In Brief

F1: Romain Grosjean hails the ‘halo’ after surviving horror crash

Haas car split in two and burst into flames after hitting barriers at Bahrain GP

Romain Grosjean said he’s “sort of OK” after walking away from a frightening crash at the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday. 

Haas driver Grosjean smashed into barriers on the first lap of the race at the Bahrain International Circuit and the impact split his car in two and it then burst into flames. 

Making contact with Daniil Kvyat’s Scuderia AlphaTauri just after turn three, Grosjean’s Haas “speared into the barriers” at an impact speed of 221kph (137.3mph), F1.com says. 

Incredibly, Grosjean emerged from his cockpit before being rescued by nearby marshals and medical officials - while flames engulfed the front half of his car, Sky Sports reports. 

The Frenchman spent the night in hospital after being treated for burns to his hands. X-rays revealed that he did not suffer any fractures.

In a medical update posted on Monday, the Haas F1 team said Grosjean is “continuing his convalescence at the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) hospital having remained there overnight following Sunday’s incident at the Bahrain Grand Prix”. 

The statement said: “Treatment on the burns Grosjean sustained on the back of both his hands is going well. Grosjean was visited by Guenther Steiner, team principal of Haas F1 Team, on Monday and it is anticipated he will be discharged from the care of the hospital on Tuesday 1 December.”

‘Greatest thing we brought to F1’

The “halo” head protection device on F1 cars drew criticism from fans and team members when it was introduced in 2018. However, Grosjean said had it not been for the halo he “wouldn’t be able to speak to you today”. 

Designed to deflect tyres and debris away from the driver’s head, the halo is a piece of carbon fibre-wrapped titanium that curves around the cockpit. It’s held in place by a single strut in front of the driver and two mounts bolted onto the chassis behind.

Speaking in a video message Grosjean said: “Hello everyone, just wanted to say I’m okay, well, sort of okay. Thank you very much for all the messages. 

“I wasn’t for the halo some years ago but I think it’s the greatest thing we brought to Formula 1 and without it I wouldn’t be able to speak to you today.”

The FIA, F1’s governing body, is launching an investigation into the accident in Bahrain. “We will look at it all and undertake a full investigation of the whole incident, and what we can learn,” race director Michael Masi told Sky Sports F1.

‘Halo saved the day - and Romain’

Ross Brawn, Formula 1’s managing director of motorsport, said there’s “no doubt” that the halo saved Grosjean’s life. 

“The barrier splitting was a classic problem many years ago and normally it resulted in a fatality,” Brawn told Sky Sports F1. “There is absolutely no doubt the halo was the factor that saved the day - and saved Romain. All the team behind it just need crediting for forcing it through.”

Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton won the grand prix in Bahrain and in his post-race interview he said the incident was a “stark reminder” of the dangers of F1. 

“Naturally it was terrifying to see,” said the seven-time world champion. “I haven’t seen something like that for a long, long time and it really hits home for a driver because I think whilst we all are competing for 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. 

“So I’m really grateful that he’s safe and was able to get out. But I think it’s a real stark reminder of just how dangerous this sport can be.”  

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