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Grosjean: I saw death coming

NEWS STORY
01/12/2020

Now that the smoke has cleared, literally, and we can all breathe a huge sigh of relief following Sunday's horror, Romain Grosjean can allow himself a smile as he raises his "Mickey Mouse" hands.

Though it has been officially claimed that it took the Frenchman 28 seconds to extricate himself from his car, for us watching it seemed much, much longer.

Already targeting a return to the cockpit for the season in Abu Dhabi, Grosjean has talked about the aftermath of his accident to French broadcaster TF1.

"I don't know if the word miracle exists or if it can be used," he said, "but in any case I would say it wasn't my time.

"It felt much longer than 28 seconds," he continued. "I see my visor turning all orange, I see the flames on the left side of the car...

"I thought about a lot of things, including 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.

"And then, for my children, I told myself that I had to get out," he continued. "I put my hands in the fire, so I clearly felt it burning on the chassis. I got out, then I felt someone pulling on the suit, so I knew I was out."

An unashamed family man, Grosjean smiled as he told of his 5-year-old son, Simon who is convinced his father has magical powers.

"These are very strong words from the children," said the Frenchman. "My eldest, Sacha, who is seven-years-old, is more rational, he tries to understand. "And my little one has drawn a picture, 'for daddy's sores on his hands'.

"I was more afraid for my family and friends," he admits, "obviously my children who are my greatest source of pride and energy, than for myself in the end.

"I think there's going to be some psychological work to be done, because I really saw death coming.

"Even in Hollywood, we're not able to do images like that. It's the biggest crash I've ever seen in my life. The car catching fire, exploding, and the battery that burst into flames too, so it added a lot of energy to the impact.

"I would say that there is a feeling of being happy to be alive, of seeing things differently," he smiled. "But also there is the need to get back in the car, if possible in Abu Dhabi, to finish my story with Formula One in a different way.

"It was almost like a second birth. To come out of the flames that day is something that will mark my life forever. I have a lot of people who have shown me love and it has touched me a lot, and at times I get a bit teary-eyed."

Picture Credit: Romain Grosjean IG

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Paul C, 02/12/2020 4:09

"Thank God Romain survived the crash. The Halo system really works!"

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2. Posted by flyinglap, 02/12/2020 0:26

"Best wishes to Romain Grosjean, that was an early Christmas present, for sure. To call it a "miracle" is most appropriate. Notwithstanding all the positive contributing factors such as the halo, the hans, the recently upgraded standards of the fireproof overalls, the (Dallara) chassis, the marshals and the crew of the medical car, if we could possibly re-run the impact one million times the outcome would always be death. It was the equivalent of threading a needle at 137 mph. The supposedly unsuitable guard-rail actually saved him, because it allowed the car to pierce through and thus it helped limit the deceleration to a "viable" 50 g or so. Obvioulsy, it was impossible for the entire car to go through the relatively small opening that the titanium halo was indeed instrumental in creating, and therefore the car was cut in half, inevitably. Had it not been for the hybrid electric power unit with all the high-voltage cabling and the battery pack, probably there would have been no fire at all. Actually, it is amazing that it took almost six seasons for something similar to happen. Formula 1 should seriously consider discarding hybrid electric altogether, the soonest possible. Even in the absence of fire, electrocution is always a preoccupation for drivers, mechanics, marshals and doctors in the event of an accident, and not only. Cars should be much lighter as well. Hopefully common sense will prevail upon deciding about the new engine regulations. Naturally aspirated engines and synthetic fuels are the obvious solution. Let Formula E be electric and re-invent Formula 1 for the sake of the automotive industry at large as well; cars are not appliances. For now, I am looking forward to the last two races. This turned out to be a vintage season, against all odds."

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3. Posted by Wokingchap, 01/12/2020 21:59

"I really hope he can drive in Abu Dhabi, he soooo deserves it after this life changing horror. Healing wishes."

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4. Posted by MossMan, 01/12/2020 16:08

"Interesting that he mentions the battery - that was one of my first thoughts when it happened... Li-ion batteries have some notorious fire issues and those in an F1 car contain a huge amount of energy. Since I hadn't heard it mentioned I assumed the battery was in the back half and wasn't involved in the fire... "

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