Severity of Grosjean’s crash due to several factors

by Dec 21, 20200 comments

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The severity of Romain Grosjean‘s fiery crash in the Bahrain Grand Prix was a consequence of multiple factors, the designer of the circuit believes.

Grosjean struck a barrier at the exit of turn three on the first lap of last month’s race. A 53G force was recorded as his Haas split the guardrail in two.

His car was torn in half and exploded into flames, but Grosjean managed to free himself from the wreckage. He was left with burned hands which prevented him from contesting the final two rounds of the season.

The crash occured after Grosjean’s car made contact with Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTauri. Hermann Tilke, who created the Bahrain International Circuit, told Der Standard the crash was so severe because Grosjean hit the barrier at an angle steep enough not to be deflected by it.

“At some point everything will break if the force is great enough,” Tilke explained. “Several factors came together.

“The accident happened on a straight, where the run-off zones are narrower and the crash barriers are parallel to the track. The angle of impact was 90 degrees. If it had been sharper, the car would have scraped along the guardrail and drained the energy. 53G acted on Grosjean, an incredible amount.”

The FIA is investigating the crash and intends to publish its findings early next year. Tilke said careful lessons will need to be learned about possible safety improvements

“With Grosjean’s angle of impact, it would have been better if there had been a force retarder in front of the guardrail, for instance a stack of tyres,” said Tilke. “In other impacts, however, this could be counterproductive because the car can get caught in them.

“Everything has advantages and disadvantages, you have to be careful not to worsen other scenarios. For example: if you drive a car, buckle up, because you know that the seat belt will protect you in an accident. In 0.001% of accidents, however, it could be better not to wear a seat belt. But you won’t say: ‘Then I won’t buckle up again.’

“The FIA ​​will be investigating the incident closely. The system worked for decades. Such an accident happened for the first time in this form.”

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