Frenetic Grand Prix held in Bahrain where we witnessed one of the biggest accidents in recent years. Thanks to all the safety measures offered by the FIA, Romain Grosjean emerged “unscathed” from a spectacular accident that 10 years ago would have ended in tragedy.
The accident occurred on turn three of the first lap and automatically the red flags went up, so all the drivers had to return to the pit lane.
The minutes after the accident gave the feeling of being endless, nobody knew what had happened, how it had happened, and most importantly, if the French driver was alive. After seeing the live images, colleagues, rivals, and family feared the worst until heroically, the 34-year-old, Haas driver managed to get out of the burning vehicle.
The speedy performance of the medical car that was approached by Dr. Ian Roberts and driven by the South African driver, Alan van der Merwe, were crucial in the rescue of Romain.
Romain was transferred by ambulance where, after a first check, they said that he could suffer a rib fracture due to the outrageous force of the impact, about 56G, equivalent to about 3 tons.
Once in the hospital, they confirmed that he had slight burns on his hands and foot, after losing a shoe, when he got out of the burning vehicle, luckily, he does not have any fractured bones, so the Haas team, they are wishing him a speedy recovery and are desperate to see the French back in the single-seater for the next Grand Prix; however, this would not be possible as Haas already announced he will be replaced by Pietro Fittipaldi who will be a Haas driver for the next race, which is also celebrated in Bahrain but with a different route.
Grosjean’s message from the hospital
From the hospital, Grosjean himself has sent a message of reassurance. “Hello everyone, I just want to say that I’m OK … Good, more or less. Thank you all for the messages. I was not very in favour of the halo a few years ago, but if it weren’t for it, I wouldn’t be able to talk to you now, it is a great advance in safety in Formula 1. Thanks to the hospital, to those responsible for the circuit and to all those who have taken care of me. I hope to be able to answer you shortly and tell you how it goes “.
What is the halo?
Driving a race car at such high speeds can never be safe, but in the past decade, it became clear that the driver’s exposed head was the great unresolved risk.
The solution was the “halo”, a device made of titanium – an extremely resistant metal – in the shape of a curved T that is installed in the front part of the cockpit.
That bar has a resistance of up to 12 tons, equivalent to the weight of London’s iconic double-decker buses.
The fact that the “halo” adds 10kg of weight to the vehicle, which affects aerodynamics, was a major concern. But when the late FIA F1 director Charlie Whiting was trying to push through the halo, with support from the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association chairman Alexander Wurz, many opposed it, including then-F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.
They said it was against the spirit of the sport, that it undermined the DNA of F1 as an open-cockpit formula, that it was ugly; even that it was not necessary.
Drivers are generally not in favour of the halo as it adds weight and slows the vehicle. But on occasions like this, the halo becomes the driver’s favourite piece of the car, since in accidents of this calibre it is a fundamental part. The tests reflect this because if the halo had existed from the beginning of Formula 1, many accidents, deaths, and hard moments in the history of F1 could have been avoided.
F1 supporting Romain
All the drivers that are part of the Formula 1 grid and even some already retired have taken a moment, mostly through social networks, to send a message of support to the French driver. They have been praising the FIA for the great job they do to keep the sport as safe as possible. Drivers like Hamilton and Carlos Sainz Jr. Have asked for a little more respect for their job as they face the risk of suffering big injuries and, in many, cases fatal moments race after race and they believe it is not always valued.
The community of Formula 1.
A very mature and close community. Moments after the accident, the networks were filled with messages of concern for Romain Grosjean and also with messages of thanks to those who risked their lives to turn off and get the French pilot out of the immense flames. The French, was also named Driver of the Day by the fans through the webpage poll