The whole F1 community along with the motor racing as well – on social media – had heaps of supportive message towards Romain Grosjean and also people who helped him.
It was a fiery start to F1 Bahrain GP when a collision with AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat, sent Haas’ Grosjean into the armco barrier, where the front end got stuck in between the gap, while the rear cut off on the run-off. The car immediately caught fire.
It was horrific to see Grosjean trying to unbuckle himself and run towards the medical car’s Dr. Ian Roberts and Alan van der Merwe, who were quick at the scene along with the marshals. The Halo saved the Frenchman from any larger injury eventually.
He was flown into the hospital where it was confirmed that he had burns on the back of his hands and part of the legs. Fortunately, there was no fracture as in a video message, Grosjean thanked not only Halo but also all of the crew on the scene.
FIA President Jean Todt was with him along with his manager and physio as French TV noted that Grosjean was able to speak with his wife too. The Bahrain carried on post a lengthy repair under the supervision of Race Director Michael Masi.
It was hard on the F1 drivers to race after seeing the images but all were happy to see Grosjean walk away. Post-race, everyone had the Frenchman – who is also one of the GPDA Director – in their thoughts as they left some beautiful messages.
Here’s messages from all – the impact was at 137 mph and 53G:
Romain Grosjean (from hospital): “Hello everyone, I just wanted to say I am OK – well, sort of OK. Thank you very much for all the messages. I mean, I wasn’t for the halo some years ago, but I think it’s the greatest thing that we’ve brought to Formula 1, and without it I wouldn’t be able to speak with you today. So thanks to all the medical staff at the circuit, at the hospital, and hopefully I can write you quite soon some messages and tell you how it’s going.”
Ross Brawn: “We’ve got to do a very deep analysis of all the events that occurred because there are a number of things that shouldn’t have happened. The fire was worrying, the splitting of the barrier was worrying. A positive is the safety of the car and that’s what got us through. There’s no doubt the halo saved him. Barriers splitting was a classic problem many years ago. It resulted in a fatality. There’s no doubt that the halo was the factor that saved the day – and saved Romain.
“The team behind [the halo] need credit for forcing it through. If you recall, there was quite a lot of controversy about introducing it. I don’t think anyone – especially after today – can question the validity of that and the value of it. Hats off to everyone involved because it was a lifesaver. I think it was quite a high-G load as well. We’ve got to look at how everything failed because everything’s designed to fail in a progression.
“A crash that catastrophic, though, things obviously failed in an unpredicted way. The car came apart, we had a fuel fire – something we haven’t had in a very long time, the fuel cells are incredibly strong. I suspect the fire came from a ruptured connection. Surprisingly, it looked [like] a big fire but those cars are carrying 100 kilos of fuel at that point. Think about if 100 kilos had gone up [in flames]! We would have had a massive fire, so for me that was a fire of a few kilos of fuel – not 100 kilos.”
Sergio Perez: “To see that and to know we have to get back into the car minutes later was a bit of a shock. I was just a bit relieved when I saw that he was okay with only minor injuries, but to focus [after that] was extremely hard. When I had to retire it was a big blow, but after today you really put everything into perspective. For me, one podium less, one podium more, it doesn’t matter. The most important thing is that Romain is with us, that he escaped that accident, and we have to see what we are able to improve on the safety side because we don’t want to see such accidents.
“Who can imagine you’d go flat-out into that barrier? We cannot relax on safety, and I think it’s a good lesson for all of us to see what we are able to improve in the coming tracks, future events, to make sure we don’t have to see an accident like this again. The speed he hit [the armco] at – it’s hard to do anything – but I’m sure there’s some improvement that can be made.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I haven’t really looked at the images a lot, because I didn’t want to, but the main thing is he got out. I don’t know how to be honest, but obviously the guardrail is not supposed to fail like that. It’s good that the cars are safer as they used to be in the past, but the guard rail shouldn’t fail and the car shouldn’t catch fire in that fashion. There’s a lot of precautions that it doesn’t catch fire, so I don’t know what happened there. It’s difficult to say at this stage, but the main thing is that he got out.
“First I didn’t understand. Then obviously I saw the fire and then I was asking all of the time if he’s out and they said they don’t know. And that was a bad feeling. Obviously once I jumped out of the car and I realized he’s out that’s the main message of the day. I hope he’s as good as he can be. I don’t know how he managed to get out because the car seemed to catch fire immediately. It wasn’t easy to get back in but I think it was probably best to get straight back in rather than wait for a week.
