Bahrain Grand Prix stopped on first lap as Grosjean survives horror crash

2020 Bahrain Grand Prix

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The Bahrain Grand Prix has been red-flagged and stopped on the first lap of the race after Romain Grosjean suffered an appalling crash within seconds of the start.

The Haas driver’s car exploded when he hit a barrier nose-first at the exit of turn three. Grosjean had made contact with Daniil Kvyat at the exit of the corner. Grosjean’s car was travelling at 221kph prior to the moment of impact and is believed to have struck the barrier with a force of 53G.

The impact split the car in two and the car, carrying a full race load of fuel, caught fire. Grosjean freed himself from the car and emerged from a fireball 28 seconds after the initial impact. Marshals and safety officials had already arrived on the scene and begun extinguishing the fire.

The team confirmed in a statement Grosjean has “some minor burns on his hands and ankles but otherwise he is okay.” The Haas driver is being taken to BDF Military Hospital by helicopter with a suspected rib fracture.

The FIA said in a statement that Grosjean was “immediately attended to by emergency and medical crews”. He “self-extricated” from the crash scene and “was conscious at all times”.

The crash caused extensive damage to the barriers. The race was eventually restarted over and hour and a half later.

Lewis Hamilton, who was ahead of the scene at the time of the crash, said on social media he is “so grateful Romain is safe.”

“The risk we take is no joke for those of you out there that forget that we put our life on the line for this sport and for what [we] love to do. This is a reminder to all.

“Thankful to the FIA for the massive strides we’ve taken for Romain to walk away from that safely.”

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Pictures: Grosjean’s Bahrain Grand Prix crash

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2020 Bahrain Grand Prix

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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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142 comments on “Bahrain Grand Prix stopped on first lap as Grosjean survives horror crash”

  1. Thank goodness he is okay.

    1. Coventry Climax
      29th November 2020, 19:29

      Physically maybe, but mentally is a different thing. I seriously think Romain should stop racing. The man is a threat to himself as well as others. The way he just cut to the right, just baffling. Not using mirrors? Isn’t he supposed to have a sixth sense as to where his fellow drivers are? Realise that moves like that have a very high potential of going wrong?
      I’ve done hanggliding for quite some time. Sometimes there were people coming into the sports that just didn’t have their brain-wiring correct, and had to be denied continuing for the sakes of themselves and their fellow pilots. Same with Romain. He’s had the Spa incident among quite a few others, and now this. He’s a nice guy, but he should persue a career in cooking, I’m afraid. Very glad to see he survived though.

      1. He is one of weakest drivers on the grid mentally, so maybe this is just the end of his racing career.
        I can’t see him going to Indycar after today.

        1. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
          29th November 2020, 20:20

          I wouldn’t blame him if he just gave up, family pressures must be pretty big by now- you don’t want to put them through something like that again.

        2. Unlike F1, dying in an Indy Car accident is always a serious threat. Not the place to be for someone with a history of crashes. So, he’d never do it.

      2. I don’t often comment on this site, but I totally agree with you. RG contributed to this accident, we are lucky there weren’t 2 cars in that fence.

        I’m glad he’s ok, but his choices on track are potentially fatal, both for himself and others. I would love to see him in dtm, ltmp, or tin tops.

  2. Thank god. It’s a miracle he survived that. And for whatever it’s worth, Halo critics silenced forever.

    1. lexusreliabilty?
      29th November 2020, 14:40

      +1. I will gladly admit I was one of them but purely for aesthetic reasons- but I never doubted the safety aspect of it all. I’m still shivering from that- car split in half.

    2. Indeed. I don’t want to think about what would have happened in 2017..

    3. Amen to that. If ever there were doubts about the effectiveness/importance of the halo, they should definitely be silenced now.

    4. For real. I thought it was going to be another Cevert Watkins Glen accident. Halo. A fast medical car. Survival cell. All of that learning brought to bear here. But for sure no halo and grosjean doesnt make it.

