Romain Grosjean’s Bahrain fireball chassis to go on display at F1 exhibition in Madrid

Toby Miles
Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean

Crumbling remains of the Haas Romain Grosjean cheated death inside are about to go on display for the first time, serving a reminder of the deadly consequences in F1.

The first ever official Formula 1 exhibition will open in Madrid on March 24, showcasing never-before-seen films, iconic Grand Prix cars and historic relics.

One of the exhibition’s seven rooms is named “Survival”. Inside, fans will be greeted by the violent sight of Grosjean’s Haas – victim of one of the most terrifying accidents in recent memory at the 2020 Bahrain GP.

The French driver lost control on the opening lap, slamming into the barriers at 120mph (193kph). The savage impact ripped the Haas in half, as the cockpit section still containing Grosjean burst into flames after breaking through the safety fencing.

Grosjean was trapped inside the burning vehicle for almost 30 seconds before prying himself free, climbing through the inferno and into the arms of fast-responding safety personnel. For the entire paddock and millions watching at home, time stood still for that excruciating half-minute.

The 179-time GP starter suffered burns on his hands but would make a full recovery. Bahrain would be his final Formula 1 race but he continues to compete in IndyCar.

In a film that will play in the exhibition’s “Survival” room, Grosjean remembers the crash: “From my point of view, it was a big accident but I didn’t realise the impact or how violent it was from the outside.

“It was only the next day when I asked someone to show me what it looked like that I realised. My wife was actually watching that race with my dad and my kids. They will remember that moment their entire life. They were just spectators waiting to hear something… waiting to see something from Bahrain.

“I had to break the headrest, punching it with my helmet and then I eventually managed to get my helmet through and stand up in the seat.

“I realised my left foot was stuck into the chassis and I pulled as hard as I could on my left leg. My shoe stayed in the chassis but my foot came loose so I was free to exit the car.

“It was 120 kilos of fuel plus the battery – both were on fire. Dr Ian Roberts, Alan [van der Merwe] from the medical car and one fireman were trying to open a gap in the fire to help me get out. I believe that helped me at least to get a vision of where I had to go and where the exit was.

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“The survival cell is there for you in case of a huge impact. I was intact inside the shell. The chassis is still in one piece, the halo is there and apart from the damage and burn it is still as it should be. I guess that saved my life.”

The two halves of Grosjean’s wreck will also be accompanied by newly-released footage showing another angle of the accident.

The exhibition will be held at the IFEMA Madrid in the north-eastern part of the Spanish capital, with many ticketing options already sold-out.