FIA president Jean Todt said Romain Grosjean’s astonishing escape from his fiery Bahrain Grand Prix crash was the best motivation to continue improving safety standards in motorsport.
During yesterday’s FIA prizegiving Todt gave special awards to the marshals and medical team who attended to Grosjean after his crash. His Haas VF-20 split in half and exploded when it struck a barrier on the first lap of the race. Grosjean took 28 seconds to emerge from conflagration, suffering burns to his hands.
“When you see that, you have a kind of a scary expectation,” admitted Todt, who was at the circuit when the crash happened. “Because what you see on the TV, on the screen; the car exploding and [catching] fire – you don’t know what is going to happen.
“When, after very long seconds, which seemed to be like hours, you see a shape coming out of the car then, okay, he’s surviving.”
Despite Grosjean’s incredible escape, Todt pointed out fatal crashes still occur in motor sport, often in less high-profile categories.
“It’s something that we’ve discussed periodically at the FIA through [the] special safety group where we are engaging with the special safety department, with the medical commission, with different commissions,” said Todt in response to a question from RaceFans.
“We put safety on top of the agenda with the aim ‘vision zero’. Unfortunately – I don’t want to say every weekend – but too often and mainly in national championships, national series, you have officials, you have drivers, you have co-drivers who get killed during the event and we want to stop that.”
The FIA is investigating all aspects of the Grosjean crash and expects to publish its findings late next month.
“Of course we speak a lot about Romain Grosjean because it was live all over the world, on TV and it is Formula 1,” said Todt. “And of course we feel relieved that he could escape.
“We need to also understand why the car was cut in two pieces, why the fuel tank probably exploded, all that we need to learn as we did after each accident. Not only the accidents you see on global media but every accident which happens in motor racing is clearly studied in order to understand from it.
“Of course, it gives a result and that’s why it’s probably the best encouragement to always be more ambitious about what you want to achieve in safety. But if you see what has been done over the last decade by my predecessors, by my team, myself, now, it’s very encouraging to go even further to improve safety.”
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2020 F1 season
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