While the outcome of Romain Grosjean’s fireball crash on Sunday was positive – the Haas driver incredibly walked away from his burning wreck after a 224kph / 53g crash into steel barriers – such is the relentless pace of safety research that plans for a full investigation into the consequences of the incident are already underway at the FIA’s technical centre in Geneva.
As part of the process the team of investigators, likely to be led by the governing body’s hugely experienced head of safety Adam Baker, face a number of searching questions. Not least, why the barrier Grosjean hit sheared and whether the halo’s cleaver-like slicing between the steel girders was an unforeseen consequence, albeit in this instance a seemingly positive one.
Would repeat barrier ‘failures’ be desirable in all high-speed impacts, or could repeats have serious consequences in other accidents, whether they be similar to Grosjean’s angled trajectory or head-on? According to sources, a new barrier of the same type as the original one was installed on Monday ahead of this weekend’s second race at the track, so the FIA seems comfortable with the situation. These are just some of factors the FIA team needs to establish.
Similarly, the team will investigate the effect of the car splitting in two behind the driver’s survival cell, as though a giant guillotine had spliced it. While shots of the car’s rear end sitting alongside the barrier while the front-end blazed away made for dramatic pictures (a separate conversation), the question is: was such a fracture planned or simply a one-off consequence?
An experienced race car engineer spoken to by RaceFans suggested the mere fact that the rear end containing the power unit and fuel cell (estimated at weighing over 350kg in total) did not follow the front half through the barriers had helped save Grosjean, for it reduced the overall impact by almost 50%.
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Equally, the same source added, the fracture had left the fuel cell exposed. Horrific though the fire was, the consequences of nearly 110kg of fuel flowing about the crash area while the front end blazed away are too ghastly to contemplate. As Ross Brawn indicated in the immediate aftermath, it appears leaked fuel from collector tank, situated beneath the cockpit, caused the blaze, likely ignited by severed high voltage cabling and friction sparks.
The tank and plumbing contain around 10 litres. Imagine the ferocity of a blaze potentially 10 times that intensity.
Could the safety team have coped with such a blaze? All of this throws fresh perspective on the heroism of the marshals who attended to Grosjean and the actions of FIA Medical Car team Dr Ian Roberts and Alan van der Merwe, as any fear of further ignition did not deter their rescue of Grosjean for a moment. Still, could the collector tank be made safer?
Another potential danger lurked in the crash. Hybrid systems in current F1 cars run at around 1,000 volts in order to reduce the draw of current, which generates undesirable heat – and a fractured (25kg) battery box could have spelt disaster. Yes, there are ‘safe’ systems, but these could have been damaged by impact, potentially spelling disaster for both driver and rescue workers.
In 2013, shortly before F1 introduced its ‘full’ hybrids – as opposed to the ‘mild’ hybrids of 2009 – I discussed electrical safety with an engineer, who was firm in his belief that F1 was absolutely tops when it came to energy management. “Whether chemical [fuel], electrical or kinetic energy management, we’re the best in the world on an overall basis,” he said.
It seemed a bold claim at the time, but Sunday seemed to vindicate that confidence. But the possibility for further improvement in this area will surely form another part of the investigation.
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While the safety systems all appeared to function as intended – so much so that Grosjean is even contemplating a return to action in just 10 days’ time – the endless replays prompted some concerns over whether every available fire extinguisher was trained on the Haas as quickly as it could have been. Perhaps further research needs to be undertaken into lighter fire appliances, faster extinguishants, and better training of marshals for such fires, mercifully rare though they are.
All of which raises another point: In addition to this, we had marshals on-track during the un-lapping phase at Imola, the crane incident during Q2 in Turkey plus a further incident in Bahrain where a marshal sprinted across the track in the face of oncoming cars, the area of marshal safety is an area which requires swift attention.
Furthermore, where marshals could previously hop from country to country to fill gaps and lend experience – usually covering their own costs due to their love for the sport – Covid-19 restrictions mean many borders are much tighter and permitted travel arrangements both complex and highly controlled. Have marshalling standards slipped – however slightly – as a result?
Four near-misses in three consecutive events suggest this is another of the many areas Formula 1 must probe in the wake of Sunday’s crash.
2020 F1 season
- Pictures: Wrecked chassis from Grosjean’s Bahrain fireball crash to go on display
- Bottas vs Rosberg: Hamilton’s Mercedes team mates compared after 78 races each
- F1 revenues fell by $877 million in Covid-struck 2020 season
- Hamilton and Mercedes finally announce new deal for 2021 season
- F1 audience figures “strong” in 2020 despite dip in television viewers
56 comments on “The urgent questions F1 must answer following Grosjean’s fireball crash”
1st December 2020, 17:59
Sometimes a “perfect storm” just can’t be averted.
