Romain Grosjean was extremely lucky to survive his 2020 F1 crash

Nothing gets a gearhead’s adrenaline pumping like F1. And nothing can make your heart sink as fast as a horrendous crash, more so one that looks unsurvivable. In 2020, Haas driver Romain Grosjean slammed into the barrier of the Bahrain International Circuit that led to a massive fireball that was something out of a nightmare. He survived. And the remnants of his car will be put on display in a Formula 1 exhibit.

Grosjean’s burnt car to be part of F1 Exhibition in Madrid

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It’s quite macabre, outright morbid, even, but what remains of the charred Haas will be put on display at the F1 Exhibition in Madrid. In the opening lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2020, the Haas hit the wall at an estimated 120 mph (193 km/h) in the opening lap. The impact split the car in half and its front end, pinned under the safety barrier, quickly erupted into a massive fireball. Grosjean was pinned in the wreck for 28 seconds before he was able to climb out and escape with burns and his life.

F1 Formula 1 Romain Grosjean Crash Exhibit Inline 01 Min

Photo: ESPN F1

The miracle that was his escape from the fire was through the quick response of the FIA Medical Car and its team, as well as the once scoffed-upon Halo that shields the driver from any impact or debris coming from the front. Other instances have already proved the Halo’s value but this accident was possibly the best example of all.

Technology has advanced leaps and bounds in the sport of Formula 1, and it is without a doubt that the collective improvements leading up to this disaster all but saved another life from being lost.

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“The survival cell is there for you in case of a huge impact. I was intact inside the shell. The chassis is still in one piece, the halo is there, and apart from the damage and burn it is still as it should be. I guess that saved my life,”, said Grosjean in an interview.

It has been three years since the accident and no one has seen the actual shell of the car. After a close collaboration between Haas and the Exhibition’s producers, its covers will be taken off and will be displayed in the Exhibit’s “Survival” room. The remnants will be there for everyone to see up close while a video showing previously unseen footage of the crash will be played.

F1 Formula 1 Romain Grosjean Crash Exhibit Inline 03 Min


“From my point of view, it was a big accident but I didn’t realize the impact or how violent it was from the outside,” the Haas driver said in an interview. “I had to break the headrest, punching it with my helmet and then I eventually managed to get my helmet through and stand up in the seat. I realized my left foot was stuck into the chassis and I pulled as hard as I could on my left leg. My shoe stayed in the chassis but my foot came loose so I was free to exit the car,” he added.

Dedicated to the pioneers who, throughout the history of Formula 1, have sacrificed to improve the sport’s safety, the F1 Exhibition is scheduled to open in Madrid on March 24, 2023. The likewise honors and explores the constant innovation that has pushed Formula 1 forward.

Luck smiled on Romain Grosjean that night, and the race gods and all the higher beings were, too. On a related note, this is why racing must be done at the proper venues, and with the right car and equipment. Should you find your right foot itching to step on the gas on the streets, look back at this accident. If a crash as big as this, in a sport deemed as “safe” as F1 with the best-experienced drivers in the world can happen, you’re no exception.

Drive safely out there, and always be safe. We are, after all, motorists and not FIA Super License holders.

Mikko Juangco
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