Skip to main content

F1 driver in fireball crash is certain the car’s halo saved his life

Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean is lucky to be alive after a horrific crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday that saw his vehicle rip in half and burst into flames.

In dramatic footage of the incident, the 34-year-old French driver can be seen scrambling out of the fireball that suddenly engulfed his car after he smashed through a barrier at 140 mph during Sunday’s race. He is now recovering in the hospital after suffering burns to his hands and ankles.

A heart-stopping moment on Lap 1 in Bahrain

We are all incredibly grateful that @RGrosjean walked away from this incident#BahrainGP ???????? #F1

— Formula 1 (@F1) November 29, 2020

Speaking from his hospital bed just hours after the crash, Grosjean assured fans he was “OK … well sort of OK,” and thanked everyone for their messages of support.

He added that he believed the vehicle’s “halo” safety device saved his life by protecting his head and absorbing the brunt of the impact.

“I wasn’t for the halo some years ago, but I think it’s the greatest thing that we’ve brought to Formula 1, and without it I wouldn’t be able to speak to you today,” Grosjean said, adding, “Thanks to all the medical staff at the circuit, at the hospital, and hopefully I can write you quite soon some messages and tell you how it’s going.”

The best video we've seen today?

THIS ???? ????#BahrainGP ???????? #F1 @RGrosjean

— Formula 1 (@F1) November 29, 2020

The halo crash-protection system is a curved bar made with around 7 kilograms of sculpted titanium that’s placed around the cockpit of the racing car. Its ability to withstand 125 kilonewtons of force (equivalent to 12 tons) makes it the most robust part of an F1 car.

The development of the halo came about after French F1 driver Jules Bianchi died in the hospital in July 2015 after sustaining serious head injuries in a crash at the Japanese Grand Prix nine months earlier.

Not everyone welcomed the safety device when it was first fitted to cars in 2018, with some in the sport saying it went against the tradition of open-cockpit racing, separating to some extent the driver from the fans. Others, however, welcomed it as a vital measure to protect drivers from serious injury in the event of a crash, as well as from flying debris caused by accidents elsewhere on the track.

Grosjean, for one, believes he owes his life to the device, and after his miracle escape from his burning car on Sunday with only relatively minor injuries, he could be back behind the wheel before too long.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
There’s a huge Black Friday sale on Thule roof cargo boxes
thule rooftop cargo boxes deals amazon november 2023 box on car

It's almost winter, which means snowy day trips and skiing, and if you pack your whole family inside one vehicle, it can be difficult to get the rest of your critical belongings (such as bikes and kayaks) to your destination. In theory, you could buy a larger car. Many families get a minivan for the explicit purpose of relieving this kind of pressure. But that's pretty extreme when you could simply expand the storage space of your current car. And with Black Friday sales like this one, putting dozens of Thule rooftop cargo boxes on big discounts, now is a good time to consider doing so. We're seeing deals were you could save $100 (or even more) or Thule rooftop cargo boxes and accessories. Just tap the button below to access the curated collection, then keep reading for our take in how to shop the sale.

Why you should shop the Thule rooftop cargo box sale
One of the first things we want you to know before you shop the Thule collection is some features that aren't immediately apparent just by looking at the cargo boxes. For example, you may be highly concerned about driving off and having your belongings (including embarrassing items like underwear) go everywhere because the box flies open. Thule boxes, however, typically snap shut with an audible click. You know your items are secure. Alternatively, items like their

Read more
Honda recalls more than 300,000 vehicles over seat belt safety issue
2015 Honda Accord Sport

Honda has recalled more than 300,000 of its 2023-2024 HR-Vs and Accords over a safety issue, according to a document posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The issue concerns a missing seat belt part, which means that in the event of a crash, the belt “will not properly restrain the occupant, increasing the risk of injury,” the NHTSA said.

Read more
How to watch Tesla’s Cybertruck delivery event today
Tesla's Cybertruck.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk behind the wheel of a Cybertruck. Tesla

It’s been a long time coming, but Tesla is about to deliver the Cybertruck to its first customers.

Read more