2nd December 2020, 7:31
Seductive logic but unacceptable in this day and age. The sport has repeatedly shown it can overcome these kinds of challenges and even minor incremental improvements in individual areas will reduce risks formerly thought of as unavoidable.
I’d add one point to Dieter’s article, which is that they should look at the angle of the barrier. If it was parallel to the track where grosjean struck it the impact would have been a lot smaller.
1st December 2020, 18:07
I’ve been saying this for a long time.
The biggest risk in F1 right now are collisions, not alone accidents.
The risk of collision increases a lot when all the cars are packed together, because that’s when a more unpredictable (and unpredictable means hitting something or somewhere not prepared for a crash) happens.
That’s why Masi should understand that every time he packs the peloton again with a Safety Car for some irrelevant reason, like a car parked outside the track in a straight (Sainz Monza 2019) or inside the corner (Bottas Interlagos 2019) or just outside the track close to the pit entry (Magnussen Monza 2020), he is creating a much more dangerous situation than the one he is trying to solve.
1st December 2020, 18:33
@JCCJCC The one with Sainz in Monza last year was VSC, not full SC. Bottas’ case at Interlagos indeed didn’t require a full SC, so questionable as was Russell’s car position in Austria 1 and Norris’ at Nurburgring.
Red Andy (@red-andy)
1st December 2020, 18:57
With Bottas at Interlagos, the car was stuck in gear so the marshals couldn’t roll it away. They had to call for a crane which, I would hope, everyone understands must be covered by a safety car.
1st December 2020, 19:00
I think they shouldn’t have done none of that. They should just leave the car where it was, the risk of that was much smaller than the risk of packing the cars all together. Due to that we have a much more serious and dangerous accident between the two Ferraris.
My issue is really that, sometimes leaving the car where it is poses a much smaller risk than having the cars all packed with a few laps to go and everybody going extra-agressive. That’s on the collisions that something dangerous can happen, not on solo racing.
2nd December 2020, 3:19
While you may be statistically and principally right, I think it’s not so much a matter of reducing risk, but reducing liability…
Imagine making the call ‘no problem, leave the car there’ and then somebody ends up rolling over it, you’re in trouble. If you call for Safety Car and then something terrible happens it’s ‘just how it goes’ and ‘by the book’ nobody gets any blame.
Darryn Smith (@darryn)
2nd December 2020, 5:56
This was how it worked up until the early 90’s. The drivers then were better at leaving cars and so they just left them on the side for the rest of the race. I have never seen one of these cars struck. How many marshals have been killed or injured because they are out there moving cars that don’t need to be moved. Bianchi died because of this. Just leave’em there.
2nd December 2020, 7:33
Yep. I think there’s only one incident of somebody hitting a car parked, in 1980 with regazzoni.
In dry weather there’s in absolutely no risk in leaving a car parked like Bottas was in Brazil last year.
I think also what happened was that drivers forgot about what yellow flags are, because they assume that if something happened there will be a Safety Car, so a yellow flag means everything is ok.
2nd December 2020, 7:40
Also. Drivers took more and more risks now with asphalt runaways. This was pretty clear on Hubert crash.
It’s cool to discuss if the walls could be 1km away from the track and if every wall could be perfect.
But maybe is time to assume that some of the safety measures taken in the past backfired.
2nd December 2020, 20:24
@red-andy in the case of Bottas at Interlagos in 2019, it was actually debatable whether a full safety car was needed because the crane was able to recover his car from the end of the access road whilst still being shielded by the outer barrier.
Even Masi largely acknowledged that the crane didn’t really enter the bounds of the track – he claimed that it was an automatic reaction that deploying the crane meant a safety car, but did kind of imply that a Virtual Safety Car probably would have been adequate given the car was already most of the way off the circuit.
1st December 2020, 18:11
My questions would be why not tecpro or tyre barriers on angled walls such as this, and why angled walls at all when they are dangerous.
It’s mentioned but again, why don’t marshalls have better extinguishers and even scooters behind the fence so they can quickly move around.
But most of all I want to know why there was no fire truck. Maybe they should have a ‘racing’ -type fire vehicle like the medical car is ready to go and can arrive within minutes.
