|F1 Bahrein GP| After the race: Why is Romain still alive?
Analysis of the F1 Bahrein GP: Grosjean crash
Grosjean accident: why Romain crashed into the barriers at 220 km/h?
During the first lap of F1 Bahrein GP 2020, some contacts on the middle field in turn 2 and turn 3 caused the McLaren of Norris to damage his front wing. This caused the group of cars to be a little ‘stuck’ in the acceleration phase. Romain Grosjean tried to keep advantage of the middlefield cars in front on him moving to the other side of the track (from the left to the right of the trackside). However, that was a rash maneuver because the Haas driver didn’t notice the presence of Kvjat (Alpha Tauri). By hitting the front tyres of the Alpha Tauri driver, Romain lost the control of the vehicle and crashed into the barriers with a very dangerous angle of impact.
How did Grosjean managed to get out of the car?
Romain did the most by himself. After the incredible accident it took only 27 seconds to him to get out of the cars. The real deal of this tragic crash was the luck for the driver to not pass out after the massive deceleration. Grosjean had the lucidity to unfasten the seat bealts and removing the steering wheel to get out of the hell as fast as possible. Probably, few seconds delay and we would be talking of extremely serious consequences for driver’s health.
Why was Grosjean alive after a 220 km/h impact with metallic barriers?
The Hass driver impacted the metallic barrier at about 220 km/h. Those kind of barriers are usually implemented in part of the tracks which are considered low-risk for accindents. In fact, no one would have predicted an accident like the one of Grosjean in a straight. The impact angle of the crash became more dangerous also for the inward outline of the barrier in that particular area (in order to quickly remove the vehicle from the track).
Why did Halo play an essential role on the Bahrein crash?
The Halo is a structural part of a F1 (and F2/F3) which FIA introduced as mandatory in 2018 to increase safety. At first stages, the system has aroused some criticism, including that of Niki Lauda, who claimed that this system distorts the “essence of racing cars”. From its introduction, Halo has played an important role in protecting the drivers’ health. In Belgian Grand Prix, for example, where Charles Leclerc’s halo was struck by Fernando Alonso’s airborne McLaren and the last case was the Bahrein crash. The halo was sturdy enough to split the barrier, allowing the car to slip through inbetween and splitting off the back of the car from the monocoque.
What is the structure of the F1 Halo?
There are three main elements to the Halo: 1) the front section at the centre which is called the ‘V transition’ 2) the tube around the cockpit 3) rear mounts. The structure is made from a Titanium Grade 5 6AL4V alloy, specified by the regulations and mounts to the chassis at three locations. Although the design is heavily regulated, teams do have a 20mm area of freedom around the structure, allowing fairings to be fitted. This led to a variety of winglet designs along the top of the Halo which the teams refined throughout the season.
What did require to be improved for future races to further increase safety?
The fact that the accident happened on the first lap allowed the Medical Car to quickly reach the crash site. The staff of the safety machine intervened to quickly rescue Romain from the flames, and to help the commissioners (quite inexperienced in the use of the fire extinguisher) to tame the flames. The same commissioners found themselves crossing the track after the accident at Racing Point in Perez, in the straight parallel to the starting one, while Passing Lando Norris, who had to promptly discard them.
Very difficult race for Ferrari
The SF1000 in Bahrain managed to get only one point thanks to Leclerc’s tenth place. On an engine track, Rossa showed that she was suffering despite developments that seemed to have improved the car slightly. Personally, I believe that the developments have not brought much time trial and that the best results have been dictated mainly by a better adaptation of the single-seater to the characteristics of the track. In Binotto’s words, the team expected much more this weekend: “Here we expected to be more competitive, to be able to confirm what has been done in the last races. We arrived here in Bahrain in different environmental and asphalt conditions for sure, and somehow the car didn’t work as well as expected. We have not been competitive either in qualifying or in the race pace also for degradation. I think we’ve suffered here since the first round of Friday.” Suffering that will be even greater in the Bahrain 2 Gp since it will run on a layout very similar to an oval where the power of the Power Unit will be even more important than this weekend. With this result Ferrari must abandon the dream of being able to fight for third place in the constructors and will have to settle for finishing the 2020 season in sixth place.
“We expected to be more competitive and to confirm the results of the last races. We arrived in Bahrain in different environmental conditions, the car did not work as expected. We have a few days to improve to try to do better. We have never been competitive in qualifying and in the race, we have struggled since the first lap of free practice”.
How was the starting grid decided at the second start?
