Romain Grosjean crash, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

I’d wish my Bahrain crash on no one but it also made my life better – Grosjean

2021 F1 season

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Romain Grosjean has described how he came to terms with his brush with death in his fiery Bahrain Grand Prix crash, and the positive effects it has had for his life.

The former Formula 1 driver still carries the burns to his left hand from the moment his Haas exploded into flames when he crashed on the first lap of the race. He was initially trapped in his burning car and feared for his life. It took him 28 second to escape the blaze.

Five months on from the crash, and following his return to racing in IndyCar, Grosjean says the traumatic experience has had some upsides.

“Obviously, it’s a big thing in my life but I must say I’m very happy nowadays,” he told the BBC. “That experience was a tough one, I don’t wish anyone to go through that, but also made my life better.”

Report: Mercedes confirm plans for Grosjean’s first F1 test since Bahrain crash
Two days after the crash, Grosjean began therapy to come to terms with what he had gone through.

“I worked very quickly after the crash, Tuesday night I think it was in Bahrain, with my psychologist. We went through different things because you can’t leave an experience like this without having some consequences. But we worked through all of the phases that were a bit difficult at the time.”

Grosjean returned to the cockpit in an IndyCar test in February, and started his first race in the series for Coyne/Rick Ware last month.

“When I jumped back in a racing car, things felt pretty normal,” he said. “I felt [at] home, even though it was a different car.

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“Then the big question was how the first race was going to be when I was restarting the season in IndyCar. And actually it went really well and since then I feel good in a race car.

Romain Grosjean, Coyne, IndyCar, Barber Motorsport Park, 2021
Report: Palou starts IndyCar season with first win, Grosjean 10th on debut
“It is my passion, it is my life. And I guess it’s also made [me the] dad that I am because I live what I like to live. Really we’ve done great work with the psychologist. The first couple of weeks were a bit tricky, but after that, things really got smooth and as I say, I’m happy.”

To escape from his burning car, Grosjean had to place his gloved hands into the fire, sustaining serious burns which he is still recovering from.

“The right-hand side is absolutely perfect, I just need to avoid the sun for a couple of years,” Grosjean explained.

“The left hand is still quite red. It is not pretty. It’s not very comfortable. But with creaming every hour or so and some treatment and a bit of work through the day, actually it works very well.

“The most important thing is that I can play with my kids, I can cuddle them, and also I can drive a racing car.”

Grosjean said his decision to resume his racing career gave him a target to aim for in his physical recovery from the crash.

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“I always I think a sportsman needs a target to come back from injury. And for me, 31st of January was kind of the date where I wanted to be able to use my hands properly, and my left thumb with the ligament issues, I had to go to surgery for the ligament.

Grosjean’s burned left hand is “still not very comfortable”
“But I always put it that as a date because I knew in February I wanted to go and drive the IndyCar. So for me it was a way to speed up the process, to keep doing the rehab and to push my body to heal faster.”

His injuries prevented Grosjean from being able to participate in the final two races of last season, which were due to be his final appearances in Formula 1. Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff has therefore offered him the opportunity to drive one of their cars, which he will do on two days at Paul Ricard in June, in between his IndyCar races at Road America and Mid-Ohio.

“It will be a very, very special day,” he said. “The first time would be at the French Grand Prix, 27th of June, for a few laps in front of my home crowd. It’s great to see that even with Covid, the French Grand Prix is able to get few fans. So that’s going to be a good way to say goodbye to my fans.

“Then on Tuesday after that we’ve got a full day of testing. That one is more like for me to enjoy a full day in the car, obviously give as much feedback as I can to the engineers and work around it. But it’s just going to be a beautiful experience and I’m very lucky to have that because that is very rare in Formula 1.”

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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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  • 9 comments on “I’d wish my Bahrain crash on no one but it also made my life better – Grosjean”

    1. Good on him. Grateful for what he has, and a public appreciation of what’s most important for him in life: his family first, and then racing cars.

      1. @gabf1 I actually see it as the other way around. Racing then family. Otherwise he would give up racing, find a simple & safe line of work, near to home, his family etc.

        I’m not criticising him for it, it’s who he is and it’s who his partner fell in love with. But racing must always come first…

        1. Yeah, fair point @psynrg. I saw it differently but you raise a good counter argument.

    2. Glad he survived relatively unscathe and glad he is happy. It is easy to forget how dangerous the sport is, but also him surviving such a crash is also a testament to how far the safety tech has come, even if the risk and danger will always be there.

    3. Romain is doing a helluva job in IndyCar! We’re very happy to have him. He’s commented already, how nice the fans are and how cordial and literally helpful the entire IndyCar paddock is, to him.

    4. The best thing he did to try to forget and move on from the accident was to join IndyCar. Good luck with the rest of the season.

    5. The fact the burns on his hand still prove troublesome makes you comprehend what a feat it was for Lauda to come back after getting burned.

      Especially when you consider the probable improved treatment of burn wounds.

    6. No matter what you think of Grosjean the racer, I think the entire racing world thought we were watching someone burn to death in front of our eyes. The fact he escaped with his life is an unfortunate testament to those who came before him and lost their lives. Let us never forget that safety is a never-ending struggle versus an uncaring world.

    7. The thing I find interesting is how this tragedy turned miracle has exposed Romain as a thoughtful, empathetic caring human being with a lot of common sense.
      Sato was bad-mouthed in F1 by some of the smaller-minded people and he ended up winning the Indy 500, twice! I hope Romain manages the same goal. I’d rather see him do that than some arrogant, overrated egotist like spoon-fed Max that can’t figure out how to keep his car legally on the track.

    Comments are closed.