until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Brawn certain halo saved Grosjean’s life

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

Formula 1 sporting director Ross Brawn believes there is “no doubt” the halo prevented a fatal outcome in Romain Grosjean’s Bahrain Grand Prix accident.

Grosjean’s Haas VF-20 was split in half after impacting the barrier at speed on the opening lap of the Sakhir race, and its front half – where Grosjean was sat – lodged itself through the barrier.

Yet, as fire broke out at the scene of the accident, Grosjean was able to get out of the car in seconds and leave the site of the crash.

He sustained minor burns and was taken to hospital with a suspected rib fracture, before x-rays showed that nothing was broken.

Asked by Sky F1 whether he believed the halo cockpit protection device, introduced to F1 in 2018 despite some critics among drivers and fans objecting on aesthetic grounds, had saved Grosjean’s life, Brawn said: “Yeah, there’s no doubt.

“Because barriers splitting was a classic problem many years ago and normally it resulted in a fatality and there’s absolutely no doubt the halo was the factor that saved the day and saved Romain.

“All the team behind it just need crediting for forcing it through.

“We have got to do a very deep analysis because there are a number of things that shouldn’t have happened” :: Ross Brawn

“If you recall, there was quite a lot of controversy at the time about introducing it and I don’t think anyone now, especially after today, can doubt the validity of that and the value of it.

“So, hats off to everyone involved because it was a life-saver today.”

In a different interview, Brawn credited FIA president Jean Todt in particular with ensuring the halo was introduced.

And Grosjean himself praised the halo in a video message he released from hospital on Sunday night, admitting he had originally been among the device’s doubters.

“I wasn’t for the halo some years ago but I think it’s the greatest thing we’ve brought to Formula 1 and without it I wouldn’t be able to speak to you today,” he said.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Bahrain Grand Prix Race Day Sakhir, Bahrain

Yet despite the positive outcome of the crash, Brawn made it clear parts of it were concerning, admitting that “today we saw something that we didn’t predict”.

“Undoubtedly we have got to do a very deep analysis of all the events that have occurred because there are a number of things that shouldn’t have happened,” he acknowledged.

“The fire was worrying, the split of the barrier was worrying.

“I think the positives are the safety of the car and that’s what got us through today.”

Brawn expressed his belief that the fire came from “a few kilos of fuel” that was brought out by “a ruptured connection”.

As for the barrier, he said the manner of Grosjean’s impact was “very unusual” and that the “safety standards at the circuits are exceptional”, but promised “some very careful scrutiny between now and the next race”, which will again take place at Bahrain’s Sakhir circuit but on its new-to-F1 Outer layout.

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