Romain Grosjean crash: Ross Brawn insists penetrated crash barrier was ‘disturbing’

Jack Rathborn
·3-min read
A fire marshal attempts to put out the flames of Romain Grosjean’s Haas after an accident on lap one (Reuters)
A fire marshal attempts to put out the flames of Romain Grosjean’s Haas after an accident on lap one (Reuters)

Ross Brawn insists it was “disturbing” that Romain Grosjean’s car “penetrated the crash barrier” at the Bahrain Grand Prix before erupting into flames.

Formula One’s managing director believes tracks could be redesigned following an investigation into the accident that left the Haas driver fortunate to escape with his life, with only minor burns to his hands and legs and suspected broken ribs suffered.

The disturbing scene saw a fire break out at the Armco barrier on the exit of Turn Three, which forced the race to be stopped as medical services rushed to the scene.

Grosjean was soon pictured out of the car and speaking to medics while the flames were put out, to the relief of the millions watching around the world, and Brawn insists there could be major changes following an investigation.

READ MORE: ‘I am OK, well sort of OK’: Romain Grosjean credits halo with saving his life after fiery crash

“The other disturbing thing about the accident was that it penetrated the crash barrier,” Brawn told the Today show on BBC Radio Four. “That is another aspect we have to look at.

"The halo for sure prevented other body and head injuries that in the past would have occurred if an accident of this sort would have happened.

Romain Grosjean’s Haas erupted into flames after crashing on the opening lap of the Bahrain Grand PrixReuters
Romain Grosjean’s Haas erupted into flames after crashing on the opening lap of the Bahrain Grand PrixReuters

“[Redesigning tracks to have more run-offs] can be looked at, I don’t know if that’s feasible. In normal cornering we try to create a run-off area. But that was pretty much straight. Every aspect will be looked at in this investigation.”

Brawn also explained how the fire occurred, with damage to the chassis of Grosjean’s car.

“I think the shock for all of us was seeing a fire, we’ve not seen that problem for many years. For there to be a fire, it’s unusual,” Grosjean added. “Pretty much yes [we thought we’d eradicated that problem], the fuel cells in which contain the fuel are military standard.

Grosjean remained in the cockpit as his Haas burst into flamesAFP via Getty
Grosjean remained in the cockpit as his Haas burst into flamesAFP via Getty

"They’re sort of bullet-proof. It was very unusual to see a fire. When the severity of the accident became clear, we started to understand why that may have happened.

“The chassis ruptured and ripped some of the connections to the fuel cell away, so that’s where the fuel escaped.”

Grosjean was helped away from the scene before being airlifted to hospitalReuters
Grosjean was helped away from the scene before being airlifted to hospitalReuters

The medical car, which starts at the back of the grid in the event of such accidents taking place, was immediately on the scene to allow F1 chief medical officer Dr Ian Roberts to rush to Grosjean’s aid as medical driver Alan van der Merwe helped the effort to put flames out on his overalls.

<p>The entire Armco barrier needed replacing after the accident</p>AFP via Getty

The entire Armco barrier needed replacing after the accident

AFP via Getty

“(It was a) Big surprise for us as well,” Van der Merwe, who was one of the first on the scene, told Sky Sports. “In 12 years I’ve not seen that much fire at an impact like that. We took a little while to process what was going on, I’m sure that was only a second or so but it felt like ages. And then Romain actually started to get out of the car himself which was pretty amazing after an accident like that.

<p>The rear section of Grosjean’s car ripped apart from the cockpit</p>AFP via Getty

The rear section of Grosjean’s car ripped apart from the cockpit

AFP via Getty

“Not yet, we had relief when we got back here and saw he was ok.

“It just goes to show, all the systems that we’ve developed, everything worked and the halo, the barriers, the seat belts - everything worked how it should. Without even one of those things, it could have been a very different outcome.”

FIA race director Michael Masi immediately red flagged the race and brought the cars back to the pits, with extensive barrier repairs being required to the section where Grosjean crashed. An initial update confirmed that at least 45 minutes would be required to replace the complete ArmCo section that had been damaged before a full race restart could take place.

An hour and 10 minutes after the accident, the FIA confirmed that the race would restart at 3:35pm GMT.

Read More

Grosjean recovering well but will remain in hospital another night

‘I am OK, well sort of OK’: Grosjean speaks for first time after crash

Bahrain Grand Prix red flagged after horrific Grosjean crash

Hamilton wins in Bahrain after Grosjean survives horror crash

‘I’m no unsung hero’: Hamilton plays down knighthood calls

Murray says Hamilton deserves knighthood but not all sportspeople do