    5. Yep hands up I was one. 100% never saying anything again on it. That was a fatal otherwise.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        29th November 2020, 14:53


        1. Same, I wasn’t a fan initially, but I’ll put my hand up and say I’ve been proved wrong. So glad he’s okay.

          1. ditto… however… need Tecpro barriers all the way round the circuit… not just around corners.

      2. I think there are a lot who are thinking the same…. goes for me as well, as ugly as the halo is, glad it’s there

    6. I’m literally shaking after that. I can’t believe he survived.
      Can they even restart today?

    7. Most certainly saved the halo saved his life there. Silenced? No, the crash should never have happened, not only because of bad driving but that barrier has finally caused the crash it threaten to cause. Had the barrier been a tec pro or safer barrier then the halo would not been needed.
      The Spa revamp is proof the fia has realised the fia has gone backwards on safety. Back to using safer barriers and more gravel.
      I hope the crash was not caused by the battery, then the fia is in trouble again. I think I saw the battery on the cockpit side and batteries explode, like the fireball we have seen.
      Heavy fast cars, big battery bombs loads of fuel and poorly protected barriers should be problems of the past not new problems. Watkins ould have never allowed the current state of safety.

      1. correction the fire caused by the battery. Medical car did okay, I’m sure they saw nobody coming out of the car until Romain was almost off, Romain incredibly saved himself and the medics should not have sat Romain on the medical car, again the same mistake as in the f3 race, hopefully no broken verterbrae, straight to the gurney.
        credit where credit is due but there is so much to improve and mistakes not to repeat.

      2. @peartree Really? You’re sure that this was the batteries? Where’s your source?

        Ross Brawn was saying after the race that the resultant fire was a fuel fire and NOT the batteries! In fact throughout the entirety of the broadcast nothing was said about the fire being a battery fire!

        This was a freak accident! The medical car arrived on scene after 5 seconds and Grosjean was out of his car and over the barrier under his own steam 13 seconds later, so no worries there regarding most potentially serious injuries! This also happened halfway along the straight on the inside of the circuit, so the use of a standard barrier, as seen on just about all race circuits in similar areas.

        1. Coventry Climax
          29th November 2020, 19:35

          Battery exploding may have ignited the fuel, but so far, that’s just speculation.
          But if it was, don’t expect the FIA to ever admit to that, though.

        2. It was not the battery. The fuel cells are directly behind the driver and as we saw, the back of the car came off which will have ruptured the fuel cell. The biggest source of direct heat would be the hot engine not the battery. Stop making stuff up… Batteries are pretty safe in comparison to fuel tanks and red hot metal…

          The Barrier though is a major issue. It should not fail like that. It was not even a crash as crazy speed!

        3. @maddme Lee1 do your research and before accusing someone of making stuff up, fact check, search lithium-ion battery explosions.
          the fuelcell is undoubtedly intact, it is on the engine side, clear to see on the rear end of the car, not burned, no soot, no fire marks. The fuel cell is a carbon tub with a rubber bladder inside, only a fuel line was momentarily on fire, the blaze was on the back of the monocoque.
          Maddme I’m not sure the blast is from the battery but what Lee1 does not know is that batteries do explode one way, they do explode is after high impacts when the integrity is compromised and the anodes and catodes of the multiple layers short. you can see a battery on the monocoque side, it is heavily burned. This article mentions a 25 kg battery, there is also a 100 kg battery, don’t know whether that batt is the 25kg or the 100kg. Lithium-ion battery explosions fizz and make big fireballs and the flames die out very quickly as well. It could be fuel from the aforementioned 2-3 litre “collector” but certainly very little as otherwise it would have kept re-igniting.

      3. I do suspect that it will be worthwhile investigating the role of the lithium battery pack in the fire – even if the fuel system started it. Lithium batteries are known for the way they can burn and virtually explode.

      4. @maddme I have to agree with @peartree on the barrier.

        It was clear to see from the aerial footage that the wall directly opposite Grosjean’s crash site — which was also angled out for track access — was outfitted with tyre barriers. There’s a certain amount of complacency on the part of FIA and the circuit designers to decide to place them on that side and not on the one that Grosjean hit. Of course, they assumed that the tyres wouldn’t be necessary on the inside wall.