“People like to see this stuff, I guess, otherwise the director or whoever wouldn’t show it again and again and again. People like crashes and maybe sometimes they forget that we are behind the wheel. So I guess you could say it’s part of the show. So that’s why I disappeared and tried not to look at the images too much.”
Daniel Ricciardo: “The way the incident of Grosjean was broadcast over and over, the replays over and over, it was completely disrespectful and inconsiderate, for his family, for all of our families. We were gonna go race in an hour, and every time we look on the TV it’s a ball of fire and his car’s cut in half. We can see that tomorrow – we don’t need to see it today. For me it was entertainment and they’re playing with all of our emotions, and I thought it was pretty disgusting, so hopefully some other drivers will speak up; if that’s not how we all really feel I’ll be very surprised.”
Daniil Kvyat: “It was a scary moment. I saw him and at first I was very angry that he came across like this. I thought ‘What is he doing?’. But then my mind changed immediately when I saw in the mirrors the fire. I was just hoping he was okay. I immediately didn’t like what I saw in my mirrors and we’re glad… I’m glad he’s okay. Honestly. Really, this just reminds you what we do is dangerous.”
Charles Leclerc: “I saw that in my mirrors actually, I saw it live and I came straightaway on the radio, I was very worried if you hear my radio messages and obviously I just wanted to have the good news that Romain was okay, and then arriving in Turn 9 I still had no news and I saw also the fire so was starting to worry a lot, but luckily I think he’s fine but I don’t know how fine he is let’s say, but the good thing is he jumped out of the car. It’s incredible. If you see the crash, also me I struggled to believe once he jumped out of the car so it’s congratulations for the guys that are doing the safety on the cars.”
Lewis Hamilton: “It was terrifying to see. I haven’t seen something like that for a long, long time. It really hits home for a driver, because I think while we are all competing with each other and want to beat each other we definitely I would think want safety for everyone and worry about one another when there is an issue, when there is a crash. I’m really grateful that he is safe and was able to get out.
“But it is a real stark reminder just how dangerous this sport can be – the speeds that we are travelling, the energy that we are carrying when we are travelling at those speeds. The FIA have done an amazing job, but we can’t stop where we are, we’ve got to keep on trying to improve. That’s what also makes this sport great. We are constantly evolving. It is still a dangerous sport. I’m sure there are people who tuned in who have never seen something like that and it just shows that those things can happen. I think we are aware of that as racing drivers, the risks we take. Now everyone else is.
“At the end of the day, the armco did its job but it. The idea of the car being on fire and the driver not being able to get out in the armco. Obviously we’ve got this halo which I think for sure would have definitely have helped in saving his life. I think the flames, the car breaking in two and then not knowing where the driver is and him all of a sudden popping out in those flames. I can’t even imagine what that’s like. It’s only something I’ve ever seen in those old historic races, back when Benetton was on fire many many years ago.
“It was and what Niki experienced. That’s definitely a major concern. But I know our fireproof overalls… they’ve already taken a step up this year. I was a little bit blasé about it in the sense that I thought our suits were good enough and this year they’ve made them bigger and bulkier and they’re heavier kit, like we’re already so hot in the car but I think today they had the foresight perhaps and I think that was a good move.”
Max Verstappen: “Of course that was a crazy incident. When I saw the flames, that was pretty scary to watch but luckily of course he jumped out of the car himself and that was the most important. You can really see the safety, how much it has improved. I think also the Halo saved his life. In the beginning when it came onto the cars I was quite critical about it, that it looked ugly but you can’t say anything about the safety because today it definitely saved Romain, so very happy about that. Thoughts are with him and, of course, his family as well because they are watching in front of TV and that’s never nice. So I hope that he will recover very soon and he will be back with us.”
Alexander Albon: “I think there’s not much to add onto it. It’s one of those things where, when you see it, when you come out of Turn Eight and you just see this fireball, it’s really scary. It’s scary because you just want to know if whatever has happened there, that the driver’s got out, and at the time the team didn’t know.
“It’s one of those things where you’re worried for your fellow driver – but as these two have said as well, I think it just shows how good of a job the FIA are doing. Not just the standards of the car but the marshals, the Medical Car, everyone involved in that. And, of course, there’s always a little bit of luck involved in it as well, but to see Romain walk away, yes, it’s a testament for all the hard work that’s been done behind the scenes.”
