Haas race engineer Gary Gannon spoke exclusively to PlanetF1 about the moments after Romain Grosjean’s fiery crash in Bahrain.
In the penultimate race of the 2021 season, Grosjean clipped the front wheel of Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTauri before colliding with the barrier in the opening lap.
The Haas car split into two instantly and there was real concern for Grosjean’s life when it erupted into a fireball.
Remarkably, Grosjean was able to walk away with the help of FIA doctor Ian Roberts and made a full recovery with just burns on his hands.
The scene was the most shocking accident in a long time in the sport and no more so in the Haas garage where for, what would have felt like entirety, they were not sure if one of their drivers was alive or dead.
PlanetF1 spoke to Gary Gannon, who was Kevin Magnussen’s race engineer at the time but had operated in the same role for Grosjean previously, who said in moments like that, you have to switch off your emotions and remember your training.
“First you feel shocked but then you need to do what you need to do,” Gannon said of any crash.
A heart-stopping moment on Lap 1 in Bahrain
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“First you need to communicate with the driver, make sure they’re okay. If they are okay, get them to do this, switch positions correctly, because if we leave the car unsafe then the marshals can’t work on it.
“So if the driver is capable, he should switch off the car properly to de-power the electronic system. First you just focus on those operational things. Like with the [Mick Schumacher’s] crash in Monaco, you get through all these operational things, and then you sort of sit back and go ‘Oh, what happened to us here?’
Speaking about Grosjean’s crash in particular, Gannon said everyone in the pit was “quietly in shock” but knew they had a job to do.
“Then the same thing with Romain. Everyone was really kind of quietly in shock about it. But, you know, everyone’s professional and knows we have a responsibility so we get in with our jobs.
“You saw the mechanics who went out to Romain’s car and did everything they needed to do with the correct procedures and everything despite the fact that it’s this shocking and really upsetting instance.
“We’re prepared, we know exactly what we need to do in those moments and that overcomes the fact that you’re shocked by what you’ve just seen. So you revert to your training, basically.”