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Grosjean wants more to be learnt about Bahrain crash

Daniel Herrero

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Tuesday 29th December, 2020 - 9:08am

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Romain Grosjean is helped to an ambulance following his crash pic: Haas F1 Team Twitter

Romain Grosjean believes that there is more to be learnt about his horrifying Bahrain crash, particularly how it was that he did not lose consciousness with the impact.

Grosjean escaped the fiery wreck with little more than burns to his hands despite a 53G hit with the armco fence which caused his Haas to split into two.

While grateful to live to tell his tale, he highlighted just how critical it was to his survival that he was not knocked out by the impact.

Speaking in a promotional piece for brain technology company MindMaze, the 34-year-old called for further research and/or monitoring on the effect of such crashes on the head.

“In every incident in motorsport, you learn a lot,” said Grosjean.

“Luckily in my case, I’m alive, I remember everything and there are many grey areas, questions, that have been answered by my accident. And the next big step to me is to understand what’s happening in the helmet, the brain.

“Physically we’ve seen that I came out of the car intact with, yes, a bit of burning on my hands and we can improve safety on the gloves that’s for sure. That’s going to be a step.

“But also, what’s happening in the brain of the driver? With MindDrive, I believe in my accident, we would have understood what was the interaction between my brain, my helmet, the headrest, and why I didn’t lose consciousness.

“In a 60G impact, you should lose consciousness, even for a few seconds. You shouldn’t be as aware as I was, and that saved my life.

“But I would like us to understand, with sensors on the brain when there’s an incident, what can we do better on the helmet and headrests and safety so the driver, even with big impacts, stays conscious for whatever work he has to do (to escape).”

The halo was widely credited with playing a significant role in saving Grosjean’s life, given the cockpit penetrated the fence.

The Frenchman was among those who were opposed to its introduction in 2018 but conceded after the crash that it is a vital safety feature of modern Formula 1 cars.

He also noted the importance of the crash structure and fireproofing which is built into the driver’s garments.

“It was terrible to live and that I wish no one to live,” remarked Grosjean.

“But I must say I was in good spirits, the pain wasn’t too bad and I was well aware of what I escaped. Initially, for the first few days, it was just focusing on trying to recover to race in Abu Dhabi.

“Without the halo – and it’s not completely big news that I was completely against the halo when it came into Formula 1 – without that I wouldn’t be here to talk to you.

“I think that was one of the biggest safety measures brought in the last few years.

“Also, the overalls this year, the regulation has been changed for fire resistance and brought up by 10 seconds. The regulations says 20 seconds, I stayed 28 seconds in the flames, escaping with minor burns on my right hand, and a bit more severe, but nothing too bad, on my left hand.

“And the chassis – the strength of the chassis is coming up every year, and it stayed in one piece, and the monocoque protected me. I was still able to escape and to get out of the flames.

“If the chassis would have been broken, you know my legs would have been gone, broken, whatever, I wouldn’t have been able to stand up and walk out.

“I think there are many things we learn from an incident. And in my case, we are lucky that I am alive, that I can talk and that I remember everything.

“I’m not sure it’s a good thing for me, but I do remember everything and I believe some grey areas from safety in motorsport already have been kind of understood, and I see more.”

F1 has used biometric gloves, which measure a driver’s pulse and blood oxygen levels, to provide information for crash recovery since 2018.

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