Sports

‘Halo’ saves F1 driver Grosjeansjean’s life

London, Nov 30 (Reuters) | Publish Date: 11/30/2020 10:09:47 AM IST

Romain Grosjean credited the halo protection bar with saving his life in a fiery crash that ripped his car in two on the opening lap of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday.

The Frenchman’s Haas speared through the barriers after careering off the track at high speed, with the force of the impact splitting the car in half and setting it aflame.

Grosjean, who clambered out and limped away from the crash, miraculously escaped with only burns to his hands and was being treated overnight at a nearby hospital.

“Hello everyone, just wanted to say I am okay, well sort of okay,” the 34-year-old, his hand swaddled in bandages but his face smiling, said from his hospital bed in a video posted to his social media.

“I wasn’t for the halo some years ago but I think its the greatest thing that we brought to Formula One and without it I wouldn’t be able to speak to you today.”

Formula One introduced the halo, a three-point titanium structure above the front of the cockpit designed to protect drivers’ heads from flying debris, in 2018 and it initially attracted controversy.

Grosjean, who is out of contract and likely to leave Formula One at the end of the year, was one of those who was against it at the time, terming the day its introduction was announced a “sad day” for the sport.

On Sunday, his gratitude for its existence was echoed by others in the sport.

“There’s absolutely no doubt the halo was the factor that saved the day and saved Romain,” Formula One’s managing director for motorsport Ross Brawn said. “There was quite a lot of controversy at the time about introducing it and I don’t think anyone now can doubt the validity of that. It was a life-saver today,” Brawn told Sky Sports television. Damon Hill, the 1996 world champion, said he was ‘flabbergasted’ by what he had seen and it was a miracle that Grosjean, a father of three, was alive.

Seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton, the race winner for Mercedes, was also thankful the halo had worked.

“I’m grateful that the barrier didn’t slice his head up or something like that. It could have been so much worse,” said the Briton.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner agreed: “Horrendous. An incident like that, I couldn’t see a driver coming out of that,” he said.

“All credit to the FIA. For a car to pierce a steel barrier like that and for the driver to survive, with the fire and everything else, it’s all credit to the job that they’re doing. And they’re right to keep pushing.

Formula One halo

The halo is a driver crash-protection system used in open-wheel racing series, which consists of a curved bar placed to protect the driver’s head.

The system consists of a bar that surrounds the driver’s head and is connected by three points to the vehicle frame. The halo is made of titanium and weighed around 7 kilograms (15 lb) in the version presented in 2016, then rose to 9 kilograms (20 lb) in 2017.

The system is not developed by the teams, but is manufactured by three approved external manufacturers chosen by the FIA and has the same specification for all vehicles.

In a simulation performed by the FIA, using the data of 40 real incidents, the use of the system led to a 17% theoretical increase in the survival rate of the driver.


-Tags:#F1

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