The FIA has revealed findings of its investigation into Romain Grosjean’s fiery crash in last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
The report reveals how the accident occurred and the areas of safety due to being improved upon.
Grosjean was trapped in his burning Haas for 28 seconds after the car collided with the Armco barrier at Turn 3. Miraculously, Grosjean only suffered minor burns to his hands from the crash.
The FIA’s published findings have been presented to the World Motor Sport Council and will be shown to drivers ahead of the start of the 2021 season.
The findings went into several aspects concerning the crash, including how the fire started, the speed at which the car hit the barrier and how Grosjean was able to survive the shunt.
Investigations report that the fire resulted from the separation of the power train assembly from the survival cell.
That dislodged the fuel tank from the chassis, and the fuel line that connects to the engine was also torn away. These provided primary paths for fuel to escape the tank and ignite.
Grosjean’s Haas was moving at 240 kph when it clipped Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTauri at the exit of Turn 3. The car then made contact with the barrier at 190 kph.
The car collected the barrier at a 29-degree angle with a peak force of 67g. In comparison, most F1 drivers experience a maximum of 8g when navigating some of the calendar’s fastest corners.
Several factors played a role in Grosjean’s escape, with driver safety equipment performing as expected to protect the driver.
Grosjean’s Bell helmet was equipped with air filters, preventing toxic smoke inhalation. The Hans device and headrest reduced head movement upon impact. The Halo drastically reduced the risk of Grosjean’s head coming into contact with the barrier.
“Due to damage to the survival cell and a number of components within the cockpit environment, Romain Grosjean’s left foot was initially trapped as the car came to rest,” read the report.
“The driver was able to free his foot by withdrawing it from his racing boot leaving the boot in the entrapped position in the car and then moved both the dislodged headrest and steering wheel to egress the car.”
Track marshals and safety crews have been praised for their roles in the accident.
Race control red-flagged the race within 5.5s of Grosjean’s impact. The medical car was on site within 11s. Trackside marshals immediately began dressing the fire with handheld extinguishers, allowing medical rescue coordinator Dr Ian Roberts and a local doctor to go straight into their “pre-determined roles.”
So what is being changed as a result of the crash?
Survival cell front geometry and load test regulation are being evaluated. Fuel bladder installation across all single-seater categories is also set to be revised to reduce the risk of it splitting.
Driver gloves are set to be improved to withstand a higher heat index. Rescue vehicles are also being updated with additional guidance and training for all member organisations.
The FIA will also look into how it will improve existing barrier systems and fire-fighting equipment for trackside staff.