The burnt-out shell of the Haas F1 car from the terrifying crash that Romain Grosjean had in Bahrain will soon be on display.
As part of an F1 exhibition at IFEMA Madrid, the “survival cell” chassis of his Haas VF-20 will be available for public viewing. It makes up a section of exhibits called “survival” – aptly named considering the death-defying nature of Grosjean’s accident.
Alongside the burnt piece of F1 car, there will also be previously unseen footage of the horrific crash. This is the first time that the car is available to see following the FIA’s investigation into the 2020 accident.
The remains of the Haas car will demonstrate the story of Formula 1’s safety improvements over time. It thus intertwines with the overall exhibition, which will provide a “dazzling journey” through F1’s history.
But, while a fascinating piece of art, the charred shell of Romain Grosjean’s car also paints a haunting reminder of that unbelievable crash at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix. The ex-F1 driver reflected on the major accident during an interview with the exhibition organisers.
Romain Grosjean discusses his 2020 Bahrain GP crash as car goes on display
On lap one of the 2020 Bahrain race, Romain Grosjean had a bizarre and terrifying crash.
As he accelerated out of turn three, contact sent the Haas driver careering toward the barrier at 120mph. Upon impact, Grosjean’s car split through the Armco, then immediately went up in flames. Meanwhile, the car itself also broke completely in two.
He spent 28 seconds trapped in the inferno before eventually managing to exit his Haas machine.
Despite the heavy impact, and sitting in a fire for half a minute, Grosjean injuries were to only his hands, which were burnt.
Speaking recently to exhibit organisers, the Frenchman recalled his daring escape from his fiery car.
“I had to break the headrest, punching it with my helmet,” reminisced Grosjean, via ESPN. “Then I eventually managed to get my helmet through and stand up in the seat. I realised my left foot was stuck in the chassis and I pulled as hard as I could. My shoe stayed in the chassis, but my foot came loose. So, I was free to exit the car.”
Finding a way out of the fireball
As the incident occurred so early in the race, the car was fully loaded up on fuel. This, plus the battery unit, were both up in flames, according to Grosjean. Identifying a way out of the wreck was thus very difficult.
“Dr Ian Roberts, Alan [van de Merwe, from the medical car] and one fireman were trying to open a gap in the fire to help me get out,” he added. “I believe that helped me at least to get a vision of where I had to go.
“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.”
Sadly, though, this accident was also in the final F1 race of the Frenchman’s career. Prior to the 2020 Bahrain GP crash, Haas had already decided to move on from Romain Grosjean for the 2021 season. This was due to a change in team direction and future plans.
Nevertheless, Grosjean’s story is an example of the incredible safety improvements in F1 in recent years. The car will be on display at IFEMA Madrid next month.
Featured image credit: Getty