Turn three barrier, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

Tyre barrier added at Grosjean crash scene for Sakhir Grand Prix

2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

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The barrier Romain Grosjean hit in his spectacular crash during Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix has been changed for this weekend’s second race at the circuit.

Formula 1 will use the shorter Outer circuit layout for the Sakhir Grand Prix. The decision to use the shorter track was taken months prior to Grosjean crash, and the course includes the same corner sequence he crashed at on Sunday.

Grosjean’s Haas struck a metal guardrail on the inside of the circuit when he left the track at the exit of turn three on the first lap of the race. The Haas caused huge damage to the barrier, splitting it in two. Several drivers raised questions over the performance of the barrier.

The guardrail was replaced with temporary concrete blocks before the race was restarted. The guardrail has now been rebuilt but to improve safety at the corner two rows of tyres wrapped in a conveyor belt have been added in front of it.

Romain Grosjean crash, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Grosjean’s car split the barrier in Sunday’s crash
Other changes have been made at turn nine, which is a long right-hander known as turn 13 on the usual Bahrain grand prix track, but a faster kink on the Outer circuit. A kerb on the right-hand side approaching the corner has been removed to reduce the risk of cars being launched into the air if they run over it.

A tyre barrier on the right-hand side approaching turn nine has also been extended and increased in size, becoming four rows deep.

The FIA announced today it has begun its full investigation into Grosjean’s crash and expects to publish its findings late next month.

Bahrain Outer Circuit
Bahrain Outer Circuit

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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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21 comments on “Tyre barrier added at Grosjean crash scene for Sakhir Grand Prix”

  1. Well, seems they do react quickly to adress similar situations potentially leading to issues (although it is off course more likely that any incident would be a completely different thing going wrong).

    Lets see what the longer term changes are going to be

    1. I don’t want to sound like a motorboat (but but but), but I only wonder what happens to a driver when the car is in flames and the cockpit is stuck under those tyres.

      1. The point of the tyre barrier would be a more gentle deceleration (slowing down) “Ashtag”, which should prevent the fuel being thrown out and blowing up like it did here in the first place.

        With the Halo, arguably the driver would have less chance of getting buried in the tyre barriers than without it. But I am sure that this is only a temporary solution – it can be done immediately, while other solutions take time to study their exact effects and possible negatives.

      2. A tyre barrel would have either reduced the speed of which the car struck the barrier or prevented it from doing so entirely, making it unlikely to penetrate the barrier so it wouldn’t be stuck and forced to ‘pendulum’ into a position where the rear would be torn off.
        It’s not a long term solution but it greatly reduces the chances of such an outcome if a car hit that barrier again.

  2. Sounds like they are trying the best they can. I hope they are adding tyre barriers in front of all those angled areas where recovery vehicles exit, I’m not sure they are from reading the article but maybe Grosjean’s barrier is a particularly bad case. Definitely hoping some more positive outcomes can come from the incident, it does seem that Masi to his credit is taking this seriously – unlike the SC shunt at Mugello where he seemed to blame the drivers completely instead of acknowledging the procedures could be improved.

    1. @john-h Not sure what else they can do at the moment to be honest. An F1 car was never expected to be anyway near that barrier in the first place and that scenario can be applied to any other part of the track (or any other track) where armco is installed so the safety first argument will be to put tyres everywhere. I am not convinced that is practical even in the long-term and certainly not with 4 days notice.

      No-one knows at the moment if the angle or speed of impact (or any other factor) was the primary factor in the barrier coming apart. Until that is known it is difficult to come up proactively with anything that is definitively better.

      1. Actually @chimaera2003 I’m talking about those areas where the barrier is not parallel to the track, i.e. where there is a recovery vehicle access point. I’m not talking about the whole circuit, of course that would be ridiculous.
        The same is with Kimi’s accident at Silverstone around the bridge abutments – clearly there are areas of the barriers that do not run parallel to the straight and those are the areas I am talking about, which are usually quite short portions.

    2. @john-h Indeed! And I guess tyres, as well as tecpro can only be used when far from the track. Tyres or cars bouncing back towards the racing line is equally a problem. Maldonado’s crash at Monaco in 2013 shows tecpro limits, and improving racetracks’ security is probably not as simple as it looks.

  3. Gavin Campbell
    3rd December 2020, 11:00

    I think this is a must for Armco that is angled in towards the track like the one Grosjean hit. Armco does a good job generally of dissapating energy down the barrier – which is why they are use to line straights with. There is some concern with Formula cars splitting the barrier but again it only split (and not all the way) with a huge direct impact in Grosjeans crash. Normally with a Armco lined straight its impossible to hit it perpendicular (even if you do your direction of travel is still down the barrier – think those funny looking spins where the nose gets wiped).

    We have seen a large number of Armco strikes down the years but these are all side/along the barrier impacts – thankfully F1 got away with one here but I think all protruding Armco barriers will need this or similar treatment.

    1. It got split by the halo by the look of it. A lot of energy is dissipated. I guess there is an issue if it cuts a hole through it but not as wide as the drivers head

      1. The nose had to go through the barrier before the halo could break it

  4. With how close that barrier to the track is, I hope it wouldn’t cause drivers to ricochet back onto the track into oncoming traffic.

  5. RocketTankski
    3rd December 2020, 11:56

    Removing car-launching ramps and putting something soft in front of steel barriers. These sound like good ideas for safety.

  6. Late next month as in late-January?

  7. I was hoping to see them move back the barriers a few meters, I didn’t think there was room for the tyres hence why there were none on that access road rail yet there was on the other side of the road.
    Cars get too close to the edge of the race track there, might have just closed that access road or move back the barriers.

    1. On short notice that simply isn’t possible as it would require foundations, roads and the next barrier moving as well to maintain the access point.

  8. I thought that tyre barriers were meant to be chained together ??

    1. I agree, I think the tyres should be tethered together, but then I think the tyres should have more than two layers and be separated from the Armco barrier by several metres as well. Anyway, we’ve got two layers of untethered tyres beside the Armco barrier. I’m guessing the Race Director has approved the current setup.

  9. A good idea, at last.

  10. I fear a Panis-Motreal style accident which could turn out worse…

  11. Here’s another opinion. The Armco barrier was not properly supported from the back side or laterally. The supports were insubstantial and not appropriate to keep the structure in one piece. There is no valid reason that the Armco separated like it did.

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