free himself and jumped out of the fire almost unharmed.
The 34-year-old was very lucky on this Sunday. But not only. Formula 1 has continued to develop its safety systems in recent years. And the Bahrain GP showed: They work.
When it was introduced in 2018, there was opposition from many quarters. The cars would now look like flip-flops. Niki Lauda reported: “For me it is a step backwards.” And Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff also said: “Hand me a chainsaw and I’ll take it off.” Not just since yesterday is everyone happy that the Formula 1 cars have this one «gloriole» feature. Because one thing is clear: He saved Grosjeans life.
The Franco-Swiss himself was a opponent des Hello. Reports from the hospital bed is: «I wasn’t for the Halo a few years ago. But I think it is Beste what has ever been brought into Formula 1. OWithout him, I wouldn’t be able to talk to you now.“According to his racing team, he will be able to leave the hospital on Tuesday.
His lifesaver weighs around seven kilograms. Tensioned in a ring over the driver’s head in the cockpit and fastened in the middle with a strut, is intended to protect the driver from flying parts.
According to the FIA regulations, the titanium bar must be able to withstand the weight of two African elephants (around twelve tons for two males). And catch a suitcase that is fired at 225 km / h.
The halo was introduced in Formula 1 after Jules Bianchi suffered severe head injuries and succumbed to death in the 2014 Japanese GP colliding with a recovery vehicle. A French journalist is said to have received a message from Bianchi’s mother during the race in Bahrain: “What was triggered by the death of my son has now saved his friend Romain.” Probably also because the pilots have to prove in constant training that they can leave the cockpit independently within seven seconds despite the Halo.
Although his car was torn in two, the driver’s cab remained intact. It is called the “survival cell”. She lived up to her name on Sunday. Manufactured from a carbon fiber composite, the result is that it is characterized by high rigidity and strength with low weight.
In the crash test, the monocoque is loaded with 20 tons from the front and 25 tons from the side. The roll bar must withstand a weight of 27 tons. Former world champion Nico Rosberg once said: “It’s our bulletproof vest.”
The fireproof racing suit
Many of the Formula 1 safety measures are actually designed to prevent such fire accidents from occurring in the first place. But because Grosjean’s car was split in two upon impact, the tank bladder was exposed. Because the battery, which is under high voltage, is also located in the back, the fireball probably started.
What protected Grosjean from further burns is his racing suit. It consists of a material called Nomex, which protects the driver from temperatures of around 800 degrees for 35 seconds. But not just the overalls: shoes, underwear, gloves and face masks are also made from special synthetic fibers. Only before the start of this season was it introduced that the suits must have an additional layer of fire-resistant material.
Grosjean’s foot burns were due to the fact that he slipped off one shoe when he got out.
They jumped out of their car with the flashing lights: former racing driver Alan van der Merwe and racing doctor Ian Roberts. Merwe unlocked the fire extinguisher and splashed into the blazing flames. Despite the scorching heat, Roberts ventured close to the fire and helped Grosjean over the guardrails. The marshals had to back away when the car hit and only rushed to help later.
Thanks also to the medical car, Grosjean was rescued and, above all, treated so quickly. Günther Steiner, head of Grosjeans Haas team, thanked racing doctor Roberts for his commitment. And Merwe said: “In twelve Formula 1 years I haven’t seen such a big fire and an accident like this. It took a moment to understand what was going on. ”
The medical car always follows the racing Formula 1 field on the first lap because the possibility of an accident is particularly high. Its inmates had a very special mission on Sunday.