After the first start, the race director stopped the race for the terrible grosjean accident. At that moment Bottas was in sixth place with Vettel in fifteenth position. At the second start, however, the Finnish driver started from the P4 while the German from Ferrari from the P10. Why did this happen? Along the entire circuit there are five control points: the three where the sectors are detected and the two safety car lines. Race director Masi rearranged the second start according to the drivers’ passage on the second safety car line as after the exposure of the red flag not all the drivers had passed the first intertime that is positioned after Turn 5.
What they said.
Valtteri Bottas :
“I’m so glad Romain is okay – that’s really the most important thing today, and I’m relieved that he managed to escape that bad accident. I had a puncture at the restart of the race. I don’t think there was any contact, and I didn’t see any detritus, I’m not really sure what caused it. I tried to recover positions, but it was not easy to stay in the wake of the other single-seater. In the end, I drilled again, but luckily this happened under Safety Car and I didn’t lose positions. I need to see what to improve in the run-up to next weekend; the layout of the track will be different, but many of the main features will remain, so we need to learn a lot from today. I hope to be luckier next weekend.”
“Security? Really shocking images to see. When you get into cars we all know that we take risks. I respect the danger, which is an integral part of the sport. Terrifying to see images like that. When you’re in the cockpit and things like that happen, it’s terrible. I’m grateful the halo worked. The barriers cut the car in half. It could have been much worse. This is dangerous sport. There are few of us who can push to the limit. What happened today shows how much the FIA has been on the piece to ensure safety.”
“Departure? Scary. We saw the red flag, but that doesn’t mean there’s necessarily something bad. But then I saw the fire and that’s never a good sign. Luckily he’s fine, I hope he recovers quickly. Fight with Lewis? We missed step, I tried to stay close, but they always had an answer for what we were trying to do. Maybe we weren’t aggressive enough with the strategy. Our pit stop was slow, it went the way it did. But second place is not bad. Next race? The layout with so many straights is not the best for us. But the car here is fine. We’ll see how we go in the few curves that will stay.”
“Honestly I didn’t see if I was too aggressive, there was room in Turn 1. I just went there. I made my turn. I don’t know, now I’m going to look at the pictures. Maybe yes or maybe not. I didn’t do anything special from my point of view.”
“Leclerc? The second start was even worse than the first. In the first one it had the outside, we were close and I had no space. But the second one I think was unnecessary. There was barely any space. There was space just because I was careful that there was no accident between us , after that episode I lost so much ground. I struggled for the position on the grid, for the tires. This GP was difficult. We’ve lost a lot of ground. Even the car was difficult to drive, I lost a lot of ground until the end”.
“A bit of luck in the end, Sergio had had a great race. After what happened on Friday the guys did a great job putting the car in place. Beautiful feeling. I’m happy. Double podium for us. Already in the last races I was getting better, but you couldn’t see from the results. This is a step forward.”
“It is really difficult for me and the team to accept this result, but in the general economy of things it becomes almost irrelevant after the incident in Romain at the start. At the end of the day, for me it’s a podium or a trophy more or less, but the important thing is that Grosjean is still with us and he’s fine. I wish him all the best. I think we had a perfect run and the podium was definitely the right prize. It was terrible to retire three laps from the race due to an electrical problem with the MGU-K. We were about to finish in front of a Red Bull and a Mercedes, which is a great credit to all of us, and we had done a great job all weekend as well. Today we lost some really important points, which makes everything a little more difficult in the fight for the Drivers and Constructors Championship, but the positive side is that there are still two races to complete”.
Race results. Our marks to the drivers.
C. Leclerc: Difficult weekend for him, out of Q3 and only because of Perez’s engine problem goes to points; however the fight for fourth place in the drivers’ standings is still at hand. Final Mark: 6/10.
L. Hamilton: Race always in command, as usual, without particular pressure from the other drivers. Final Mark: 6.5/10.
V. Bottas: It’s at the moment that everything turns to him wrong, however he never puts pressure on Lewis…. Final Mark: 4.5/10.
S. Vettel: As with Leclerc, however, in the race he is much more difficult than his partner making his trademark: a nice spin. Final Mark: 5/10.
M. Verstappen: He’s always there after Lewis but he’s never bothered him this year either; reviewable strategy by the team. Final Mark: 6/10.
S.Perez: Capital race for the Mexican who shows great constancy, only stops him with an engine problem. Final Mark: 7/10.
R.Grosjean: Fortunately, as a result of the frightening and spectacular accident, it comes out practically unscathed. However, the incident is caused by his misinterpretation of Kyvat’s position.