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Romain Grosjean 'saw death coming' in fiery Formula 1 crash

Nick Bromberg
·3-min read

Romain Grosjean saw death during his horrific crash in Sunday’s Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Grosjean’s car split in two when it went head-on through a steel barrier at over 100 MPH. The cockpit of the car was immediately engulfed in flames upon impact and Grosjean was in the fire for over 20 seconds before he climbed out of the car and back over the wall.

From the Associated Press:

“There’s going to be some psychological work to be done, because I really saw death coming. When you see images, not even Hollywood is capable of doing that,” Grosjean told French broadcaster TF1 on Tuesday from his hospital bed in Bahrain. “To come out of the flames that day is something that will mark my life forever.”

Grosjean was estimated to be inside the raging furnace for nearly 30 seconds but was lucid enough to figure a way out of a near-death situation.

“I don’t know if the word miracle exists or it can be used, but it wasn’t my time. It did seem much longer than 28 seconds. I saw my visor turning all orange, the flames on the left side of the car,” he said. “I thought about a lot of things — notably about Niki Lauda — and I thought that it wasn’t possible to end up like that, not now. I couldn’t finish my story in Formula 1 like that.”

The Haas car’s data monitors reportedly recorded a speed of 137 MPH at the time of the crash and an impact of 53G with the wall. If it was indeed that high, it’s clear how Grosjean’s car pierced the barrier with such force.

Grosjean has credited Formula 1’s halo head protection with saving his life. The metal bars above the cockpit were implemented ahead of the 2018 season to protect drivers’ heads from impacts like in his crash.

Grosjean, 34, has worked with sports psychologists before. He’s raced full-time in Formula 1 since 2012 and said he started seeing a sports psychologist after he was given a one-race ban by F1 stewards for triggering a first-lap crash at that year’s Belgian Grand Prix.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: A fire is pictured following the crash of Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Romain Grosjean's car caught fire after it went through a steel barrier on the first lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Grosjean will miss final Sakhir Grand Prix

Grosjean suffered burns to his hands and ankles but did not suffer any fractured bones in the crash. He will be replaced during the upcoming Sakhir Grand Prix at the same Bahrain Circuit by Haas reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi.

Grosjean’s F1 career is currently up in the air beyond the 2020 season. Haas recently announced that Nikita Mazepin would drive one of its cars in 2021 and the other seat on the team is expected to be filled by Mick Schumacher, the son of legendary F1 driver Michael Schumacher.

A potential move by Grosjean to IndyCar was mentioned by Racer a week ago.

Grosjean is one of five F1 drivers currently racing who were racing in 2012 when his career began. And his absence will coincide with the absence of another long-tenured driver. Seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton will miss the race too after he tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.

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