MASSIVE crash at the Bahrain GP on Sunday. Easily the worst I’ve seen in my ~12 years following the sport. I was absolutely astonished to see Romain Grosjean leap from the inferno that was formerly his racecar.
So many aspects to this crash that harken back to fatal accidents of the past:
The angle of Grosjean’s car at the moment of collision brings to mind Ayrton Senna’s accident at Imola in 1994. As a direct result of this horrible incident, the FIA made a major push for increased head/neck restraint.
The way Grosjean’s car smashed through the Armco barrier would have surely caused massive trauma to his head, had the FIA not pushed forth the controversial “Halo” structure on all their sanctioned open-cockpit racers. This was a direct result of Jules Bianchi’s crash in 2014 at Suzuka circuit in Japan.
The flames that fully engulfed Grosjean’s car instantly upon impact bring to mind Nikki Lauda’s crash at the Nurburgring Nordschliefe in 1976. Major regulations were brought the bear on the sport in terms of fire protection apparel for drivers following this.
Although the car was completely ripped in two, only two of the tires escaped the wreck, with one landing mere feet from the incident. Spectators and drivers alike have been killed from flying tires in countless instances. Today’s cars use multiple tire tethers made of a material called Zylon, which withstand over 5000 kg of force, to try and prevent this. In the majority of cases, they’re incredibly effective.
It was truly horrifying to watch Grosjean’s car burst into flames, miraculous to watch him leap from the flaming wreck, and heartening to consider the raw engineering put into these machines based on lessons learned. Progress is a thing to behold!