The severity of Romain Grosjean‘s fiery crash in the Bahrain Grand Prix was a consequence of multiple factors, the designer of the circuit believes.
His car was torn in half and exploded into flames, but Grosjean managed to free himself from the wreckage. He was left with burned hands which prevented him from contesting the final two rounds of the season.
The crash occured after Grosjean’s car made contact with Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTauri. Hermann Tilke, who created the Bahrain International Circuit, told Der Standard the crash was so severe because Grosjean hit the barrier at an angle steep enough not to be deflected by it.
“At some point everything will break if the force is great enough,” Tilke explained. “Several factors came together.
“The accident happened on a straight, where the run-off zones are narrower and the crash barriers are parallel to the track. The angle of impact was 90 degrees. If it had been sharper, the car would have scraped along the guardrail and drained the energy. 53G acted on Grosjean, an incredible amount.”
The FIA is investigating the crash and intends to publish its findings early next year. Tilke said careful lessons will need to be learned about possible safety improvements
“With Grosjean’s angle of impact, it would have been better if there had been a force retarder in front of the guardrail, for instance a stack of tyres,” said Tilke. “In other impacts, however, this could be counterproductive because the car can get caught in them.
“Everything has advantages and disadvantages, you have to be careful not to worsen other scenarios. For example: if you drive a car, buckle up, because you know that the seat belt will protect you in an accident. In 0.001% of accidents, however, it could be better not to wear a seat belt. But you won’t say: ‘Then I won’t buckle up again.’
“The FIA will be investigating the incident closely. The system worked for decades. Such an accident happened for the first time in this form.”
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
2020 F1 season
- Bottas vs Rosberg: Hamilton’s Mercedes team mates compared after 78 races each
- F1 revenues fell by $877 million in Covid-struck 2020 season
- Hamilton and Mercedes finally announce new deal for 2021 season
- F1 audience figures “strong” in 2020 despite dip in television viewers
- 2020 F1 driver rankings #1: Lewis Hamilton