1st December 2020, 19:17
The initial impact and explosion was already a threat to the marshalls they first had to run for safety but immediately you could see several from other marshalling posts running towards the point of the accident.
There is no guarantee and accident such as this won’t cause a traffic jam on the service roads.
A fire truck would need to be stationed at every marshalling post with an exit and they would take a good few minutes to get to the scene. Remember it took the high performance medical car that was already travelling at great speed from the start of the race, 15 seconds to get to the scene and deploy. Imagine a truck loaded with fire retardant.
2nd December 2020, 10:47
It would probably take 3 minutes on track. Which could have been a matter of life and deathn if Grosjean would not have been able to rescue himself. But as most people I do not know what choices were made. As far as I know a Fire truck could have been en route, but called back after 28 seconds since Grosjean was save.
2nd December 2020, 14:11
A fire does one of two things when looked at from a simple perspective. It is either a threat to a driver’s safety or threat to equipment. If it is a driver’s safety, 1 minute can be way too long, but for equipment like say a car at a lonely spot, they have virtually “all day” to put the fire out.
A fire truck would be great to save the car and the other structures within that vicinity, but for the driver, almost pointless unless the car had crashed right in front of the fire truck.
It would not make sense to send the fire truck back when the race had been stopped unless the fire truck was coming from out of town.
bogolo moremong (@bogolo)
2nd December 2020, 16:28
I wondered this as well. surely this crash has demonstrated that this is a very dangerous barrier.
I really think they ought to change it.
1st December 2020, 18:15
So that huge ball of fire was caused by 10 L of fuel? This seems somewhat hard to believe.
1st December 2020, 18:55
@paeschli part of the reason why we use liquid fossil fuels such as petrol is because of their high energy density – even just 10 litres of regular pump grade petrol contains a lot of energy (about 340MJ), which is more like a small bomb going off in terms of how much energy is being released.
1st December 2020, 18:57
No, not at all hard to believe – have you never squirted a tiny amount of lighter fluid on a fire?!
10 litres max. for that is easy to correlate – 100L would have lit up the desert sky for minutes not seconds, and would unlikely be able to be brought under control to save the pilot.
1st December 2020, 19:02
I suspected between 8 – 12 liters as the full fuel tank on fire would have been a completely different kind of fire.
1st December 2020, 20:26
It might seem hard to believe but it’s true.
TNT has an energy density of 4.184 MJ/kg. Petrol has an energy density of 34.2 MJ/litre.
Therefore 10 litres of fuel is 342 MJ/litre, which would be equivalent to just over 82kg of TNT. That’s a lot of energy.
1st December 2020, 20:30
I should add that fuel fires are not the same as explosions in terms of how quickly they release the energy, but it gives you an idea of how much energy is available.
1st December 2020, 21:05
Interesting insight. Thank you.
1st December 2020, 21:12
It might have been caused by less than that, mega impact, sparks, the fire could have been a fuel fire, that said I saw a battery burned to a crisp, I think the battery exploded. One thing is sure as pointed out above, the tank didn’t catch fire, 100kg of fuel would not take so little time to extinguish.
2nd December 2020, 2:57
Look up the Swede Savage Indy 500 crash if you want to see what a full tank of fuel does.
Darryn Smith (@darryn)
2nd December 2020, 5:58
Plus the car is made of plastic and that is a fossil fuel too.
2nd December 2020, 8:34
I doubt this as well. From comments I saw, fuel bag was connected to the front of the car and empty not the engine part. I’m no expert on F1 internals though.
What seems logical to me is that survival cell shouldn’t carry or be used as a mounting point for anything fuel or battery related. If the car split in half and back end burned it would be much less risky then what happened here.
1st December 2020, 18:51
What does the collector tank do? I haven’t heard this anywhere so maybe I am completely wrong, but could the fire have anything to do with the additional fuel sensor that was fitted to the cars this year?
Obviously there have been other big shunts this year with no fire though…
Fer no.65 (@fer-no65)
1st December 2020, 18:55
I think racetracks need to continue improving. As low as the chances of such impact at that specific spot might be, that barrier seems weak in comparison to other parts of the track. Had the car not pierced through the barrier and stayed entangled in all that metal, Romain would’ve not make it out of there and he’d have died.
There are already greater barrier technologies, and it seems weird not to continuously upgrade the track until all of it is bordered by proper barriers.
Darryn Smith (@darryn)
2nd December 2020, 6:00
The Crown Prince has more than enough money for his real life scalectrix track to have the most up to date safety features.
