Romain Grosjean was one of the most vocal opponents that opposed the F1’s controversial HALO device. Just two years on from its introduction into Formula One it has proved a key factor in saving Roman’s life.
- Romain Grosjean suffered a horrific 140mph crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix
- Despite his car bursting into flames, he was quickly able to escape the carnage
- The Frenchman from the hospital revealed he was ok, suffering just minor burns
- F1 ‘s increased safety standards over the years were pivotal to saving his life
The F1 driver who faced a horror fireball crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix said that he was certain that the Halo device along with a fireproof racing suit and state-of-the-art helmet – has saved his life after his car turned into a fireball in Bahrain.
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. (https://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/f1-driver-in-fireball-crash-is-certain-the-halo-saved-his-life/ )
How did the Halo save Romains life – Simulation
After the nose of the car pierced the guardrail, the next thing to hit would have been Grosjean’s helmet. This was the fourth catastrophic failure of the crash, and the point where we get to see up-close the life-saving power of recent safety changes.
On the other side of the guardrail, the force of the impact actually created a new point for the area above the nose to hit at full speed. In the past, this exposed area would be an open cockpit, and the next point of impact would have been the driver’s helmet. This was the fourth catastrophic failure.
Grosjean’s halo made direct contact with the top portion of the barrier, a collision that should theoretically be impossible in the controlled conditions of a live race. It was not impossible, of course, and the halo ended up absorbing some portion of the impact. Grosjean likely survived the impact thanks to the halo; without it, his helmet would have been directly in the line of the impact. It meant he could escape the fire on his own, in under 30 seconds, avoiding more serious injury—and disproving some early fears that the halo would impede a driver’s ability to get free of a burning wreck. Had he not been able to escape, Formula 1’s professional safety team was able to get to the car almost immediately.
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. Roman who was completely against the halo device two years also stated that “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 History of the titanium Halo device used in F1 cars
The halo is a driver crash-protection system used in open-wheel racing series, which consists of a curved bar placed to protect the driver’s head.
The first tests of the halo were carried out in 2016 and in July 2017. Since the 2018 season, the FIA has made the halo mandatory on every vehicle in Formula 1, Formula 2, Formula 3, Formula E, and also Formula 4 (starting by 2021) as a new safety measure.
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 escapes from his burning car on Sunday with only relatively minor injuries, he could be back behind the wheel before too long.
Construction of the Halo
The system consists of a bar that surrounds the driver’s head and is connected by three points to the vehicle frame. The halo is made of titanium and weighed around 7 kilograms (15 lb) in the version presented in 2016, then rose to 9 kilograms (20 lb) in 2017.
The system is not developed by the teams, but is manufactured by three approved external manufacturers chosen by the FIA and has the same specification for all vehicles.
In a simulation performed by the FIA, using the data of 40 real incidents, the use of the system led to a 17% theoretical increase in the survival rate of the driver.