        Clearly, they assumed wrong.

        And really, the crash site was so far down the straightaway and the bend before it is so gentle that it wouldn’t really seem as if one side would be heavily favoured to see a crash while the other one wasn’t — there was no residual lateral load in the car at the point where Grosjean and Kvyat collided. Hopefully going forward, walls that are angled out like will never be fully-exposed Armco.

        1. @markzastrow I agree and it was an highly unlikely accident but often on that straight, cars run to the sand, rosberg vs Hamilton for instances, there have been more, that part sticks way too much, not that it would matter on this crash, just that someday that access barrier was going to feature a crash.

    8. Nope. Not a miracle. A huge amount of research and work. From Bandini to Bianchi, we learn from the worst incidents and Romain is alive today because of so many who are not.

      1. CoD right there.

        So much BS and “theories” spouted and the reality is exactly what @tommy-c says.

        This is the learning of all that have died and been injured in the sport and the proof they didn’t die in vain. Lessons have been learned and more will be learned today.

        1. That Marshall needs to watch the horrific video of what happened to Tom Pryce.

          1. @djdaveyp87 Yeah, I thought that too… both what it did to Tom Pryce and what was left of the Marshall…

      2. The miracle is the car didn’t stop with a piece of Armco over the top of the halo.
        Look at the last pic. The back of the seat and Armco right at the rear of it.
        30cm further forward and Grosjean would not have been able to climb out.

    9. For sure. I remember the endless discussions I and others had with the halo critics, with people downright arguing that “F1 should be unsafe” because that was part of the appeal of the sport. Proving once again that the last people one should listen to in F1 is its fandom.

      Both the Halo and Indy’s aeroscreen have already more than proven their worth and are up there with the safety cell and HANS system as the top 3 safety measures to ever be introduced in the sport. Big round of applause for the FIA for making it happen despite the criticism.

  3. lexusreliabilty?
    29th November 2020, 14:38

    Reminded me of Spa 2012. Chilling incident. Glad Romain is okay.

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      29th November 2020, 14:55

      It reminds me of Kubica in Canada, angle-wise, except instead of bouncing off concrete he pierced the armco

  4. When that fireball went up, I was absolutely convinced we were looking at a fatal accident. The way the car went in, the immediateness of the flames, it didn’t look good.

    I think we all slumped with relief to the same degree when they announced he was okay and showed him sat in the medical car concious and chatting with the medics.

    Absolutely horrifying, yet an absolute testament to how safety has come in the last few decades.

    1. Yes I thought it was fatal too.
      Not helped by how long it took them to put replays up.

      Now I just hope GRO has no long term injuries, but so happy to see him walk away from the scene.

      1. Henrik Møller Jørgensen
        29th November 2020, 17:40

        I was also convinced this was fatal: GRO had just hit 7th gear. Onboard from BOT and RAI tells me that happens around 260 km/h or 70 m/s. My math says, that if he decelerated from 60 m/s over the cause of 2 meters he took to the tune of a hundred G’s. That Hass to be wrong. Sainz came unscathed from 46 G in Sochi 2015 through.

        1. I’m surprised by all these people thinking it was fatal; yes, it was a bad accident, but f1 has made incredible strides in the last 20 years on safety measures, I’ve seen cars flipping over and over and over and the driver walk away unscathed, I was absolutely confident that as long as they’d come fast with the fire extinguishers he’d survive, however I got surprised he managed to jump out that soon.

          1. It only would have taken part of that barrier going under the halo or though the side of the car for it to be fatal, or for Grosjean to be trapped in the car.

            It was close and to think it wasn’t is being flippant.

          2. I think that speed of deceleration could easily knock you out, or at least dazed enough not to escape flames. The Armco could have easily trapped him in the cell with a raging inferno around him. Even a few breaths of that in your lungs could be fatal. Nope, I don’t agree.

      2. What???!!! OK so you get a job at FOM then and watch the footage, potentially of a man being decapitated/crushed and burnt to death. Sorry, but I’d be in no rush to watch that just so that if he’s OK I can show the world. We got word he amazingly still alive first and soon after we got the footage. I’m perfectly happy with how we got the footage.

