In the first lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix, on Sunday 29th November, French-Swiss driver Romain Grosjean plunged into the barrier of the track at 137mph, sustaining an impact of 53G, resulting in his car splitting in half and bursting into an inferno of flames.
Miraculously, with the help of track marshals, he managed to escape the blazing wreckage after a mere 28 seconds. His only injuries were the burns on his hands – relatively minor in comparison to the worst that could have resulted from the crash. Despite initial suspicions of a broken foot and broken ribs, it has been confirmed that no bones were broken. He says that he “saw death coming” whilst trapped in the cockpit of the car.
The Haas driver courageously walked to the ambulance, refusing the recommended assistance of a stretcher, in order to demonstrate to his team, his fans, and his fellow drivers that he was not in a serious condition. He subsequently spent three nights at the Bahrain Defence Force hospital, where he received treatment for his injuries, and he continues to receive private treatment for his burns.
Grosjean speaks of his ongoing recovery, reporting that he is “getting better and better,” and that he is just “happy to be alive”
Guenther Steiner, team principal of the Haas team, spoke directly to Grosjean about the accident. Grosjean clipped the front wheel of Alpha Tauri driver Daniil Kvyat’s car, triggering the crash, but Steiner reported that Grosjean was entirely unaware of these events, because he didn’t see Kvyat’s oncoming car. Steiner suspects that these events occurred so rapidly that Grosjean has no memory of them.
His escape may be labelled a miracle, but it has much more to do with the recent additional safety measures introduced to Formula 1. The mandatory halo device is designed to protect drivers from serious head injuries. It has received many unpopular opinions from sceptical drivers, including Grosjean himself, but ultimately, it is what saved his life. He said, “I wasn’t for it some years ago, but I think it’s the greatest thing that we brought to Formula One, and without it, I wouldn’t be able to speak to you today.” The fireproof safety wear, which had been improved going into this season also successfully protected him from the flames.
Grosjean speaks of his ongoing recovery, reporting that he is “getting better and better,” and that he is just “happy to be alive.” He will not be participating in the next Grand Prix race, which is also taking place in Bahrain but on a different track layout, on Sunday 6th December. Instead, Brazilian driver Pietro Fittipaldi will be racing in his place for the Haas team as their reserve driver.
However, Grosjean is optimistically hopeful that he will be able to return for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday 13th December. Abu Dhabi was already intended to be his last race for both the Haas team and of his Formula 1 career altogether, after racing for 10 seasons. He is determined not to end his Formula 1 career with his crash, commenting, “There is the need to get back in the car, if possible, in Abu Dhabi. I couldn’t finish my story in Formula 1 like that”.
For more content including uni news, reviews, entertainment, lifestyle, features and so much more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like our Facebook page for more articles and information on how to get involved.