1st December 2020, 19:01
I think it was very important that the barrier sheared in some form as it was also crucial to the driver’s survival.
Considering the angle he hit the barrier which was roughly 9- 15 degrees from perpendicular, he would have risked serious internal organ damage had we not had some compliance from the barrier.
The slight rotation of the chassis and shearing of the engine compartment further wedged the tub within the barrier but did reduce the energies and stress on the Halo and we have to be thankful the barrier was not spliced in two as that could have increased the risk to the driver such as Kubica suffered.
Regarding the extinguishers and risk to the marshalls, I believe extinguishers that can be operated like those jacks used by the pit crew but operated horizontally would have been of great help, such that the marshall could be a good 2 meters from the flames yet the extinguisher powder can be projected directly the flames.
Secondly I believe the safely catch of the extinguisher must be removed just before the start of a race and a softer rubber catch be used that is easily broken by the application of firm hand pressure reducing those vital seconds that delay its application
1st December 2020, 20:02
The collector tank in future will probably need to be part of the fuel cell (inside the armoured kevlar bag) and only fuel lines outside of it and some highly developed clean/dry break connectors.
The barriers will go away from armco, or anything the nose of an F1 car can split open and get wedged in, even with no fire being wedged in-between armco could be deadly, as the immediate aid that could well be needed might not be possible.
As for the car ripping in two, it need studying as to what exactly failed and establishing that in no way could it effect the structural integrity of the survival cell. (if it is weakened for example by cracking, any further impact could cause a serious failure)
Like it has been said the fact the PU and rear end broke free probably dissipated some of the energy, this needs further research and testing to be a sure as you can be that it happens, it happends in an acceptable manner at the correct time.
Another thought, if it is designed to break in two, could a foam or powder exploding fire extinguisher be placing in the void with the fuel cell and tethered either side of the designed break point.
1st December 2020, 20:24
The fact the cockpit got wedged between the barrier meant all the kinetic energy got translated to the rotation of the car and this energy was sufficient to shear off the bolts that attach the rear of the car from the cockpit section
1st December 2020, 20:09
I know it’s not the biggest (and also not the easiest) question given what happened afterwards, but is there any talk of looking at how the accident came about on the drivers’ part? Obviously the drivers ahead of Grosjean bunched up a bit in the second corner and he tried to take advantage of them by cutting across to the right, however even if he didn’t know Kvyat was there, he should have taken into account that they were still just after the start and how dangerous a sudden move could be at that moment. I am a casual motorsport fan watching the sport for 20 years, I’m not a racer or a steward, so this is just an opinion, and I don’t want to add insult to injury, but I was surprised that we haven’t heard anything about the stewards investigating the incident, even if not during the race, but in the days since. To me it looked very similar to his accident in Spa back in 2012, which resulted in a race ban. Obviously the stewarding standards have changed since then, so if an investigation was to happen, he might get a different penalty now. But were the stewards lenient with him because he suffered such a huge crash afterwards that he got injured in it?
Obviously I wish Grosjean all the best to a quick recovery, and I don’t have a problem with him, this isn’t an attack against him personally. I agreed with Ricciardo who thought it was wrong to show the pictures over and over again after knowing Grosjean was alright, but it seemed like the majority of F1 followers disagreed. However it feels like still nobody wants to talk about this (out of respect?), but it probably should be talked about.
Another question I have slightly related to the topic: does anyone know how F1 drivers and cars are insured? You occasionally hear about how a footballer has their foot insured for X million dollars, or how a singer insures their vocal cords the same way etc. However I haven’t heard much about insurance in F1/motorsports, are the drivers well covered, or are they salaries the coverage? And can the teams insure their cars for accidents, or do they have to take them as losses after accidents?
1st December 2020, 21:32
I feel it it might be good if the drivers have second mirrors along with the current ones, to show to the side of the car. Or to show the are in front of the rear tyre
1st December 2020, 21:49
My problem with drivers going off and rejoining is how much room they leave for those already on track.
Stroll I believe was off track and rejoined going straight accross to the middle or almost to the other end of the race track. That I believe is not good to see at such high speeds.
Stephen Crowsen (@drycrust)
2nd December 2020, 5:19
You raise a good point, in that we don’t know how much Romain contributed to the crash. Hopefully that will come out in the FIA’s investigation.
2nd December 2020, 10:59
Of course Grosjean made a mistake. I don’t think you can do anything about that. Drivers will always make mistakes and that is why the track should be as save as possible, even at the most unlikely places.
