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The medical car crew could only watch Grosjean break free Zoom
Alan van der Merwe, the driver of the medical car in Formula 1, experienced the horror up close. “I haven’t seen anything like it in twelve years,” he says. “I have never witnessed such an impact.”
“It took us a moment to understand what happened there. I can’t tell if it was just a second, but it felt like an eternity.”
Salvation came after waiting too long. “It was a relief when he got out there and was okay,” says the 40-year-old.
He and Formula 1 doctor Ian Roberts ran in the direction of the burning wreck, but initially could not do anything. They immediately took care of Grosjean, who climbed out of the flames unaided.
“It shows that all the systems we have developed work hand in hand – halo, guardrails, belts. Everything worked as it should. Without it, things would have turned out very differently,” says van der Merwe.
When he got back into the box with the medical car, Haas team boss Günther Steiner thanked him on the spot and ordered the same from Roberts.
Grosjean got away with burns to his hands and ankles, according to initial reports. He was flown out by helicopter with suspected broken rib.