- Romain Grosjean’s car burst into flames after a horror crash at the Bahrain GP that split his vehicle in two
- The French driver smashed into a barrier at 140mph and the car exploded into a fireball in shocking scenes
- Grosjean was miraculously able to walk away from the crash and suffered burns and broken ribs
- Incredibly, just moments after the race restarted, there was another crash, leaving a car upside down
Haas’ Romain Grosjean has suffered one of the most dramatic accidents in modern F1 history when his F1 car exploded after smashing into a crash barrier and splitting in half during the Bahrain Grand Prix
Shocking images show the moment Grosjean manages to pull himself from the burning wreckage and jump to safety over the barrier that has been exposed to the flames for almost 30 seconds
Safety staff at the race track had to extinguish the huge flames from the blaze during the Grand Prix in Bahrain
The Frenchman’s car hit the wall at 53G and promptly burst into flames in sickening fashion
The charred remains of Grosjean’s vehicle were removed from around the track with a crane
Grosjean was helped my doctors into the back of an ambulance although he appeared to escape from the car without any serious injuries
After the race restarted, Belgian-Canadian driver Lance Stroll was involved in another crash, his car flipping upside down horrifically
Despite the shocking crash, Stroll was also able to walk away and is pictured he being helped into the medical car
Governing body FIA said Grosjean is stable but has suffered minor burns to his hands and ankles. He has since been taken by helicopter to a military hospital
The remains of Grosjean’s car, which broke into two after the crash, was cleared from the track
Grosjean was mercifully able to clamber out of the car and was helped into an ambulance
There were huge clouds of smoke billowing from the car as flamed erupted from the high speed crash
Grosjean, who was taken to the medical centre, suffered minor burns and also broken ribs
A delay of 45 minutes was expected and it was unclear whether the race would continue at all
The last fatal crash in F1 came in 2014 when French driver Jules Bianchi lost control of his car and smashed into a recovery vehicle in Japan
The rest of the drivers were sent back to the pits and had viewed the horror smash via replays
TV images showed the car on fire as marshals and emergency services flocked to the scene
Stewards attempt to clear the car of Haas’ Romain Grosjean from the track following the crash
The crash left a huge dent and hole in the side of the track as investigators turned up to inspect the damage
Grosjean escapes from the car as medical teams spray fire extinguishers at the car in their rescue effort
It was like a Hollywood stunt scene, too orange and too scary to be conjured other than from the wild imagination of fiction.
But, striking the Bahrain Grand Prix paddock dumb in an instant, Romain Grosjean’s Haas clipped Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTauri, hurtled off the track at 137mph, hit the barriers at 56G and bang, like a match on dynamite, it was ablaze, the flames lighting up the sky.
The TV cameras immediately cut away, never a good sign. Many feared the worst for the Frenchman, 34, whose black skid marks marked the spot he left the track on the third corner of the first lap.
When finally Grosjean was found to be alive, we saw that his car had split in two and the part in which Grosjean was sitting had penetrated the steel wall.
His ‘halo’ — the titanium and carbon device that protects a driver’s head — had bent the barrier and, seemingly, saved his life.
Yes, that is correct, the rear of the car was on the trackside; the front of it, containing Grosjean, lay the other side.
When the replays were shown, he was inside his smoking machine for some 25 seconds before, finally, he climbed out as rescuers arrived: marshals spraying fire extinguishers and the medical car zooming up from behind.
British medical delegate Dr Ian Roberts peered through the pyre for sight of Grosjean.
But as he was contemplating whether to go into the inferno, his ‘patient’ could be detected trying to climb over the barrier. Roberts put his right hand on Grosjean’s left arm to steady him as he made his leap to safety.
Alan van der Merwe, driving the medical car, sprayed foam on Grosjean and Roberts to stop the fire spreading.
Roberts takes up the story: ‘Arriving on the scene there was half the car pointing in the wrong direction and I thought where on earth is the rest? We saw a big gap in the Armco.
‘It looked like an oven. It was red with flame. There was a fire marshal rapidly on scene and that push of the extinguisher, the powder, pushed the flames back enough. Once Romain was high enough we could get him over the barrier and away.
‘But it was a very small window because as soon as the extinguisher powder went forward, the flames were coming back pretty soon afterwards.’
Grosjean, hobbling, put some distance between himself and the fireball, before being sat in the medical car and thence flown by helicopter to BDF Military Hospital, 10 miles north in West Riffa, with slight burns to his hands, which were bandaged last night.
It was a miracle of deliverance that nothing more serious was wrong in what now may turn out to have been the last grand prix of his life. Haas had already announced that he is leaving at the end of the season, which has two more races to run, here on another track next Sunday and in Abu Dhabi the following weekend.
Grosjean’s injuries may prevent his taking part in either, even if he has the mental fortitude to contemplate such a trial.
His wife Marion is known not to be keen on such a gamble, and yesterday’s unfolding horror may well have swung the family vote in her favour. He is a father of three, with sons Sacha, 7, Simon, 5 and daughter Camille, three next month. Marion had been due here yesterday but the Covid-testing regime presented too many obstacles and she instead watched from their Genava home.
John Watson, the former driver, knows about the horrors of fires at the workplaces. For he held the charred head of Niki Lauda in his lap in the moments after the Austrian came within seconds of being burned to death at the Nurburgring in 1976.
On Sunday night, Watson said of Grosjean: ‘Thank goodness someone up there loves him. That had death written all over it. He has had nine lives in the blink of an eye. My advice: retire. It is a wake-up call for the whole grid.’ Yes, such have been the advances in safety that it is easy to forget how perilous motor racing used to be.
The race was delayed for 90 minutes, until 18.35 local time, while the barrier was repaired with the help of a welder. Race director Michael Masi inspected the scene, scratching his head.
He will now form part of the investigation into the accident, looking at what caused the car to catch fire.
F1 managing director Ross Brawn said: ‘The fire was worrying, the barrier coming apart was worrying, but we can be happy with safety of the car. The halo saved Romain. There was controversy in including it but there can’t be any doubt now.’
Yes, the safety pioneers won. But the truth is written in capital letters on the entry badge everyone wears around their neck: ‘Motorsport is dangerous.’