Romain Grosjean says Formula One’s controversial halo device saved his life.
Grosjean sent the message from his hospital bed just hours after surviving the most dramatic accident of recent Formula One memory in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
The French driver’s car split in two and burst into flames after he pierced through a steel barrier at 140mph following a collision with AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat.
Grosjean, 34, scrambled to get out of his burning wreckage for almost half a minute before leaping to safety.
An update from Romain himself. Pleased to see you’re in good spirits! We hope you make a speedy recovery 🙏 pic.twitter.com/njnjjH4GBi
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) November 29, 2020
The force of the impact registered at 53G, but Grosjean escaped with just minor burns to his hands.
He was airlifted to the BDF Military Hospital, 10 miles north of the Bahrain International Circuit, where he remained overnight for observation.
The halo device – a three-pronged titanium protection system which sits above the driver’s head and was introduced in 2018 – played a prominent role in the Frenchman’s remarkable survival.
Grosjean had been sceptical about the introduction of the halo, but on Sunday night, with both his hands in bandages and tubes monitoring his vital statistics, he said: “I wasn’t for the halo 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.”
Formula One’s governing body, the FIA, will launch an investigation into the accident, with question marks over how Grosjean’s car penetrated a steel barrier, broke in two, and why it caught alight.
FIA race director Michael Masi warned on Sunday that the findings of the investigation could take several months.
“I would hate to speculate on why the car burst into flames,” said Australian Masi.
It is a stark reminder that this is a dangerous sport.
“We will perform a complete investigation from start to finish. It will take weeks, if not months, to look at every single aspect of what happened.”
Lewis Hamilton won Sunday’s race to claim the 11th victory of his world championship winning campaign.
“I am just so grateful the halo worked and the barrier didn’t slice Romain’s head off,” said the Briton. “It could have been so much worse.
“It is a stark reminder that this is a dangerous sport.
“I would be lying if I was to say no, I don’t think about my future when I see an accident like that.
“I have been racing 27 years and I was nine when I saw a kid die on the same day I won a race.
“I have always been aware of the dangers and risks that I take and when I get later in life I question it more than perhaps I did when I was in my early 20s.
“This crash was huge and the safety reminds us of the great job that has been done but more needs to be done, so, as a sport, we will continue to work on it.”