AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER
FORMULA One driver Romain Grosjean, who walked away out of flames from a high speed crash which left his car exploded on impact and was torn in half, has reassured the sports’ fans that he is doing alright.
Grosjean, who drives for Haas, sustained burns to his hands and spent the night in hospital after a first lap accident which forced the race to be delayed by 45 minutes.
In a video shot at his hospital bed at the Bahrain Defence Force Hospital, Grosjean said: “Hello everyone. Just wanted to say I’m okay. [Uhmm] well sort of okay. Thank you very much for all the messages. I mean I wasn’t for the Halo (a safety feature introduced to protect drivers), some years ago but I think it’s the greatest thing that we brought to Formula One, and without it I wouldn’t be able to speak to you today. Thanks to all the medical staff at the circuit and at the hospital. Hopefully I can write you quite soon some messages and tell you how it’s going.”
Grosjean was rushed in a helicopter to hospital after he survived a near-fatal high speed horrific crash at the start of the F1 race in Bahrain.
Shock waves ran through the paddock as F1 fans and drivers witnessed Grosjean drive at high speed into a safety barrier and his car exploded into a ball of fire. FIA safety officers, who traditionally drive behind the cars in the first lap, were the first on scene and helped drag Grosjean out of the car, which had broken into two.
There was a round of applause as driver and technical teams were informed that Grosjean was out of the car and not in danger.
The race was delayed by 45 minutes to allow the wreckage of Grosjean’s car to be retrieved and new safety barriers to be erected. Commentators said the FIA’s new safety measures, which included the introduction of a halo, probably saved Grosjean’s life.
The last big accident on an F1 track was in 2014 at the Suzuka circuit when Marussia driver Jules Bianchi crashed and died later in hospital from his injuries.
Bianchi’s death was the first since the accident that claimed the life of Brazilian F1 star Ayrton Senna at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994.
World champion Lewis Hamilton reacted: “I’m so grateful Romain is safe. Wow… 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. Thankful to the FIA for the massive strides we’ve taken for Romain to walk away from that safely”
Haas’ Team Principal Guenther Steiner said: “Romain is doing okay, I don’t want to make a medical comment but he had light burns on his hands and ankles. Obviously he’s shaken… I want to thank the rescue crews who are very quick. The marshalls and FIA people they did a great job, it was scary”
That was not the end of the drama.
After the race restarted, Racing Point’s Lance Stroll’s race was turned upside down, literally, when Dannil Kyvat, from Alpha Tauri drove into him in the 7th lap. Stroll’s car flipped, marking the end of his race. Kyvat was docked 10 seconds for the error.