Haas make fuel hatch changes following Grosjean’s fireball crash

2021 F1 season

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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner confirmed the team has made changes to the design of its fuel hatch as a result of the fire which occurred when Romain Grosjean crashed in last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

Grosjean suffered burns in the fire which erupted when he hit a barrier at the exit of turn three on the first lap of the race.

As RaceFans revealed last month, examination of how Grosjean’s car behaved in the crash has led some teams to make changes to the fuel hatch and headrest.

Steiner explained the changes Haas has made in response to a question from RaceFans today.

“I think the biggest one is the fuel hatch cannot be attached to the chassis anymore,” he said. “And we are working on the headrest to make it smaller. The headrest is still there, but in parts, so it cannot get stuck there when it comes off.”

Haas is believed to be one of several teams which have altered their fuel hatches, despite the regulations defining their construction remaining unchanged.

“We changed because we think it is better to do it a different way,” he said. “You always learn out of these situations.

“Everything was within the regulations of what happened. There was nothing wrong with our car. It was just that it never happened before. What happened was a very strange incident, to rip off half of the chassis at the back.

“If there is a better solution we should try to adapt them all the time, you always need to stay up with the times.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 4 comments on “Haas make fuel hatch changes following Grosjean’s fireball crash”

    1. Yeah, great to read teams adapting to new info about safety so quickly, changing it now they have a better idea what’s not great and what might be improved there, even when most of the car remains unchanged for them from what Steiner said before.

    2. Martin Elliott
      4th March 2021, 15:09

      So before the Accident Inquiry & Panel Reports are published (if at all) (JB took 6 weeks), we are being drip fed individual engineering changes addressing IMMEDIATE CAUSES of hazards being realised.

      But where are all the FACTS (Inquiry) and chain of events to ROOT CAUSES (Panel)? Things like why was an 80s spec barrier on the track which failed to even perform as designed. Is the car designed for a level of shear force and to fail (split in half) as it did?

      Not that even the recommendations of a Panel Report are even responded to by FIA in public. Look at the JB Panel Summary (the full report was not published). Easy things like safety car and flag procedures were reviewed and revised. Things like Risk Assessment of possible chains of events that defeat protection systems or even specific systems links (torque & brakes), no follow up published.

      1. Martin, the FIA did release some preliminary findings though (see article on this site about a while back). These changes result from that. Not sure what your issue with that is.

        Since the things these teams changed are all things that have to be done during the design of the car (and seem quite obvious) doesn’t it make sense that the FIA share them with the teams and make sure that they are changed right away, while the FIA looks into the more complicated factors and finish the complete risk assessment etc?

        As for the rear breaking off – I think the FIA already confirmed that IS a designed thing that is part of the safety concept shortly after the incident.

      2. The survival cell did not fail or split in half, the engine split from the safety cell as it is designed to do at the 6 bolts that connect the PU to the safety cell. The fireball was created because the fuel hatch became dislodged from the safety cell, thus they are redesigning that part. All of this was clear from the accident footage.

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