The pictures were reminiscent of Niki Lauda’s Nürburgring accident and gave rise to fears of the very worst. But Romain Grosjean survived one of the most violent Formula 1 crashes in recent years – probably thanks in part to the Halo cockpit protection.
“Hi everyone, I just wanted to say: I’m okay. At least under the circumstances,” said Grosjean in a video message on his Instagram channel. The Frenchman had himself filmed, both of his hands were bandaged. “Thanks for all of the messages from you. I wasn’t for Halo a few years ago. Today I think it was the best new thing in Formula One history. Without Halo, I wouldn’t be able to speak to you now Thank you everyone, thank you to the medical assistants. Hopefully I can text you personally again soon. ”
As if by a miracle, Romain Grosjean saved himself independently from the blazing wreckage that had once been his racing car. The Frenchman’s Haas Ferrari had broken in two, the chassis was stuck in the guardrail, and a front wheel rolled into the desert landscape of Sakhir. The unbelievable: Grosjean himself remained relatively well protected in the monocoque and got away with minor injuries and a great shock.
It happened in the first round of the Bahrain Grand Prix. While pole-setter Lewis Hamilton, who later won the race, pulled away at the front of the field, the rear was wild and confusing. Grosjean, who started from 19th place, dared an overtaking maneuver after a few bends, pulled hard to the right and probably overlooked Daniil Kwjat’s AlphaTauri. The wheels of the bolides touched each other – after that Grosjean was only a passenger and shot into the guardrail.
Romain Grosjean plots horror crash with hand burns
With the help of the marshals, the 34-year-old left the scene of the burning accident, visibly dazed, and was brought by helicopter to a hospital, where he stayed overnight. His racing team announced on Sunday evening that he only suffered burns on the backs of his hands and was spared from fractures.
“He is very scared,” said team boss Günther Steiner, “but he only has minor burns where there are gaps in the fireproof clothing. That was luck in the accident, but also great effort from the marshals, who were there immediately.” After Grosjeans had been rescued, track workers undertook lengthy repair work so that the 15th race of the season could continue.
The Formula 1 entourage was in shock despite the first all-clear. Record world champion Hamilton looked in his Mercedes garage at the pictures of the horror crash, which inevitably brought back memories of Niki Lauda’s fire accident in 1976 at the Nürburgring, and shook his head in dismay.
Grosjean survives: “It’s a miracle”
“It’s a miracle that he came out in one piece,” said former world champion Damon Hill on Sky: “It looked as if the chassis had gone through the wall. Nobody looks at these pictures and then speaks of to a lot of security in Formula 1. ” With a view to the restart of the race, the 1996 champion said: “It will be difficult for the drivers to get this out of their heads.”
Ex-driver Jean Alesi explained: “You have to thank the FIA (World Automobile Federation; ed.) For getting him out so quickly.” The 56-year-old Frenchman was certain that the long-controversial Halo cockpit protector had “saved the life” of his compatriot Grosjean.
Alan van der Merwe, the driver of the medical car, said: “I haven’t seen that much fire in twelve years. Romain got out of the car alone. It’s incredible. It’s great to see that everything worked: the guard rails , the halo, the rescue operations. ”
Grosjean, who was born in Geneva and only scored two championship points this season, will have to vacate his cockpit at Haas at the end of the season. It seems questionable whether he can start in the final two World Championship races.