Romain Grosjean crash, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

Brawn: ‘Absolutely no doubt Halo saved Grosjean’s life’

2020 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Formula 1 motorsport director Ross Brawn says the Halo saved Romain Grosjean in his fearsome crash at the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

However Brawn said the sport must closely examine why his car caught fire and was able to split the barrier into two.

“Undoubtedly we’ve got to do a very deep analysis of all the events that occurred because there are a number of things that shouldn’t have happened,” said Brawn. “The fire is worrying, the split in the barrier is worrying. I think the positive is the safety of the car. That’s what got us through today.”

Brawn was particularly concerned to see the barrier Grosjean hit split in two. “[That] was a classic problem many years ago,” he said. “Normally it resulted in a fatality.

Romain Grosjean crash, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Grosjean’s crash caused a huge fire
“There’s absolutely no doubt the Halo was the factor that saved the day and saved Romain. And I think all the team behind it need crediting for forcing it through.

“If you recall there was quite a lot of controversy at the time about introducing it and I don’t think anyone now, especially after today can doubt the validity of that and the value of it. So hats off to everyone involved because it was a life saver-today.”

Grosjean struck the barrier with a force of 53G. “We’ve got to look at how everything failed, because everything’s designed to fail in progression, but a crash that catastrophic obviously things failed in an unpredicted way,” said Brawn.

Brawn suspects the fire was caused by a broken fuel line. “We had a fuel fire which is something that we haven’t had for a very long time,” he said. “Fuel cells are incredibly strong. I suspect that came from a ruptured connection

“I honestly don’t know, I think we need to look at it. But surprisingly, it looked a big fire, but those cars are carrying 100 kilos of fuel at that stage. I think if 100 kilos had gone up we would have had a massive fire. For me that was a fire of a few kilos of fuel, not 100 kilos.”

Grosjean struck an Armco barrier. It was replaced with a solid barrier in the break before the race was restarted. Formula 1 is due to race on the same circuit again next week, and Brawn said the crash structures will be carefully checked before then.

“It’s a barrier which would be very unusual to hit in the way that Romain hit that barrier,” he explained. “For sure there will be some very careful scrutiny between now and the next race. Any information we can gather between now and the next race we will do so. And I’m sure any action that needs to be taken will be done.

“But it’s something we haven’t seen for a very long time. I think the safety standards at the circuits are exceptional but today we saw something we didn’t predict.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “Brawn: ‘Absolutely no doubt Halo saved Grosjean’s life’”

  1. Definitely time for some analysis. Are the barriers not compatible with the current cars? Why did the car split in half? And one another thing I have never seen: the metal barrier was replaced with concrete blocks. I’d like to find some info that the FIA safety protocols allow this; as previously with damage to barriers or Tecpro they have been replaced with exactly the same specifications.

    1. @kaiie I thought that odd also, I’ve never seen a track repaired with a substitute material. Initially I couldn’t understand why the concrete blocks were there, I assumed they were cutting the barrier to weld new pieces in.

    2. I dont see the car breaking in half as a failure. I suspect it is even a feature – it helps to dissipate energy. (It seems to be a common occurence on “civilian” supercars accidents.) I mean, the survival cell is expected to detach from the main mass component of the car, so the driver do not go spinning with the engine.

    3. Obviously impossible to replace the metal barrier right there and then. I think concrete blocks are as safe (if not more) as the metal barriers so I don’t think the safety was compromised compared to the beginning of the race.

  2. Grosjean struck the barrier with a force of 53G.

    53G! I just can’t comprehend that. Its just insane. I do hope he doesn’t develop any complications overnight.

    1. Hadn’t really thought about rupture of internal organs up until now. Fingers crossed he doesn’t develop anything serious.

    2. @eurobrun Indeed! Like Juan Manuel Correa’s 70G crash in Spa. He suffered heavy trauma afterwards, and doctors explained they didn’t even know what to expect because a normal person wouldn’t survive and they don’t have any data.

      Hopefully he’s fine, seeing him climbing out of the car was such a relief and fortunately he didn’t get knocked unconscious.

    3. Kubica in Montreal 2007 and other crashes have had huge impacts and i always wonder how f1 drivers often dont pass out, but i think they should be forced to have a mandatory rest of several weeks after such huge g force impacts.

  3. Nik (@nickelodeon81)
    29th November 2020, 18:47

    Halo critics: shut up or go away and watch golf.

    F1 is not for you.

    1. Agree with that one.

  4. The driver’s survival cell and cockpit plus halo saved Grosjean’s life in the half of his car after it crashed. I can’t believe he climbed out of the fire. These are lifesavers.

  5. Did this accident kill aeroscreen? I mean, the aeroscreen would have impeded the route Grosjean took today to escape.
    Btw, I didnt like how Stroll had to crawl to get out of the car.

  6. Sensible words from Brawn here. The circuit is definitely up to F1 standards, the question is whether the standards are high enough.

  7. What Brawn is saying is probably not based on evidence – I guess it’s too early for that. But honestly, I’m happy as hell and so is probably Grosjean that the halo was on his car. I hope this will put to rest all the lame jokes about the halo bearing the weight of a double-decker. 53G for f*s sake! If the halo saved even one life then it was absolutely worth it. Hope there are no complications overnight.

  8. It’s so scary to imagine that there were multiple ways that Romain could’ve lost his life yesterday. I am glad he was ok and more glad that he’s out of F1. The guy is a real danger when it comes to first lap incidents. I guess a certain Australian driver’s assessment in Japan 2012 still holds true.

    I am glad I am writing with a relief that he’s safe instead of paying him a tribute.

    What an irony…the driver known to be a mess in first laps ended his F1 career in a similar fashion.

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