        Are you one of those that slow down to see an accident as you drive past?

        1. I think you misunderstood him… or at least, I didn’t read it that way. I felt like it had to be bad because they were avoiding showing us the replays, NOT because I wanted to see any kind of carnage, but usually when they don’t show the replays it’s because something bad happened.

    2. @nikkit as you say, the immediateness of the flames was something that was a real shock, because that is something we’ve not seen for decades and I think stunned many into realising the violence of what happened.

      There will, no doubt, be a hard and long look at what happened and what we can learn, but for now I think most are just relieved that Grosjean’s come out of it with, thankfully, what seems like comparatively light injuries.

    3. I thought for sure he was done for. They delay replays in the event of a potentially deadly accident so they don’t live stream someone’s death. After 30 seconds in a chemical fire I’ll be amazed if he doesn’t have some kind of lung damage.

    4. Agreed – I immediately told my wife that nobody can get out of that alive. What a relief!

  5. What a fantastic effort by everyone involved in making this sport safe to a level that Romain walked away without any serious injury. This was by far the worst accident I have seen in 25 years of watching F1.

  6. Medical car drivers. Oh my god those guys had nerves of steel. I’m still trying to process what I just saw.

    1. There were the only ones on the scene in full fireproofs. Im sure they would have gone in, if the driver was unconscious.

      1. They ** were the only ones..

    2. When the medical car first arrived and saw the car had split, they first didn’t have any idea where the driver was. Not until they saw Grosjean moving did they know he was in the fire. I was greatly encouraged that they were willing to go towards the flames to extricate him is need be.

    3. I thought the medical car staff did well.

      But today it should be beyond obvious that the marshalls need more training. First man, trackside, did not know to pull pin from fire extinguisher. Professionals from medical car we’re helping him get the pin out to use the fire extinguisher. All Marshalls should have real hands-on fire extinguisher training.

      first man from the outside the barrier was so far back he was completely useless. It was good that he had the sense to come beside the fire where he could see the other responders, otherwise he would have gotten blasted with hot flames when the trackside fire extinguisher came on. But he was wasting his extinguisher spraying hopelessly from too far back. Hands-On training would have helped, and it might have helped his courage too.

      Finally the marshal one-track in front of Norris. Completely unacceptable.

      We see the engineering worked great today. The professionals in the safety car worked great. The track side marshals need some help.

      1. The marshal training does appear to need some rethinking. It’s been poor this year. Maybe covid had its way and we’ve had new marshals with less experience.

        However while medics are trained a huge amount, I’m sure they have seen their fair share of horrific scenes. The marshals less so, and if I was there, I’m not sure I’d be thinking straight having seen a car go through a barrier, separate in two in a ball of fire and not having a clue even if the driver is in one piece.

        1. @invisiblekid Exactly, the marshal may well have known how to work a fire extinguisher, but without specific and lengthy training for dealing with emergency and crisis situations, it’s difficult to blame anyone for freezing or forgetting how to do fairly simple things in the heat of the moment.

      2. @slotopen Yeah that was bad. When marshalling can mean the difference between life and death, you’d think they would at least know how to get a fire extinguisher going.

        The Sky team were even praising these Marshalls for being extra well trained, which begs the question what other tracks are like. Goodness.

      3. Well said. Very poor marshalling I thought – some of the marshalls appeared to be wearing flip flops. many of them were grossly overweight. The guy who ran across the track needs to be fired. Oh, he’s a volunteer… It raises the question of why a multi-billion dollar business that pays drivers millions per race cannot afford to properly train and equip marshalls. Relying on volunteers is bad enough, but relying on untrained and poorly-equipped volunteers is quite another.

  7. Not gonna complain about Halo after this year.

    1. You’re not the only one. After that crash with Leclerc at Belgium 2018, I never complained.

      1. Nah, Spa 2018 did absolutely no convincing to me at all, halo got hit cause of how to protrudes, helmet wouldn’t have been. IMO, of course. And no disrespect.

        Today though? Case closed. Oh my God.

        1. Case closed.

          Clearly is.