As you say, I think it would be a bit ridiculous to investigate somebody who just fought for his life, but undoubtedly the actions on track will be reviewed in the ongoing investigation, like it should. I don’t think this is done afterwards out of pity but out of a lack of necessity to do this immediately.
For me this once again puts a spotlight on the very small mirrors in which hardly any driver can see anything. Should the standards be changed to a certain amount of vision, instead of the current rules on size?
2nd December 2020, 14:02
Romain’s contribution to the crash is immaterial because we can’t simply say a driver drove badly so it is his fault if he is seriously injured or dies. The reality is that an accident happened at an unusual place and the events preceding the accident can also be attributed to freak factors. The investigation is focused on the impact with the barrier, and other physical attributes of the crash such as the fire, the response of the marshals and the medical team. The safety provided by the car’s structures and fire proof overalls. HANS and Halo etc.
What caused the driver to apparently steer in that direction is a separate investigation.
2nd December 2020, 14:32
I agree, I have a similar thought process. The penalties that are handed out aren’t just so that drivers don’t impede opponents, they have a safety incentive, they serve as a deterrent, and in this case it would be to save the drivers from themselves. The outcome here was the most extreme in decades, but the penalties for swerving at high speed are there exactly to defend them from such an accident. I see the other repliers suggest bigger mirrors would do wonders, but I think there is a limit to their effectiveness in this sport, and Kvyat might have been originally too far to the right to Grosjean and not far back enough, and he might not even have seen him.
Vettel complained about Leclerc divebombing on the restart, to which the Hungarian commentators (both touring car racers, one of them WTCR champion) said that they didn’t see anything wrong with it. While I see their point, Vettel could have tightened his line earlier getting near the apex, and then they would have had an accident again. I’m not blaming Leclerc, this is just to say that drivers might need more ‘gentlemanly agreements’ to take more caution with each other after starts, because yes, the opportunity might open up that you can take big advantage of, but if the drivers surrounding you don’t exactly do what you are expecting them, then you can get a big accident. Something along those lines might have happened with Grosjean, too. He saw an opportunity, but didn’t take enough factors into play, and he paid a very big price.
So all in all I think drivers need a bit more caution after starts, but the stewards might need to take action do deter them from very risky moves.
1st December 2020, 21:43
To me the biggest evolution for marshalling is to hire professionals all along the season, just like Indycar safety crew.
2nd December 2020, 2:13
Yes, what if the driver couldn’t get himself out of the car. An indycar safety crew with full gear would have done better than a couple of well meaning guys that pull up in a Mercedes.
1st December 2020, 22:36
Bunching up the field for minor incidents has always annoyed me.
The only reason they do it is to try to inject more interest in the races for the punters – which is a band-aid for boring racing & therefore a cop-out or party-trick. Needs to stop.
Random silly driver moves can also happen when the quality of the field is diluted by the required demographics of the drivers, due to costs.
In this case, the incident highlighted the barrier design & positioning, which was poor. Its not rocket science. Inconsistent to poor administration has led to poor barrier designs, inability to retrieve stricken cars without holding the whole show up, loose track sections, loose metal plates & various other assorted oversights.
It keeps happening which says to me that the whole F1 organisation does not deserve the respect &/or earnings it demands, rather it seems to be an amature kitchen-table run affair. Embarrassing.
So glad RG seems to be ok.
2nd December 2020, 11:58
Bunching up the field makes it safer for marshals to clear up debris, having to avoid one pack of cars instead of 20 individual ones.
2nd December 2020, 0:28
There’s gotta be something better than armco. It’s been around for how long now? So many instances of it giving way and piercing cars that hit it on the wrong angle.
I bet a decent amount of research will yield a safer barrier technology.
Dean Franklin (@deanfranklin)
2nd December 2020, 3:08
It’s not really feasible to be lining every area on a 5-6 kilometre track with fully trained and equipped fire marshalls ready to respond to a once in 30 year even that the driver did survive.
People are comparing the response to Indy Car or NASCAR but their biggest ovals are 4 kilometres, most much smaller, with guaranteed major incidents especially around the fast turns. The same crew can cover a much greater area of a 3km oval than for instance a 6km twisty racetrack.
In future I’m sure they’ll line all barriers that don’t run perfectly parallel with the track with tyres or a ‘safer’ barrier, but even with tyres in front of that wall it would have been an enormous shunt and there’s a good chance his car would have gone under the tyres or the ‘safer’ barrier, hampering his exit from the car.
This is a very dangerous sport at the end of the day.
