Romain Grosjean ‘saw death coming’ in horror F1 crash but hopeful of Abu Dhabi GP return

Romain Grosjean says he thought he “saw death coming” in his horrific Bahrain Grand Prix crash on Sunday. The Franco-Swiss miraculously survived after his Haas collided head-on with a barrier at 140mph and split in half before bursting into a huge inferno.

The 34-year-old was trapped in his car, the half of which he was sitting in went through the barrier just after turn three, for almost 30 seconds during while his car was in flames.

Fortunately he was able to scramble out of the burning wreckage and was assisted by the medical car crew, who were rapidly on hand to help him clear of danger as marshals then tackled the blaze.

Grosjean somehow sustained only minor burns and no fractures despite the force of the collision, with the halo protecting his cockpit ultimately saving his life and preventing his head from taking the brunt of the crash.

The force was measured at 53Gs and that Grosjean was able to walk away from the incident at all is a testament to Formula One’s ever-improving safety standards and protocols.

He posted on Instagram on Tuesday, with bandages around both hands as well as his left knee and ankle: “Never thought that a few bodyweight squats would make me happy. Body recovering well from the impact. Hopefully same about the burns on my hands. Thank you again to everyone for the messages. Ps: still very slow at typing.”

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Grosjean will miss this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix and will be replaced by Pietro Fittipaldi, the grandson of two-time champion Emerson Fittipaldi.

But he wants to return for the season-ending Abu Dhabi race on December 13 in what could be his final ever F1 race, provided he can recover in time.

“I don’t know if the word ‘miracle’ exists or if we can use it, but in any case, it wasn’t my time [to go],” Grosjean told French outlet TF1 from a hospital in Bahrain, where he continues to be treated for a third night.

“It felt to me like it lasted much longer than 28 seconds. I saw that my whole visor was orange and there were flames to the left of the car.

“I was thinking about many things, particularly Niki Lauda [who suffered severe burns in an accident at the 1976 German GP], and I didn’t want to end up like him.

“I said to myself, “My F1 career can’t end like this. I told myself that I had to get out of there for my kids.

“I was more scared for my immediate family, my children first of all because they’re my biggest source of pride and energy, than for myself.

“I think there’ll be some psychological work to do because I saw death coming. I don’t think they’d be able to do anything quite like that even in Hollywood.

“It’s the biggest crash I’ve seen in my life with the car catching fire and exploding. The battery also caught fire, adding so much energy to the impact.

“It was almost like a rebirth and coming out of the flames that day is something that will mark my life forever.”

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner meanwhile confirmed of Grosjean’s intentions to get back in the car before the end of the season: “Romain would like to do it [drive in Abu Dhabi]. I spoke with him yesterday, he really wants to be in Abu Dhabi.


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“I said to him ‘Try to get better and we will speak on Monday [next week] about how you feel, if it’s doable’. We will cross that bridge when we get to it.

“At the moment we have got plenty of time. Pietro is here, Romain is here. We just need to see how he feels. I’m not in a hurry to decide now. It depends on his health.

“Yes, absolutely [he is keen to return]. That is his aim now, to heal up and he wants to do Abu Dhabi.

“Yesterday he was mentally very stable, very good about it. The guys today have said he is very good. He is just trying to get better to be in the car in Abu Dhabi. That shows he wants to keep on doing it.

“I spoke with one of his guys and they’ve done something on the burns. I don’t know exactly what. He is staying another night in the hospital, but that’s nothing to be pre-occupied with. It’s a safer environment.

“Everything is going good. The doctors are very happy. There are no setbacks or nothing, so staying another night doesn’t mean there is a setback or a problem. It’s just safer to stay another night longer to help him heal quicker.”

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