“Halo and Guardian Angel saved his life”
The evening after Romain Grosjean’s serious fire accident, Haas team manager Günther Steiner faced the press. Question after question
Haas team boss Günther Steiner sees it similarly in his video press round late in the evening at 11.30 p.m. on the race track in the desert: “We had a guardian angel,” says the South Tyrolean. “We had fast marshals and the guys from the medical car. And we had Halo. “
Even shortly after the race, Steiner, Hamilton and colleagues were visibly in shock. You will never forget the pictures you saw on the starting lap. In the battle for positions, the French Haas driver Grosjean overlooked his Alpha Tauri colleague Daniil Kvyat when changing lanes. His car hit the Russian’s front wheel, turned at right angles in the middle of a straight and bored into the guardrails at high speed. The Haas buried itself under the guardrails, was split in half, and immediately burst into flames. Grosjean was able to free himself and was taken to the route hospital with a severe shock.
Haas team boss Günther Steiner
© LAT Images
One thing is certain: Without Halo and before the Formula 1 cars were made into a survival cell with more and more of the monocoque after the fatal accident of the Brazilian Ayrton Senna in 1994, Formula 1 would have had to report another death. In 1973 Frenchman Francois Cevert was cut into four parts by the guardrail in a similar accident during training at Watkins Glen. A year later, the Austrian Helmut Koinigg was beheaded on the same track when his car slipped under the guardrail after a technical defect during the race.
With Halo, two other drivers have survived in the recent past. In 2009, British rider John Surtees junior died in the F2 race at Brands Hatch because a competitor’s bike hit him defenseless on the head. In 2015, Briton Justin Wilson was also hit by a wheel in an indycar race.
Not much is left of Grosjeans Haas.
© F1 TV
Sky expert Ralf Schumacher criticizes the position of the guardrail: “The problem is that in places where accidents are very unlikely, guardrails are only installed once and not twice. The FIA will certainly change that in the future.” McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl praises the world federation anyway: “It looked terrible. A huge compliment to the FIA. They made the cars as safe as possible. But it also reminds us of how dangerous our sport is at the speeds we drive. “
Tomorrow it will be clarified whether Grosjean will be able to compete in the second race in Bahrain this coming weekend. “I will visit him tomorrow and then decide how to proceed,” says Steiner. “He was in a good mood on the phone, he could joke again. He had already spoken to the family and looked tidy. ”Meanwhile, it is also clear: The Frenchman has burns on the surfaces of his hands, but no breaks.
Grosjean himself provides the proof in a video tweet from the hospital: He admits with bandaged hands that he too was once against the cockpit bar. “But today I think it’s the greatest thing that Formula 1 could develop. Without Halo, I couldn’t send you this message anymore. “