Sebastian Vettel has questioned why a guard rail “failed” and caused Romain Grosjean’s car to split in half and erupt in flames at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Grosjean somehow escaped with only minor burns after his car exploded into a fireball on the opening lap of the race.
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The 34-year-old French driver slid off the track at high speed and his Haas car burst into flames after being sliced in two by a barrier.
While the new ‘halo’ and other safety features are being praised for helping save Grosjean’s life, four-time world champion Vettel is fuming that the barrier didn’t do its job.
“I haven’t looked at the images a lot because I didn’t really want to, but the main thing is he got out. I don’t know how to be honest,” said Vettel.
“But obviously the guardrail is not supposed to fail like that.
“I mean it’s good the cars are safer than they used to be in the past but the guardrail shouldn’t fail and the car shouldn’t catch fire in that fashion.
“There are a lot of precautions so that it doesn’t fail, so I don’t know what happened there.
“I think it’s difficult to say at this stage but the main thing is obviously that he got out.”
Carlos Sainz of McLaren was also gobsmacked.
“I never expected honestly a Formula 1 car and an armco to generate that kind of crash,” the Spaniard said.
“It’s definitely something we need to look into as (part of the) general safety, without pointing fingers at all.
“It’s another day where we need to learn as a sport, same as we have to learn from days like Mugello and the days of Anthoine for example.
“There’s always an opportunity to feel lucky that nothing major happened today, and always an opportunity to learn and keep making this sport as safe as possible.”
FIA launches investigation into Grosjean crash
Formula One managing director Ross Braun said there would be a full investigation into the incident.
“There will be a thorough investigation undertaken into the crash,” he said.
“The fire is worrying. The split in the barrier is worrying and the barrier coming apart, but we can be happy with the safety of the car - that got us through today, but things failed in an unpredictable way.
“We haven’t seen anything like that for a very long time, but the barrier splitting normally results in a fatality.
“The ‘halo’ saved the day and it saved Romain. There was controversy in developing it initially, but there can’t be any doubt now so hats off to those who pushed for the introduction.”
Governing body FIA said in a statement that Grosjean was staying overnight in a military hospital to have treatment for burns on the back of both hands, but that he did not have any fractures despite hitting the barriers at an estimated speed of at least 200 km/h.
Late on Sunday, F1 posted a video of a smiling Grosjean speaking from his hospital bed.
“Just wanted to say I am OK,” Grosjean said. “Thank you very much for all the messages.”
Thank you so much for all your messages
Loving life pic.twitter.com/uTyfhTYTxP
— Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) November 30, 2020
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