Romain Grosjean has praised F1’s introduction of the halo in 2018, saying it saved his life in a dramatic crash that split his car in two and burst his Haas into flames at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
In a post on Instagram, the Frenchman said he is “sort of OK” and admitted that the safety system - a three-pronged titanium bar which sits above a driver’s head - played a big part in him walking away largely unscathed.
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.
Grosjean to test Hamilton's 2019 Mercedes at French GP circuit
The Haas F1 team provided an update this morning on Grosjean, saying he is likely to be discharged from hospital tomorrow (Tuesday 1 December) and that treatment on burns sustained to the back of both his hands is going well.
Grosjean’s car was estimated to be travelling at 221 kmh (137 mph) with a force of 53G when it crashed into the barriers at Sakhir following a collision with AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat. The Haas was on fire for almost 30 seconds before the Frenchman was able to jump out to safety, suffering minor injuries.
Medical car driver Alan van der Merwe was one of the first on the scene and told formula1.com: “Romain did a huge amount.
The fact that he was able to get out of that himself partway, the fact that his shoe came off and just all of these small things; if one of those things changed, it could have been a very different outcome.
"All the teamwork, all the prep, feels worthwhile.”
Fires like the one witnessed in Bahrain are not common in modern-day F1 and FIA race director Michael Masi says it may take some time before they find out the reason for the blaze.
“I would hate to speculate on why the car burst into flames,” he said.
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.
World champion Lewis Hamilton, who won the race, said on Twitter that the incident is a reminder of the dangers of F1: “I'm so grateful Romain is safe. Wow... the risk we take is no joke, for those of you out there that forget that we put our life on the line for this sport and for what we love to do. Thankful to the FIA for the massive strides we've taken for Romain to walk away from that safely”
Meanwhile, Haas have confirmed that Brazilian driver Pietro Fittipaldi will step in for Grosjean and make his F1 debut at the Sakhir Grand Prix, which takes place at the same venue in Bahrain, but over a different circuit.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Grosjean to sit out Abu Dhabi GP as recovery continues
Bahrain Grand Prix
FIA probes Grosjean's crash as track changes made