Carlos Sainz: “It was not easy, especially the in-lap to see the car on fire and don’t get any information how is the driver, a very bad experience and also to see such a big fire but thank God we saw Romain jumping outside the car in the pits. I think it is a great opportunity to keep learning and keep making these cars and sports safer.
“At the same time, it was a demonstration that every time we jump into these beasts, we are putting our life in a compromised situation and has to be respected. It also proves that freak accidents can still happen in F1. From my side no if there was doubts on re-starts, I have full confidence on what the FIA are doing and how they are handling the sport. I think the very good proof is how we introduced Halo.
“Especially how it helping to keep the sports safer and demonstrating to all those stupid critics about the Halo being ugly and making the car heavier, it is not worth it as we all want to see the drivers back after racing and put on a good show in one of the fastest sport, and at that point, I had no doubts about re-starting the race. Obviously, I saw them putting the temporary barriers and that felt safe enough.”
Lando Norris: “It was good to see Romain OK after the crash, was a pretty bad one to see, glad to see him OK and he’s been flown to hospital for further checks, so it was good to see.”
Kevin Magnussen: “I’m just very, very happy to see Romain walk away from that crash – it was unbelievable. To see him survive that is frankly a miracle. I’m so happy that the halo was introduced, and it was on his car. Without it I’m sure it would have been very different. That’s really all from me today. I’m just happy that we’ve still got Romain.”
George Russell: “I saw as if Romain Grosjean speared off into the barrier and naturally looked in my mirror and saw a ball of flames. It felt like something from a movie almost, absolutely horrific and a reminder to all of us, motorsport is dangerous, we’re going out there, everyone in a race car putting their lives on the line, it was absolutely horrific. It says a lot how the safety is progressing.
“It will never be perfectly safe but to see him walk away, albeit pretty burnt was incredible. In all honesty, from the moment I saw Romain was okay, it almost goes to the back of your mind. It’s incredible how when you’re so focused on one thing, you almost forget about these horrific incidents and it’s probably only going to be probably tomorrow or the days after where as a driver you really reflect on that and it makes you realise and think ‘that could have been any one of us’.”
Esteban Ocon: “The first, and main thing, is the news of Romain [Grosjean] and I wish him a very fast recovery. It was a crazy incident. The team told me in the car that he was alright, but looking at the images, I struggled to believe it. It’s a miracle that he’s fine and I’m glad to hear he’s OK. Our race was secondary to that incident today.”
Pierre Gasly: “The main thing about today is to see Romain walking away from that horrific crash at the start of the race. It was pretty shocking to see, but I’m really glad he’s ok and I wish him all the best for his recovery and hope to see him back very soon.”
Valtteri Bottas: “First of all I am really happy that he is well and he survived, that’s the first thought, I only saw a quick replay, I didn’t want to keep watching it or watching it on repeat as we had a race to focus on. So you try to avoid any distraction in your head and as long as I saw that he was OK, it was time to focus on the next start and race so I don’t know yet any details apart from the quick replay that I saw. I am sure there will be lessons learned from that accident and how that kind of accident can happen, the fire, the barrier etc. I am sure everything is going to be discussed in detail in the next drivers’ meeting. It was a freak accident but I am glad it turned out OK.”
Christian Horner: “Horrendous. An incident like that, I couldn’t see a driver coming out of that. Full credit to Ian [Roberts] and Alan [Van der Merwe] – to go in [with] faceless helmets – they’re the heros. We give the FIA a hard time and the halo came under a lot of criticism but all credit to the FIA. For a car to pierce a barrier – a steel barrier like that – and for the driver to survive with the fire and everything else, all credit to the job they’re doing – and they’re right to keep pushing.
“Inevitably there are things that can be improved, and there are lessons to be learned from today. From a circuit POV, from a car POV, from an equipment POV, from a response POV, and you’re always learning in this series; not only to go faster, but about the safety and the protection. For a driver to walk away from a shunt like that is [remarkable]. Romain Grosjean is a very fortunate young man tonight.”
Toto Wolff: “The accident was a real shocker. It’s something we haven’t seen in Formula 1 since the 90s, a car breaking in two and bursting out in a fire ball. We were just hoping for a positive end. Seeing the pictures in the aftermath, it’s even more frightening. The car broke in two, and obviously everybody saw it, the cockpit went underneath the armco rail, and he still managed to escape.
