Racing Article

Grosjean Crash Causes Formula One to Look in the Mirror

Grosjean Crash Causes Formula One to Look in the Mirror Photo: TT
Grosjean Crash Causes Formula One to Look in the Mirror

Although everybody in Formula One was relieved when Romain Grosjean escaped from his horror crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday relatively unscathed, some serious questions have begun to be raised about the accident.

And whilst the tone of F1 organisers was initially self-congratulatory, pointing to the enormous improvements in safety standards from twenty or even ten years ago, there are now deeper concerns that lessons need to be learned from what happened.

In the first place, why did the barrier into which he crashed split? Barriers are designed to withstand then impact and the energy of a car hitting them, but with the barrier splitting as it did, Grosjean would have been killed had it not been for the titanium halo round the cockpit of the car.

Then there are major issues around why the fuel tank ruptured. The incident happened at the start of the race when his Haas car would have had almost a full 100 kg of fuel in the car, but modern cars are designed in such a way that even with the biggest shunts, the fuel tank should remain intact.

There is also the fact that the car sheered in half something that some experts thought was impossible.

And last and not least, were the safety standards at the track as good as they ought to have been? The marshals and the medical team helped him out, but he was still engulfed in the flames for almost 20 seconds and, had he been knocked unconscious, the outcome might have been vastly different.

Certainly, the incident might come as a wake-up call to the current crop of drives on the grid who have grown-up in an era where people can have a big accident and still walk away afterwards.

That was not always the case in a sport where two or three used to lose their lives every year.

They have now been reminded that what they are doing is extremely dangerous, and that however safe the sport is now, more can always be done.

Grosjean himself will sit out next weekends Sakhir Grand Prix at the same venue (although on a different circuit). Although he is recovering well, it has been decided he is not in the right frame of mind to compete.

Instead Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi will make his F1 debut as his replacement.

Suneer chowdhary
Sports Pundit staff writer @suneerchowdhary
ICC-accredited cricket journalist, covers Team India through their cricketing journey around the world

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