If anyone thinks that barrier is unsafe or in a dangerous position, then we simply can’t race at Monaco anymore, Eau Rouge needs to have a chicane put through the middle.
It needs to be looked at whether the hybrid engine is too dangerous. We have seen some really bad engine fires in recent years. I feel like engines used to just explode in a massive puff of smoke but nowadays when an engine goes bang the car is incinerated.
The visibility inside the cars is terrible and the cars are extremely wide. When all these circuits were designed the cars were significantly narrower.
But the biggest reason for this crash was Grosjean’s aggressive driving. In a way this halo has made drivers fearless and ramped up the aggression to another level.
2nd December 2020, 5:52
“When all these circuits were designed the cars were significantly narrower”
Which circuits are you talking about? Bahrain, sure, but any circuit designed before 1998 had cars as wide, or wider than today.
2nd December 2020, 16:58
I think some of your points are correct. The reason we haven’t seen cars going through Armco for decades is because it’s never used alone by itself in areas of the track considered anything but low risk. This clearly was and still is a low risk area for an impact. Almost parallel to the track, a long way from the inside of a corner exit where the direction of travel should be away from danger. You’ll see examples of this layout at hundreds of tracks across the world. I agree comparing it to oval racing is not like for like.
Someone else commented on it but the biggest danger to F1 is the other cars. It’s practically impossible to end up where Grosjean did without contact. If we looked at every possibility of where a 200mph F1 car could end up when tangling with another then there would be nowhere for spectators to view from.
I will however disagree that engine fires are more severe, think Lotus exhaust fire several years ago, I can’t remember cars burning consistently.
2nd December 2020, 20:44
@deanfranklin as noted by racingbod, the engines aren’t really a factor given that there are also multiple examples from the V8 era of cars catching fire.
As highlighted before, there was Heidfeld’s car violently catching fire in 2011 at the Hungarian GP, with one marshal being injured when a canister inside the car exploded and struck him on the leg and the car being completely destroyed by that fire.
Similarly, you could also point to the fire on Kovalainen’s car at the 2010 Singapore GP, where again the whole of the rear of the car was rapidly engulfed in flames and the car was pretty much a total write off.
There was also a case of Jules Bianchi and his Marussia being engulfed in flames after an engine failure at the 2013 German GP too.
2nd December 2020, 6:48
how many takers for a crash like that for 1 million pounds ?
maximum bid is 10M from 2022 on
2nd December 2020, 7:53
And why walls so close to the track? After Imola 94 you’d thought there were protocols against it.
And the angled wall caused by the service access opening in the wall, why make one part protrude and create a nasty angle to cars, instead of the other one turning inward?
2nd December 2020, 19:26
It looks like there is a berm opposite the fence and fairly close, and it looks like they had to angle it toward the track in several places to have room for openings big enough for a vehicle but facing away from the direction of the cars. There is not enough room to angle inward after the opening to create the opening, so the fence is angled out.
2nd December 2020, 8:35
I would like to stress the fact that ARMCO barriers have been introduced in 1933, almost 100 years ago. Francois Cevert died because the ARMCO are actually a steel blade = disaster waiting to happen.
I really don’t understand why they eere placed there, almost normal to the race track. Grosjean ridiculous swerve to the right is a testament to his driving style, but that doesn’t justify the lack of safety awareness on the circuit.
2nd December 2020, 18:07
I think trackside fire marshalling – equipment, clothing, training – is one of the key things we need to look at. It took the arrival of the medical car, and the medic assisting a marshal (who’d I believe had run over from the other side of the track) in fire extinguisher operation, to get any sort of effective ‘fire reducing stuff’ onto the fire at all.
The medical car followed the pack off the line and was right there just after T3. Any other time it would have been minutes away from being able to provide help, which was obviously needed.
2nd December 2020, 19:22
I was under the impression that the cockpits had halon-type automatic or manually triggered extinguishers. In fact I recall these being accidentally triggered every so often, or maybe that was in IndyCar? I understand these things are super toxic and can be a risk to the driver but it could buy a little time.
Also I keep looking at that picture of the tub in the armo and I still can’t work out how Grosjean escaped. It seemed he could have come out on the low side but the headrest is still there which would have been dislodged. I don’t see how there was room on the high side to get out, between the top of the armco and the left side of the halo. Maybe the halo was just ripped off on that side allowing him to exit.
2nd December 2020, 21:10
Yes, what if the driver couldn’t get himself out of the car. An indycar safety crew with full gear would have done better than a couple of well meaning guys that pull up in a Mercedes.
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