“You don’t want to think of the worst, if not everybody would have every luck, every guardian angel, plus the marshals, and Ian Roberts and Alan van der Merwe, they wouldn’t have been together in Turn 3, quite close to the pit exit. I hope Romain is OK, I think he has some severe burns on his hands and feet, but having seen what happened, I think it was an escape that we are all grateful for. I also hope that his family are OK.
“Seeing those pictures must be frightening, but with how the FIA, FOM and the teams have worked together to bring up the halo, which I wasn’t a fan before, I must say, it’s the second time now the halo has proven worth its invention. I don’t want to imagine what would have happened without it.”
Guenther Steiner: “I spoke with him on the phone, he’s in a clear state of mind, he’s good. He’s still staying in the hospital overnight, they want to keep him there. But he told me and not the doctor, he feels good, it seems nothing is broken. He’s got his hands bandaged from the burns, but otherwise he said he has no burns or nothing. He was very upbeat, I would say, so very happy.
“His physio was in contact with his wife straight away. They know each other very well, so he was in contact and they gave him the news. I tried to call, but you can imagine these people are so busy. When I called him before, he was on the telephone with his son, I was told, so that’s good. I think it’s all under control.
“Knowing him, he wants to be back, but we’ll see when they take the bandages off because he has no idea what they look like. For me at the moment, the only good thing is, nothing bad happened. For sure it wasn’t good, but he’s safe, he’s healthy. The rest we’ll see tomorrow when we speak with the doctors. I don’t want to speak about the back-up plan. The back-up plan is to have Romain in if he’s alright to do it.”
Mattia Binotto: “Obviously, very happy for output to Romain’s accident, very happy to know that he’s safe and healthy. Obviously, he got some injuries but I think that if you look at the crash, it’s quite incredible that he has been not so much injured. So thanks to the FIA for the hard work of the last years, thanks to the entire working group working on the safety. I think it has proved today that we have done incredible somehow development on the safety through technologies and innovations.
“The Halo has been a quite an important component today but it is showing as well that we can do even better in the future. So I’m pretty sure that the people working on the safety will never stop working on the safety, whatever it is, whether it is the circuits, it is the cars or the technology we may applied. So again, very thankful, and we need to keep working very hard on the matter.”
Ian Roberts (FIA Medical Delegate): “On the first lap, as normal we were following them around, then there was a massive flame and we arrived to a very odd scene where you’ve got half a car pointing in the wrong direction and just across the barrier a mass of heat. Then looking to the right at that point, I could see Romain trying to get up. We needed some way of getting to him, so we got the marshal there with the extinguisher, and the extinguisher was just enough to push the flame away as Romain got high enough, so I could reach over and pull him over the barrier.
“My face was a bit singed – I got a good tan! I think I told him to sit down. He was obviously very shaky, and his visor was completely opaque, and in fact melted. I managed to get his helmet off to check everything else was OK. He had gotten some pain in his foot and his hands, so from that point we knew it was safe enough then to put him in the car for a bit more protection, to get some gel onto his burns. [From then it was a matter of] getting him to the medical center.
“It was going to be flames, smoke inhalation, airway issues, and that nothing went up to his helmet, and we had a look at the helmet as well. But looking at him clinically we were quite happy with him from a life-threatening injury point of view, so it was about making him comfortable from the injuries we could see.”
Michael Masi: “Firstly, credit where credit’s due to Ian and Alan. The process that we have from this perspective is the medical car chasing the field, that’s the big part of their role, their intervention, the local officials and marshals, the way that they got in there, so all credit to them for the speed at which they did.
“The amount of energy having gone there and looked at it, there’s only so much we can do. From the FIA, we will undertake and investigate the whole incident, and see what we can learn, be it car safety, be it driver equipment or the circuit as well, and what we can actually learn. The best part is that Romain got out of the car, and for all senses, he will be in observation for minor things but in general he’s ok.”
Here’s the whole incident of Romain Grosjean
Here’s the full video from F1: https://www.formula1.com/en/video/2020/11/2020_Bahrain_Grand_Prix__Grosjean_escapes_huge_crash_and_fire_at_race_start.html
Here’s more photos: https://www.facebook.com/Formula1/posts/1953246254832347