FIA launches probe into fiery Grosjean crash at Bahrain Grand Prix

Stewards recover Haas F1’s French driver Romain Grosjean’s car during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit on Nov. 29, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 03 December 2020

FIA launches probe into fiery Grosjean crash at Bahrain Grand Prix

  • The Halo device is widely considered to have helped save Romain Grosjean’s life

SAKHIR, Bahrain: Motor racing chiefs announced on Thursday the launch of an investigation into Romain Grosjean’s fiery Bahrain crash, saying the forensic probe would take “around six to eight” weeks to complete.
The French Formula One driver somehow wrenched himself free from his blazing Haas car with just burns to his hands and a broken left foot after a collision with Daniil Kvyat on the first lap of Sunday’s Grand Prix. He left hospital on Wednesday.
In the immediate aftermath of the shocking smash there was widespread praise for modern safety measures in the sport, but also concern over what F1’s motor sport managing director Ross Brawn described as “unpredictable” failures.
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said it had “initiated a detailed analysis of Romain Grosjean’s accident at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.”
The FIA’s safety director, Adam Baker, said: “With so much data available in Formula 1, it allows us to accurately determine every element of what occurred and this work has already begun.
“We take this research very seriously and will follow a rigorous process to find out exactly what happened before proposing potential improvements.”
The FIA probe will look at a range of factors including Grosjean’s helmet, safety harness, headrest, in-car extinguisher and the Halo cockpit protection.
The Halo device is widely considered to have helped save Grosjean’s life as his car was sliced in two after careering into a barrier.
“The ‘halo’ saved the day and it saved Romain,” Brawn said on Sunday.
“There was controversy in developing it initially, but there can’t be any doubt now, so hats off to those who pushed for the introduction.”
But he added: “The fire is worrying. The split in the barrier is worrying and the barrier coming apart, but we can be happy with the safety of the car – that got us through today, but things failed in an unpredictable way.
“We haven’t seen anything like that for a very long time, but the barrier splitting normally results in a fatality.”
At the circuit new safety measures have been introduced to reduce the risk of a repeat crash at this Sunday’s Sakhir Grand Prix.
Two rows of tires wrapped in a conveyor belt have been installed in front of a reconstructed guardrail at the exit of Turn Three.
Several drivers expressed serious concerns at the failure of the barrier and the manner in which it was punctured.
In other changes to the circuit, where this weekend’s Grand Prix will be using the shorter “outer loop’, a kerb has been removed at Turn Nine – which was used as Turn 13 last Sunday – and a tire barrier in the approach to that corner has been extended and enlarged to four rows in depth.
Grosjean left hospital on Wednesday and in an Instagram post he highlighted the professionalism of a marshal with an extinguisher and the FIA doctor in the following Safety Car, who was on the scene very quickly.
“I told him he was a hero,” said Grosjean.
“He went into the fire as much as he could to save me. I felt Ian’s hands pulling me over the barrier and I knew I was safe... life will never be the same again.”
Grosjean is resting and healing from burns at a hotel in Abu Dhabi where he hopes he will be fit enough to race in the season-closing race next weekend.


Hatton leads interrupted Abu Dhabi second round

Updated 22 January 2021

Hatton leads interrupted Abu Dhabi second round

  • Tyrrell Hatton was on five under for the day with five holes remaining to put him atop the provisional leaderboard at 12 under
  • Overnight leader Rory McIlroy, one over for the day with four holes still to be completed, is five shots back and in a share of second

ABU DHABI: England’s Tyrrell Hatton led the Abu Dhabi Championship by five shots on Friday before fading light forced play to come to a premature halt with the second round due to be completed on Saturday.
Hatton was on five under for the day with five holes remaining to put him atop the provisional leaderboard at 12 under.
Romain Langasque was five shots adrift after 16 holes before conditions forced organizers to suspend the round.
Sharing provisional second with the Frenchman was overnight leader Rory McIlroy, who was one over for the day with four holes still to be completed. And two who managed to make it to the clubhouse, New Zealander Jason Scrivener and Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond.
Janewattananond and Scrivener were out early to finish their first rounds on Friday morning after Thursday’s fog delay of almost three hours forced them to play catch up.
Hatton is aiming for a fourth Rolex Series title in this event, the first of three tournaments being staged in the Gulf.
He began his second round one shot off his Ryder Cup teammate McIlroy after assembling a fine opening 65.
The 29-year-old followed up the two eagles he had made on day one with another from 22 feet on the second hole.
After dropping his first shot of the tournament at the next he hit back, producing a run of four birdies.
He was going in search of his tee shot into a bunker at the 14th hole when the siren sounded a premature halt to the round.
“I’m obviously in a great position at the moment,” he said.
“It was certainly tough out there, so I’m really happy to be five under.
“I held some nice putts and there were a couple of par putts toward the end of my round — nice to hold them and keep a bit of momentum going.”
On the prospect of a busy day at the office on Saturday, Hatton added: “It will be fine. I’ll just try and stay loose and see how we go.”
Langasque was almost celebrating the first hole in one of the new Race to Dubai season, his tee shot at the par three 15th whistling past the hole.
Defending champion Lee Westwood bogeyed the 13th and 14th before play was suspended to lie nine shots off the lead, with world number three Justin Thomas on the projected cut mark of one under.